14 thoughts on “1st October 1553 – Mary I Crowned Queen

  1. Mary’s story is so tragic. The blame for her failed reign can be laid at the feet of Philip!! ( Even though I realize that that is not entirely true)

  2. Knowing how things turned out, it’s difficult to remember that Mary’s coronation was a happy, festive day. Mary started her reign so happy and hopeful, cheered by a country happy to see her succeed, but it all fell apart quite quickly.

    Yes, Henry VIII is due some blame here for the failure of Mary’s reign, too. The way he treated her and her mother, forbidding their expression of faith, served to alienate and radicalize Mary. Understandably, she didn’t appreciate her younger half-siblings being held up as models of Reformist piety, either. When she became queen, she must have been relieved that she could undo the changes made by the little brother that she considered to be too young to know his own mind, and unduly influenced and/or brainwashed by those sympathetic to Reformism at court.

    When she turned for support to her mother’s relatives, the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V (her uncle) and Philip II, later the king of Spain (and her cousin), she was upset by the rising level of dissent in her own people, especially when she announced plans to marry Philip. From being cheered as she claimed the throne to being, in her opinion, vilified by ‘heretics’ fomenting unrest, she must have felt attacked for her faith all over again. And we all know that Tudors didn’t take such ‘attacks’ well at all. With hindsight, the results appear inevitable. Poor Mary. All she ever wanted was to do the right thing, and to be loved and accepted by her husband and her people.

  3. I agree Impish, after her coronation it seem to go down hill for there. The support from the people soon turned to discontent with an element of fear, especially after her marriage to Philip. It seems most of her life was filled with sadness and despair, and although she made some terrible errors of judgement I can’t help but feel some sympathy for her.

  4. Mary also started out as an unusually nice and unselfish person … as indicated by her kindness to the child Elizabeth. I think the biggest effect in changing her was the treatment by Henry after Anne Boleyn died … as well as her treatment by Edward and his ministers. Once her mistreatment was no longer limited to being all Anne Boleyn’s fault, she really began to hate and distrust the English nobility, while she saw her (Spanish) relatives as safety and protection.

  5. Mary I was never ‘selfish, did she enjoy the lavished life of a queen? Most deffinitly, but she was not selfish. And I would also like to point out that Mary’s reign di not start going down hill till after her first false pregnancy. Up until about 1556 Mary’s reign was still a prospering one. And another note: Mary was not crazy either because of her father, Anne, and Edward and his advisors, they helped make her mentally strong…Philip was the one who brought out Mary’s depression and some extreme anger.

  6. Well as you have said James, that Mary’s reign did not start its down hill spiral until after her 1st false pregnancy, which began in 1554, and ended in the 1st half of 1555, it isn’t that long after her coronation really is it?
    I don’t think that anyone has suggested that Mary was ‘crazy’. Mary seemed to have suffered depression and illnessess from a young age, probably brought on by the cruel treatment from her father, to her and her mother. You can not suffer that type of abuse and not become mentally scarred by it and it effect your judgement and outlook.I don’t agree Philip was the main cause of all her problems,but he certainly added to them, and tipped that fine balance, her inner strength became sheer bloodymindedness at times, and led her to make the bad decisions that most people remember her by, which is a shame…

  7. Yes Dawn, the end of her false pregnancy was not to long after her coronation, but it is not like her reign dropped off the deep end right after. And I deffinitly agree with you that such horrid treatment would in fact scar a person, but in the same respect it would not have led her to be ‘crazy’, as some have claimed (not necessarily on this page). And it is true her depression and illness started around the time she hit puberty, which was when all the real drama between Henry and Catherine occurred.

    I also never said Philip was the main problem, although, like you said he tipped the balance. But I must disagree fully that she sometimes turned outlook into ‘ sheer bloodymindedness’ and ‘shame’, all of the people, except for a good number of the protestants(which was a small minority) loved Mary, and she was known for her kindness. And in concurrence with the idea that she was bloodyminded, it would be well to know that in her meeting with parliament (in which the religious matters would be settled)it was unanimous, and undebated, even by the protestants, that the ancient heresy laws be re-established, thus the burnings began. But just before that act of parliament the rebellion of Wyatt had threatened not just her kingdom but her throne, and the plain fact that Wyatt wished the Spanish marriage dead, and Protestantism once again the religion of the land under Elizabeth, made the protestant faction a rebel one. But as well, although ample reason, not just thousands of protestants gathering against Mary not once but twice thus far was not the only reason for their condemnation, as not all protestants were the perfectly ‘normal and kind people’ prescribed in John Foxes book of martyrs. There were many accounts of protestant local violence against catholics, such as groups of protestants standing outside churches, and after mass stabbing men, women, and children to death. Protestants setting whole churches to flame and during mass hundreds of people died burning inside. This was an attack on her and her religion.

