Mary Tudor was the only child born to Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon to survive childhood and after the death of her half brother, the then king Edward she was proclaimed queen of England, France, Naples, Jerusalem and Ireland in July of 1553. Through inheritance Mary ruled as queen for six years using even after an abundance of threats were made to her person by many lords and members of her council to replace her throne with a queen they could easily manipulate and control.
Parliament met four days after the queen’s coronation and Mary introduced legislations that she had long anticipated. The main act appealed was to repeal all the religious laws passed in the reign of Edward VI, this act did not pass easily as her father’s laws had already caused so much change and hurt, they feared returning the laws he disowned would confuse the people and initiate more of the same pain .
After much thought and anticipation, Mary began to act on her intention to restoring the Catholic faith in England. The nobles were allowed to keep the lands gained in the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII, but the Queen encouraged returning former Church property and set an example by doing so herself. The medieval heresy laws were restored by Parliament, which meant that heretics could be killed, and their property and holdings given over to the Crown.
Mary had never forgiven her father for divorcing her mother, nor had she accepted his break with Rome. Immediately on acceding to the throne, she set out on her personal mission of returning England to the Church of Rome. This brought the death of innocent people who Mary saw as sinful due to their lack of faith in the catholic religion.
Her methods were uncompromising. She invoked old heresy laws to make an example of prominent supporters of Anglicanism, and had no less than 300 of her subjects burned at the stake on such charges, most famously Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury. This earned her the name Bloody Mary. Through this act I believe she used her power as a bad use, but to her credit she was following something she deeply believed in and thought was for the greater good of her country, although in the process she took innocent lives and nobody, no matter how ‘monstrous’ they are deserved to be killed because of the decisions and dreams of somebody else, she is deemed as a bad powerful influence in my opinion.
Her mission was doomed to failure, mostly because she reigned for only five years and also because of her fanaticism that made her extremely unpopular. Marrying Philip II of Spain, England’s enemy, did nothing to help her cause, nor did he give her an heir. All in all, her reign was a national and personal tragedy. Although her intentions to restore catholic faith back into England were made with good intentions on her behalf, the way in which she went about doing so, failed her as a queen. In doing this she lost the love of her subjects and sacrificed numerous innocent people for a dream that would never rise to succession.
Mary was succeeded by her younger half-sister Elizabeth, a confirmed Anglican and a highly intelligent and talented politician after her death from illness in 1558. Elizabeth’s reign restored some much needed stability to the realm as she tried to fix the wrong doings of her half sister and father.
Mary Tudor used her power for bad and destroyed her image as queen, she lost the love of her people for a dream she could never enforce.
- by Taryn Baxter, 11ENG