Mary Tudor is often written off as a hopeless, twisted queen who tried desperately to pull England back to the Catholic Church that was so dear to her mother, and sent many to burn at the stake in the process. In this radical re-evaluation of the first 'real' English queen regnant, Judith M. Richards challenges her reputation as 'Bloody Mary' of popular historical infamy, contending that she was closer to the more innovative, humanist side of the Catholic Church.
Richards argues persuasively that Mary, neither boring nor basically bloody, was a much more hard-working, 'hands on', and decisive queen than is commonly recognized. Had she not died in her early forties and failed to establish a Catholic succession, the course of history could have been very different, England might have remained Catholic and Mary herself may even have been treated more kindly by history.
This illustrated and accessible biography is essential reading for all those with an interest in one of England's most misrepresented monarchs.
‘Richards gently but firmly pulls apart the traditional prejudices to reveal a far more dynamic, intelligent and successful political operator than anyone had imagined. …This biography is very readable and will prove extremely useful.’ – History Review
‘It does an able job of defending Mary against the charge of being a humourless, hysterical and catastrophic ruler … Dr Richards is especially good in producing a well-rounded portrait of the Queen’s own nature and of her overall life … Another of the book’s strengths is its sensitivity to the difference between the nature of things and perceptions of them … it is a good example of the art of biography, making a genuine contribution to our understanding of the woman and the Queen, and always an easy and entertaining read.’ – BBC History Magazine
‘Richards confronts all of the most difficult problems associated with Mary’s life and rule, including her health, the legal and political ambiguities inherent in the marriage she made with Philip of Spain, her phantom pregnancies, and her troubles with the papacy. . . Elegant and astute, Mary Tudor is a triumph.’ – Susan Wabuda, Fordham University, Journal of British Studies, volume 49, number 2
Acknowledgements. List of Plates. Genealogical Charts. A Note on Spelling. Abbreviations. Introduction: The Reputation of Mary Tudor 1. Establishing the Tudor Regime 2. The Early Years of Mary Tudor 3. The Education of a Princess: Learning Life and Politics 4. The Restoration of Lady Mary 5. Mary in the Reign of Edward VI, 1547–1553 6. Edward and Mary: The Final Struggles 7. Establishing England’s First Female Monarch 8. Problems for a Marrying Queen Regnant 9. The Prosperous Year of Philip and Mary, July 1554–August 1555? 10. Religious Trials and Other Tribulations 11. The Road to War and the Loss of Calais 12. The End of the Regime of Mary Tudor. End Notes. Further Reading