Mary I, Queen of England

By Wes Weems

Mary I (1516-58) was the first child of Henry the VIII and the only surviving of he and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. With the annulment of the marriage of Henry and Catherine, Mary was, for a period, made illegitimate. She stubbornly continued to refer to herself as a princess even though she was no longer a princess or heir to the throne of England. During this period of her life Henry, who had been a very affectionate father up until the annulment of his marriage to Mary's mother, treated her very coldly. She was, for a time, sent to the household of her half sister Elizabeth I. With the death of Catherine his attitude toward Mary warmed somewhat and she was brought back into the royal family. After the death of her half brother Edward, Mary acceded to the throne in 1553. Her relationship with her sister would become especially turbulent during her reign. Mary was a devout Catholic and Elizabeth, as a devout Protestant, would always be seen as a threat to her throne. Mary had her sister and imprisoned for a time being and considered having her executed. Mary I's
persecution of English Protestants during her reign would earn her the name "Bloody Mary."