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General information  

  • Date of birth : 18/02/1516
  • Place of death : London
  • Date of death : 17/11/1558



  • Bloody Mary
  • England of I Mary
  • Maria 01 d'Inghilterra


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Mary I of England (1516)

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Mary I (18 February 1516 – 17 November 1558) was queen regnant of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death.

She was the only surviving child born of the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Her younger half-brother, Edward VI, succeeded Henry in 1547. By 1553, Edward was mortally ill and because of religious differences between them, he attempted to remove Mary from the line of succession. On his death, their cousin Lady Jane Grey was at first proclaimed queen. Mary assembled a force in East Anglia, and successfully deposed Jane, who was ultimately beheaded. In 1554, Mary married Philip of Spain, and as a result became queen consort of Habsburg Spain on his accession in 1556.

As the fourth crowned monarch of the Tudor dynasty, Mary is remembered for her restoration of Roman Catholicism after the short-lived Protestant reign of her brother. During her five year reign, she had over 280 religious dissenters burned at the stake in the Marian Persecutions. Her Protestant opponents gave her the sobriquet of "Bloody Mary". Her re-establishment of Roman Catholicism was reversed after her death in 1558 by her successor and younger half-sister, Elizabeth I.


After Philip's visit in 1557, Mary thought herself pregnant again with a baby due in March 1558. She decreed in her will that her husband be the regent during the minority of her child. However, no child was born, and Mary was forced to accept that Elizabeth was her lawful successor.

Mary was weak and ill from May 1558, and died aged 42 at St. James's Palace during an influenza epidemic that claimed the life of Reginald Pole later the same day, 17 November 1558. She was in pain, possibly from ovarian cysts or uterine cancer. She was succeeded by her half-sister, who became Elizabeth I. Philip, who was in Brussels, wrote in a letter, "I felt a reasonable regret for her death."

Although her will stated that she wished to be buried next to her mother, Mary was interred in Westminster Abbey on 14 December in a tomb she eventually shared with Elizabeth. The Latin inscription on their tomb, Regno consortes & urna, hic obdormimus Elizabetha et Maria sorores, in spe resurrectionis translates to "Consorts in realm and tomb, here we sleep, Elizabeth and Mary, sisters, in hope of resurrection". The Latin plays on the multiple meanings of consorts, which can mean either sibling or sharer in common.

At her funeral service John White, Bishop of Winchester, praised Mary: "She was a King's daughter; she was a King's sister; she was a King's wife. She was a Queen, and by the same title a King also." She was the first woman to successfully claim the throne of England, despite competing claims and determined opposition, and enjoyed popular support and sympathy during the earliest parts of her reign, especially from the Roman Catholic population. However, her marriage to Philip was unpopular among her subjects, and her religious policies resulted in deep-seated resentment. The failed harvests, poor weather and military losses of her reign increased public discontent. Philip spent most of his time abroad, while his wife remained in England, leaving her depressed at his absence and undermined by their inability to have children. After Mary's death, he sought to marry Elizabeth, but she refused him. Thirty years later, Philip sent the Spanish Armada to overthrow Elizabeth, without success.

By the seventeenth century, Mary's persecution of Protestants had led them to call her Bloody Mary. John Knox attacked her in The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regimen of Women, published in 1558, and she was prominently featured and vilified in Foxe's Book of Martyrs, published by John Foxe in 1563, six years after Mary's death. Subsequent editions of the book remained popular with Protestants throughout the following centuries, and helped shape perceptions of her as a bloodthirsty tyrant.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Mary I of England", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.