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The Tudor Society
  • Mary I and Philip II of Spain

    Today is the wedding anniversary of Queen Mary I and Philip II of Spain. The couple got married on 25th July 1554, the feast of St James, at Winchester Cathedral with Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester and Mary’s Lord Chancellor, officiating. The bride was thirty-eight years old and the groom was twenty-seven.

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  • 19 July 1553 – Mary I is proclaimed Queen of England, France, and Ireland, and all dominions

    On this day in history, 19th July 1553, thirteen days after the death of her half-brother, the fifteen-year-old King Edward VI, thirty-seven-year-old Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, was proclaimed “qwene of England, France, and Yrland, and alle domy(ni)ons”.

    Mary was unaware of the proclamation of her queenship and the fact that her first cousin once removed, Lady Jane Grey or Queen Jane, had been removed from the throne.

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  • The Treatment of Mary Tudor (Mary I) Part 3

    In today’s Claire Chats video talk, I finish my series on the treatment Mary received at the hands of her father following the breakdown of her parents’ marriage. I examine what happened to Mary after the death of her mother in January 1536 and Anne Boleyn’s execution in May 1536.

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  • Princess Mary submits to her father, Henry VIII

    On 22nd June 1536, after two years of ill-treatment and bullying, Mary Tudor, the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, submitted to her father, accepting him as Supreme Head of the Church in England and accepting the invalidity of her parents’ marriage, and, therefore, her illegitimacy.

    Previously, Mary had been defiant in rejecting her demotion from Princess Mary to Lady Mary and in not accepting the annulment of her parents’ marriage or the terms of the 1534 First Act of Succession. However, plans for her escape to the Continent led to nothing and her friend and advisor, Eustace Chapuys, the imperial ambassador, feared that Mary would be martyred if she did not submit to the king. Chapuys advised her that she should “consent to her father’s wish” if she felt that she was in danger. He reassured her that this was the Emperor’s advice.

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  • The Treatment of Mary Tudor (Mary I) Part 2

    In the second part of my series on the treatment that Mary, the future Mary I, received from her father following the breakdown of her parents’ marriage, I look at the years 1534 and 1535 and what happened to Mary after Parliament passed the First Act of Succession.

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  • The treatment of Mary Tudor (Mary I) Part 1

    I have very mixed feelings about Mary I, but I have to say that there is much to admire about her. Not only did she rally support against Wyatt’s Rebellion in 1554 and reign as the first official queen regnant; not only did she rally support for her claim to the throne in 1553, being prepared to give her life for it; but she also stood up to her father, King Henry VIII, and the bullies he got to do the king’s business, when she was just seventeen years old. She was a tough cookie.

    In today’s Claire Chats I talk about what happened to Mary from 1531 to 1534, what she went through.

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  • 14 December – A death, an accession and a burial

    On this day in 1542, James V died at Falkland Palace in Falkland, Fife, Scotland, after being taken ill following the Scots’ defeat at the Battle of Solway Moss on 24th November. It is not known what killed him – some argue that it was a nervous collapse, and others that it was a virus.

    While James was on his deathbed, his consort, Mary of Guise, gave birth to a daughter, and it was the six-day-old baby who became Mary, Queen of Scots on her father’s death. John Knox and the chronicler Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie both recorded that James uttered the words “it came wi a lass, it’ll gang wi a lass” (“it came with a lass, it will end with a lass”) as he lay dying, referring to how the Stuart dynasty began with a girl, through Marjorie Bruce, Robert the Bruce’s daughter, and how he feared it would now end with his daughter, Mary. However, the Stuart dynasty actually ended with another girl, Queen Anne, in 1714, and it is not known that James actually ever said these words.

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  • 1 October 1553 – Mary I is crowned queen

    On this day in history, Sunday 1st October 1553, the first official queen regnant of England was crowned at Westminster Abbey. Her name was Mary and she was the daughter of King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. She was crowned Queen Mary I and she reigned from 19th July 1553 to her death on 17th November 1558.

    The coronation ceremony lasted from 11am, when Mary processed into Westminster Abbey to 4pm, when Mary processed out of the abbey and into Westminster Hall for her coronation banquet.