    It isn’t fair to say she just killed people unfairly, as she didn’t even burn most of them. Mary gave power to the local authorities and bishops to burn as well. She only personally condemned the leaders of the protestants, the rest were the work of bishops and local authorities. Also notable is that near the end of her reign the prosecution became literally stagnant, so few, far and between, the fires did their job and lowered the numbers of protestants and increased the number of catholics.

    Even in such circumstances, Europe was at the time, an exemely bloody place, her cousin Charles, during this time, was burning 80-90 protestants a month. And although it would be wonderful to imagine the Virgin Queen Elizabeth being oh so religiously tolerant, the fact is, she was not.
    While it is Wikipedia, it was the only descriptive enough list I could find, for now. There is quite alot of catholics on that list. And for those Elizabeth’s regime condemned go to the section ‘1561-1600’. But these are just the English people formally recognized by the catholic church as martyrs, there are many more not only in England but in Ireland, where they have been forgotten. Although burning was not used to kill those in Elizabeth’s reign, they were quartered, which personally I find worse.

    I am sorry if you feel it immoral for me to speak of murder so casually, do not believe that I condone killing for religious purposes, and indeed I am not even Catholic but southern Baptist, so I have no bias religion wise. But to see into these times so different from ours today, is truly the key in coming to a closer understanding of these figures that loom in history so distantly, specifically, Queen Mary I.

  8. James,
    We may have to agree to disagree on certain points concerning Mary, but I would just like to make it clear that my opinions are not made on my own ‘religious’ believes, I do not follow, nor belong to any organised religion, what I believe is private and personal, and do not favour any one side in this discussion and can appreciate that catholic/protestants had good and bad on both sides
    Mary did show kindness to many before she was torn apart by the actions of her father,and the new religion appeared, but that kindness was in short supply to those that weren’t of the same mind as her at later dates, including her sister. I do not know all the policital ins and outs, I am more interested in the psychology of the people of this time, how their upbringing, enviroment, events and beliefs etc influenced how they behaved and responded in life.
    As you pointed out parliment agreed to reinstate heresy laws, with protestant
    members present, do you not think that being in the minority that voicing their opinions especially when the Queen was not on ‘their side’ that it could have serious reprocussions on them and their families, even the catholics may have had reservations in wanting to suggest any changes if they thought the laws were too harsh
    As for the power being passed to local authorities and Bishops to decided what to do with ‘Heretics’, correct me if I am wrong, the reigning sovereign had overall power at these times, it is only when Oliver Cromwell came along and had Charles 1st head removed that parliment could over say the monarch. So to say that Mary could not have stopped the punishments being doled out is wrong
    These Bishops, and other high ranking people/churchmen that you speak of were mainly very wealthy, powerful, greedy men, many corupt, that put wordly possessions before their vocation, who had lands and properties with a high standard of living, this new faith threatened all this, they could see a re-occurrance of what happened in the Reformation which would bring the destruction and end to their privileged life style if they did not rid themselves of this threat.
    As for riots, they have been occurent throughout all reigns at one time or another, whether they be because of religion, claims to the throne, disputes or civil unrest etc so having to contend with those were a downside and part of being on the throne.
    From what I have read it seems that it wasn’t just protestants who were against the Spanish marriage there were a lot of nobles and ordinary folk very suspicious about the Spainish, not without good reason looking at past history and Englands unstable relationship with them ,there were worries about what would happen if Mary gave him the crown matrimonial and he out lived her, he would have legal right to carry on reigning and pass it to his own descendents by another wife, there could have been a good possibility the inquisition would have darken Englands coast line, not seen as pluses by the English.
    You may see Wyatt uprising as a personal attack against her and her religion, but maybe if she has shown tolerence and acceptance in her prime position as Queen, towards the changing times and changing beliefs instead of seeing them as a threat, wrong or treasonable, then maybe such drastic measures would not have been necessary
    Your comment that ‘towards the end of her reign prosecution became stagnant & the fires did their job and lowered the number of protestants’ does not put Mary in a favourable light….it may have lowered the number of outwardly practising protestants, and shoved them underground, or maybe it reverted people back to the catholic faith, but this was achieved by fear of Mary and her followers rather than through love of her.
    I quite agree with you that Europe/Britain was at those times extremely brutal ,bloody and dangerous place to live, and I certainly do not see Elizabeth through rose tinted glasses and have never said she was a paragon of perfection, but I do think that, although she made mistakes, she was the better Queen of the two, but that does not mean I can not empathise with Mary. As for the form of execution used burning has been used from Roman times and before, hang-draw-quarted, this was introduced around the13th century so neither of these forms can actually be attributed to either Queen or suggest they had a personal favourite, though many may say Mary was keen on bonfires 🙂
    I do not think of you as immoral to speak of murder, nor do I think you speak of it casually, it is practically impossible to discuss any history, of whatever period and death, execution and murder not be a large part of it, it was the way of things then, and it can’t be changed, it is very difficult at times not to judge with hind-sight and 21st century idealism, but lets hope we can learn from it.

