Mary I
1516 – 1558
(Queen: 1553 – 1558)
The daughter of Henry VIII and Katherine
of Aragon
Edward’s Regency Council attempted to
prevent her from taking the throne but
the English people remained loyal to the
Tudor dynasty and refused to support
Lady Jane Grey
Mary was a strong Catholic and
attempted to reverse the Protestant
Reformation in England. The Marian
Counter-Reformation was a time of
persecution for Protestants and gained
Mary the nickname ‘Bloody Mary’.
Mary married Philip, King of Spain , in
1554 but the marriage was childless.
Mary suffered a phantom pregnancy in
Although initially popular her religious
policy, linked to her marriage to a
Spaniard, an unsuccessful war in France,
and poor harvests made her very
unpopular by the end of her reign.
In 1557 Mary believed herself to be
pregnant. Instead it was likely she was
suffering from uterine cancer. In 1558,
weakened by this illness she died most
likely of influenza
The Marian Counter-Reformation
• Mary reversed all the religious laws and changes which Edward and
Henry had introduced. Catholicism was returned to England.
• Mary could only achieve this with the support of Parliament, and
this was only possible once she had agreed not to demand that the
monastic lands be returned by the Gentry who had bought them.
• Many prosperous Protestants fled overseas. Others, like Cranmer
and Latymer, were arrested, tried for heresy and burned at the
stake. During her reign 283 Protestants were executed in this
• Protestantism became a persecuted belief, with many Protestants
worshiping in secret. The persecutions were very unpopular, even
with confirmed Catholics.
Mary’s marriage policy
• 1554 Mary married Philip a Prince of Spain.
• This marriage was very unpopular with the English
people. Wyatt’s Rebellion broke out in Kent in an
attempt to stop it. Parliament (who wanted her to
marry an Englishman) imposed restrictions on the
marriage, namely that Philip could not inherit the
throne if Mary died first.
• The marriage was also unpopular in Spain ~ England
was seen as backward and uncivilised.
• Mary loved Philip very much. For Philip the marriage
was purely political ~ to gain an alliance for Spain in her
war against France.
Mary’s marriage
• In 1554 Mary believed that she was pregnant.
• In 1555 it was clear that she had suffered a phantom
• In disgust Philip left to take command of the Spanish
armies occupying Holland. He did not return until
• Mary fell into a deep depression over this matter.
• In 1557 Mary again declared that she was pregnant ~ it
was likely that she was suffering from uterine cancer.
This caused her great pain and weakened her
considerably. Philip was not in England when she died.
Mary’s Foreign Policy
• Mary’s marriage to Philip brought England
into Spain’s war with France.
• This led to a plot by the French to assassinate
Mary and invade England in 1556 (the Dudley
• In 1557 England declared war on France. The
war was expensive and very unsuccessful,
with the last English bases in France lost to the
Mary’s economic policy
• Throughout Mary’s reign England suffered
very poor harvests due to very wet weather
• Mary attempted to stimulate foreign trade by
opening up new trade routes with Russia but
this was generally unsuccessful.
• War with France disrupted trade to Europe
• Although England was allied with Spain, she
would not share her very valuable trade to the
New World.
The Succession
• When Mary died without an heir the options
available to take the throne were: her halfsister Elizabeth; Philip, King of Spain.
• Both Parliament and the people generally
were not prepared to accept a Catholic
foreigner as their King and therefore Elizabeth
was the only logical choice.