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  • Robert Wingfield’s Vitae Mariae – A first-hand account of the events of July 1553

    In today’s Claire chats video talk, I delve into the “Vita Mariae Angliae Reginae”, Robert Wingfield of Brantham’s account of Mary I’s successful coup d’état in July 1553. It is a fascinating primary source as it gives us details of Mary’s side of things, what was happening in East Anglia then.

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  • 28 August 1551 – A defiant Lady Mary

    On this day in history, 28th August 1551, Lord Chancellor Richard Rich, Sir Anthony Wingfield and Sir William Petre went to Copthall in Essex to see the Lady Mary (future Mary I), half-sister of their king and master, Edward VI.

    They had been sent to Copthall to deliver a message to Mary from the king. Edward VI was ordering Mary and her household to desist from celebrating the Catholic mass. Edward also ordered that Sir Anthony Wingfield should replace Robert Rochester as Mary’s comptroller.

    Mary was furious with the men and refused to obey them or her brother’s orders. The men reported what happened in a letter to the king and his privy council. Here is the whole letter:

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  • Quiz – Mary I’s ladies

    How much do you know about the ladies who served Mary throughout her life, from when she was a princess, through her being the illegitimate Lady Mary, and then on to her time as queen? Test yourself with today’s quiz. Good luck!

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  • 3 August 1553 – Mary I enters London

    On 2nd August 1553, Elizabeth, second daughter of King Henry VIII, greeted her half-sister Mary, the new queen, at Wanstead. The women then spent the night at Wanstead House, a royal hunting lodge. The following day, 3rd August, Mary and Elizabeth rode from Wanstead to Aldgate for Mary to be greeted by the city as its queen.

    Here are some primary source accounts of Mary I’s entry into London on 3rd August 1553…

    Henry Machyn, “citizen and merchant-taylor of London”, recorded in his diary:

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  • 30 July 1553 – Elizabeth rides to greet Mary

    On this day in history, 30th July 1553, Mary I’s half-sister Elizabeth left her new home, Somerset House, to ride to Wanstead and greet Mary, who had been proclaimed queen on 19th July 1553 in place of Queen Jane.

    Elizabeth had been at her estate at Hatfield when she heard the news that Mary was queen and so had departed for London, entering the city on 29th July through Fleet Street. She had made her way to her new townhouse, or rather palace, Somerset House, a house just off The Strand, on the north bank of the River Thames.

    The contemporary source, “The chronicle of Queen Jane, and of two years of Queen Mary, and especially of the rebellion of Sir Thomas Wyat”, states:

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  • 25 July 1554 – Mary I gets married

    On this day in history, 25th July 1554, the feast day of St James, thirty-eight-year-old Queen Mary I married twenty-seven-year-old Philip of Spain, son of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, at Winchester Cathedral. Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester and Mary’s chancellor, officiated.

    There is an account of the wedding in Charles Wriothesley’s “A chronicle of England during the reigns of the Tudors, from A.D. 1485 to 1559”:

    “The 25 of Julie, beinge Weddensdaye and St. James daye, about xi of the clocke the Kinge and Queene came from their lodgings towardes the churche all the way on foote, verie richelye apparelled in gownes of cloth of golde sett with riche stones, he with his gentlemen and garde and she with hers, eche of them havinge a sworde borne before them, the Earle of Darbye bearinge the sworde before her Maiestie, and the Earle of Pembroke before the Kinge; and when they were come into the churche he went into one traveys and the Queen to another richlye hunge, where they were shriven. This done they came forth of their traveys to the place appoynted for the marriage, where the Lord Chauncellor, beinge before with 5 other bishops assistinge him, used all thinges, both in the banes-byddinge and otherwise, as hath bene in all marriages of olde tyme, and spake it both in Latin and in Englishe, her Grace on the right syde standinge and the King on the left syde. Her marriage ringe was a rownd hoope of gould without anye stone, which was her desire, for she sayde she would be married as maydens were in the olde tyme, and so she was.

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  • Claire Chats video – A timeline of the events of 1553

    July 1553 was a month of three monarchs – Edward VI, Queen Jane and Mary I – but how did this come about? In today’s Claire chats, I look at what led to the events of July 1553 and particularly the actions that Mary took to stage her successful coup d’etat.