  9. I suppose we will have to agree to disagree, as many of the points you’ve made are correct except for the fact that you seem to think that psychology is the more interesting over politics or religion, when in this time you see that through religion or politics. It is incorrect to say that the protestants in parliament and her council were obliged to reinstate the ancient heresy laws just because they were a minority- which is absolutely incorrect especially when inquiring about her council or her parliament because a little more than half were actually protestant, including two of her head councilers. She was not the one-personally-to bring up the laws therefore a reprocussion by the queen would not have happened and if over half were protestant, well, you get the picture. And as I’ve mentioned before, putting Mary into a bad light by saying that she would mercilessly destroy ones family because they did not go along with her is wrong. She was known for her kindness and kept her protestant councilers and parliament in because she did not wish to see experienced men out on their tales, and because their families, with whom she had many friends, would be harmed.
    And in the case of her not being able to stop these prosecutions, I never made that accusation, because she did. But what I was trying to relay is that she might not have even heard of half these prosecutions, or rather may not have heard the specific case such as a pregnant woman and then her newly born child being burned to death. You claim to care for the psychology of these peoples but are not even considering it in your arguments. To say Mary would not have cared for the blind man and the blind woman and the child and its mother is in exact contempt of psychology of the very character in which we are debating. And even then your accusation that all the churchmen were greedy pigs is wrong, and psychology is once again pushed aside.
    And you only strengthen my point that riots were part of the crown. I am not saying they were special in any case, but they were more personal in her reign, and had to be put down, no? And you are correct that most of England was very upset by the marriage and it’s true that all possibilities were open. But Mary was not ignorant and made sure personally to make sure Philip’s power was both limited in potency and time. She was well aware of what the Spanish and the Emperor wanted, and she made them well aware of what she wanted and what Philip got. And in all actuality Wyatt’s rebellion was all of the above. And out of all the men who participated, only around 100 were executed, so I honestly do not understand what what harshness you speak of.
    Lets be honest here. Were any of the sovereigns of this time just accepting and gracious towards change, especially one that shook Europe and changed the course of history forever? No. And was it not by fear that the protestants tried to destroy Mary and the Catholics? And was it meant to be a kind expulsion of heretics? Catholics loved her and they were certainly the larger in England. To Mary every single protestant had a chance to repent, and if they did not, they were poisoning the very land in which she swore to protect. And that is how I try to view it.

    1. I’ve been following this debate with interest but am afraid I don’t have much time to reply properly as I’m rather time pressured at the moment with my research. I completely agree that Mary is not the monster that history has made her out to be and that Elizabeth was no angel but it is interesting, James, when you say “To Mary every single protestant had a chance to repent” as it’s true but look at poor Thomas Cranmer who made five recantations. He repudiated his Protestant theology and affirmed that he was returning to the Catholic Church. He took part in the mass and asked for sacramental absolution. This should have been the end of it. Cranmer had fully recanted, he had done what Mary I wanted and in a very public way. He should have been absolved but although his execution was postponed temporarily Mary then set another date for it. He had done everything she wanted so to execute him was unlawful and an act of revenge. His execution and that of Lady Jane Grey are two brutal acts that I find it hard to understand or to justify.

      Anyway, that’s just my two cents worth and it comes from someone who admires both queens.

  10. Ah, yes, I am sincerely sorry! I totally forgot about Cranmer, one of the most enigmatic figures of Tudor history. I believe part of his execution was indeed revenge, and was totally brutal and unnecessary. As was the execution of lady Jane Grey.

    But, in the case of Jane Grey, although she was innocent, I feel there was more just reason. She was the figure-head (whether she knew it or not, or whether she condoned it or not) of a coup on Mary’s throne. And since her name was mentioned again during Wyatt’s rebellion, it was certainly clear she would always be associated with any rebellion during Mary’s time.

    I agree she was innocent on a personal level, but not…how should I say…politically? Although it would have been much better to perhaps send her into exile, that would have given her a chance to raise foreign rebels, most likely French (IF she would do such a thing, chances are she would not). And though it’s known to most, certainly both Claire and Dawn, Mary did care for cousin and it was no easy decision to execute her. The pressure was put on her from all sides, and i’m sure it was similar to Elizabeth during the MQS drama. Both certainly had their difficulties, MQS was God’s chosen sovereign on earth, and Mary I was close to Jane and her mother Frances.

    Either way, I agree that both Jane Grey and Cranmer were given no fair trial, but Jane could have certainly been saved if she would have repented, but she did not. Cranmer did, and he died anyway. So once again, I am sorry to have forgotten about those two.

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