Portrait of Queen Mary by Antonis Mor in 1554
Queen Mary's Unhappy Reign 1553 to 1558
Mary, the Catholic daughter of King Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon, was a woman of plain features, but like all the Tudors, possessed a resolute spirit and determined courage. Declared illegitimate by an Act of Parliament, she had been embittered in early childhood, and the strong views which she so stoutly supported were by no means popular with the people. Owing to the ongoing conflict between her and a large part of the country her reign was a very unhappy one. Mary was Queen of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death in 1558.
Mary hated her sister Elizabeth, who became Queen Elizabeth I, but was very anxious to maintain a semblance of sisterly affection. Both of them worked to crush Wyatt's rebellion in 1554. At the time, London was leaning towards the Protestant cause but still rallied to the cry of, "God save Queen Mary!"
Queen Mary was was frequently given poor advice by those around her and instead of building upon the people's enthusiasm for her which she received at first, she only managed to turn them against her. Her chief adviser was a man called Renard who was planning for the marriage of Mary to his master's son. It was Renard who advised Mary to execute Lady Jane Grey which is something she may not have done had she not received his bad advice.
The Protestant cause in London was voiced by a man called Latimer. He made many speeches at St. Paul's Cross and he was eventually burned at the stake as a heretic in Oxford, as Mary now adopted a serious religious intolerance as compenastion for her sorrow with her husband Philip II of Spain who had deserted her and returned to Spain. Mary now felt that she had uproot all Protestantism wherever she found it.
Mary is remembered for her restoration of Roman Catholicism after her half-brother's short-lived Protestant reign. During her five-year reign, she had over 280 religious dissenters burned at the stake in the Marian persecutions. After her death in 1558, her re-establishment of Roman Catholicism was reversed by her younger half-sister and successor Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.
Queen Mary died on 17 November 1558 aged 42 years at St. James's Palace, London. She was interred in Westminster Abbey in a tomb she was to share with her sister Queen Elizabeth I.
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