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  • 19 July 1553 – Mary I is triumphant

    On 19th July 1553, thirteen days after the death of her half-brother, fifteen-year-old King Edward VI, thirty-seven-year-old Mary Tudor was proclaimed queen in place of her first cousin once removed, Lady Jane Grey, or Queen Jane.

    The Chronicle of the Grey Friars of London records:

    “Item the xix. day of the same monyth, [which] was sent Margarettes evyne, at iiij. of clocke at after-none was proclamyd lady Ma[ry to] be qwene of Ynglond at the crose in Cheppe with the erle of Shrewsbery, the earle [of Arundel], the erle of Pembroke, with the mayer of London, and dyvers other lordes, and many of the ald[dermen] and the kynges schrffe master Garrand, with dyvers haroldes and trompettes. And from thens cam to Powlles alle, and there the qwere sange Te Deum with the organs goynge, with the belles ryngynge, the most parte alle [London], and that same nyght had the [most] parte of London Te Deum, with bone-fyers in every strete in London, with good chere at every bone [fyer], the belles ryngynge in every parych cherch, and for the most parte alle nyght tyll the nexte daye to none.”

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  • 8 July 1553 – Mary I declares herself queen

    On this day in history, Saturday 8th July 1553, the day after she’d been informed of her half-brother Edward VI’s death, Mary Tudor, eldest daughter of King Henry VIII declared herself queen.

    Mary gathered together her loyal household at Kenninghall and informed them of Edward VI’s death, stating that “the right to the crown of England had therefore descended to her by divine and by human law”.

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  • Did Henry VIII ever intend that Mary should be queen?

    Thank you to Lisa for asking this question. Here is an answer from Conor Byrne…

    I think until 1527 Henry VIII may have tentatively regarded his daughter Mary as his heir. Obviously, it’s impossible for us to say, but he did appoint her with a council in Wales and she had the same authority and rights that the Prince of Wales traditionally enjoyed, although she was never formally appointed Princess of Wales.

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  • 30 March – The burning of Bishop Robert Ferrar and the will of Queen Mary I

    There are two important “on this day in history” events for today and they’re both from the reign of Mary I.

    On 30th March 1555, Robert Ferrar, Bishop of St David’s, was burnt at the stake at Carmarthen. It is not known when Ferrar was born but he came from Midgley, in Halifax, and had found a living at St Oswald’s Augustinian priory in Yorkshire by the early 1520s. He studied at Cambridge and Oxford, graduation from Oxford BTh in 1533 and it was while he was at Oxford that he became involved in selling Protestant books, something for which he was imprisoned twice.

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  • Mary I ebook now available

    The latest in our series of Tudor monarchs ebooks is now available to members and this one features articles from a wide variety of authors and historian on Mary I, along with resources such as links to primary sources and reading lists to find out more about this Tudor queen.

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  • 17 November 1558 – The death of Queen Mary I and accession of Queen Elizabeth I

    On the anniversary of Mary I’s death and her half-sister Elizabeth I’s accession, I’d like to share this piece with you from my book On this day in Tudor History.

    On 17th November 1558, Henry VIII’s eldest child, Queen Mary I, died. She was just forty-two-years-old.

    After Easter 1558, Mary I made her will because she believed that she was pregnant. The birth should have been imminent because Philip departed in July 1557, yet there is no mention in the records of preparations being made such as nursery staff being appointed, remarks on her changing body shape, preparations for confinement etc. The pregnancy was all in Mary’s mind.

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  • 5 October 1553 – Mary I’s first Parliament

    On 5th October 1553, the first Parliament of Mary I’s reign met. It repealed the “treason act” of Edward VI’s reign, passed an act declaring the legitimacy of Mary I, repealed the religious legislation of Edward’s reign, and reinstated the Mass in Latin, celibacy of the clergy and ritual worship. It was as if the reformation of Mary’s half-brother’s reign had never happened.

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  • The lead-up to Mary I’s Coronation in 1553

    As today is the anniversary of Mary I travelling by barge to the Tower of London in preparation for her coronation, I thought I’d highlight the articles I wrote last year counting down to her coronation.

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  • 15 July 1553 – Queen Jane’s ships swap their allegiance to Queen Mary

    Lady Jane Grey had been chosen by Edward VI as his heir and became queen on his death on 6th July 1553. However, Edward’s half-sister Mary believed herself to be Edward’s true heir and so declared herself queen at her home at Kenninghall following news of Edward’s death. On 12th July 1553, Mary moved from Kenninghall to Framlingham Castle, where she began to rally support and between 12th and 15th July Mary’s supporters and forces grew. She was supported by men such as Sir Edward Hastings; Henry Radclyffe, Earl of Sussex; Sir Thomas Cornwallis; Thomas, Lord Wentworth; Sir Henry Bedingfield; John de Vere, Earl of Oxford; and many prominent families of eastern England such as the Rochesters, the Jerninghams and Waldegraves. Mary was proclaimed Queen in various counties and towns.

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  • 15 March 1551 – The Lady Mary causes a stir in London

    On this day in 1551, the Lady Mary ( the future Mary I), half-sister of King Edward VI, rode through London causing a stir. Here is diarist Henry Machyn’s record of the event:

    “The xv day the Lady Mary rode through London unto St. John’s, her place, with fifty knights and gentlemen in velvet coats and chains of gold afore her, and after her iiij score gentlemen and ladies every one havyng a peyre of bedes of black. She rode through Chepe-syde and thrugh Smythfeld.”

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  • March 2016 Tudor Life Magazine

    Packed with a wide range of articles about Tudor personalities like the Dudleys, Elizabeth of York, Mary I, Isabella of Spain and Henry Howard. There is part one of an insider’s guide to the Tower of London, a detailed article about Greenwich Palace and Wroxhall Abbey, an article about some bizarre Tudor foods and lots more! It’s our best magazine yet!

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  • 1 February 1554 – Mary I rallies London against Wyatt’s Rebellion

    On this day in 1554, Queen Mary I gave a rousing speech at the Guildhall to rally Londoners to her cause and to oppose Wyatt’s rebellion. Contemporary John Proctor recorded that Mary “did wonderfullye inamour the heartes of the hearers as it was a world to heare with what shoutes they exalted the honour and magnanimitie of Quene Mary”.

    Mary denounced Thomas Wyatt the Youngerand his rebels, but said that she had sent two of her privy council to “the traitour Wyat, desirous rather to quiete thys tumulte by mercie, then by iustice [justice] of the sworde to vanquishe.” She defended her plan to marry Philip of Spain as being beneficial to England, and affirmed:

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  • 26 January 1554 – Mary I warns Elizabeth of the danger of Wyatt’s Rebellion

    ary I became queen in 1553 and although the English people had been happy for her to become queen, some noblemen became worried about her plans to marry Philip II of Spain and the religious changes her reign was bringing. A group of men including Thomas Wyatt the Younger, Henry Grey (Duke of Suffolk and father of Lady Jane Grey), Sir Peter Carew, Sir Edward Rogers, Sir Edward Warner, Sir William Pickering, Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, Sir James Croft, Sir George Harper, Nicholas Arnold, William Thomas and William Winter decided that a military coup might be the only way to prevent Mary’s marriage and planned a series of uprisings with the aim of deposing Mary I and replacing her with her half-sister Elizabeth, who would marry Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon.

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  • 14 December 1558 – Burial of Queen Mary I

    On 14th December 1558, just under a month after her death, Queen Mary I was buried at Westminster Abbey. Although Mary had left instructions in her will for her mother Catherine of Aragon’s remains to be exhumed and brought to London so that mother and daughter could be buried together, her instructions were ignored and Mary was buried by herself at Westminster on 14th December 1558 with just stones marking her resting place.

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  • 16 October 1555 – The Burnings of Bishops Ridley and Latimer

    he burnings of two of the Oxford martyrs: Hugh Latimer, Bishop of Worcester, and Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London took place on this day in 1555, in the reign of the Catholic Mary I. The two men, along with Thomas Cranmer, who was burnt at the stake on the 21st March 1556, are known as the Oxford Martyrs and their lives and deaths are commemorated in Oxford by Martyrs’ Memorial, a stone monument just outside Balliol College and near to the execution site, which was completed in 1843. A cross of stones set into the road in Broad Street marks the site of their burnings.

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