“Bloody Mary” Mary I of England

When we think of a Bloody Mary, some of us
may picture the spicy cocktail, the one containing vodka and tomato juice. Others may best know “Bloody Mary” from
the ghostly folklore. You know the one: step in front of a mirror
and chant her name repeatedly. Upon uttering her name three times – or thirteen
times depending on which version of the ritual you use – her apparition then appears to reveal
your future. Allegedly, bloody Mary will either show you
an image of your future spouse or that of a skull, indicating that you will die before
having the chance to marry. If you heard this tale as a child, your friends
probably dared you to conjure her spirit in group play. If you’re like us though, you chickened
out after reciting her name only twice. Mary has long been perceived as a feared figure
and there’s a reason history granted her the title of “Bloody Mary.” Thought to be among the topmost evil queens
in history, she spent her short, five-year reign developing a fearsome reputation for
burning many protestants at the stake in her attempt to reverse the English Reformation. She’d arrange executions by fire while forcing
many to watch their peers burn. The unwilling spectators would then suffer
the same fate afterwards. To say she was harsh is an understatement. She threw all of England into terror and chaos
without showing any mercy. When we say, “no mercy,” we’re not kidding. She would even have pregnant women burned
if she viewed them as heretics. All in the name of her religious fanaticism. Still, if you know of her background and origin
story, you might start to question whether Mary was indeed a villain or if she was actually
a victim of unfortunate circumstances. Before you think we’re crazy for even suggesting
it, allow us to explain. After learning about her story, you can decide
for yourself what you think to be the case. Before she was the crazed queen, she was just
a little girl. Born in 1516, Mary Tudor was the only surviving
child of King Henry VIII and Queen Catherine of Aragon. Initially, life for her started out great. She was a little princess beloved by her mother,
her father and by the people of England. There was just one problem: she was a girl. Realizing there may be no other children,
mainly no sons to inherit the throne, Mary’s mother, Catherine, groomed her at an early
age for a promising future as the queen of England to be. Catherine taught her Latin, thought at the
time to be a man’s language, so that Mary could someday fulfill the most masculine of
roles, that of a sovereign. Though Henry was proud of this daughter, her
accomplishments wouldn’t be enough for him later and he’d still want a son. Being the daughter of the king of England
and the Spanish princess, Mary was also considered a hot commodity for marriage. Her hand was often promised to sons of various
rulers for sake of alliances and political gain. None of these betrothals fell through though. When she turned 11, only a year under the
minimum legal age for marriage, her future betrothal was more seriously considered. Before she could embark into a successful
marriage, however, something happened that would forever change her life. That is, her father fell madly in love with
the woman, Anne Boleyn, and wanted a divorce with her mother. This was probably the biggest, most defining
event for Mary due to the numerous repercussions that followed. It was from this moment on that Mary would
never again experience a day of happiness. Now, before you jump to judgement and think,
“well lots of children’s parents get divorced but they don’t grow up to become murderers,”
we’d advise you to consider that the prospect of divorce was a way bigger deal then than
it is today, especially for royalty. And this was also no ordinary divorce but,
rather, an event that would forever alter the course of English history. There was also a string of negative consequences
that resulted from this momentous change that caused a lot of trauma in Mary’s life. And, on top of everything situational that
was going on, Mary’s health wasn’t the greatest. Specifically, she experienced severe menstrual
problems, thought today to be endometriosis. She had something known as dysmenorrhea, which
gave her agonizing pain and cramping, worse than the typical monthly discomfort that many
women endure. It was chronic and recurring. This was termed as her “usual troubles”
or her “old disease” by royal physicians at the time. Her debilitating pain accompanied by irregular
hormone fluctuations also frequently caused her serious depression, which only served
to exasperate her misery. Today, we now understand that stress can worsen
symptoms of endometriosis and Mary experienced plenty of strain when Anne Boleyn entered
the picture. Mary’s intense anxiety provoked a particularly
nasty flare up of agony in 1531, soon after Henry forced her mother, Catherine, to leave
court while treating Anne as the new queen to be. When her father, Henry, granted himself his
divorce after being denied by the Pope, he disregarded Mary as illegitimate, claiming
that he was never truly, lawfully married to her mother. He’d gone from being a loving and doting
father to Mary in her early years to now being a vicious, neglectful parent. If you watched our other episodes, “Why
did The King of England Execute his Wives?” and, “The Worst Breakup in History,” then
you are probably already familiar with the events that transpired. Basically, in order to divorce Catherine and
marry Anne, Henry had to make some very drastic changes. That is, he had to separate England from the
Roman Catholic Church and start his own, new Church of England. Since Catherine had been a devoted catholic
and Mary had always followed in her footsteps, this was highly devastating for her. The new Protestant Reformation was yet another
factor – a major factor – that added to Mary’s profound grief because her strong
catholic beliefs held significant meaning for her, and she refused to give it up. Many of the people of England loyally supported
Mary, were on her side and felt sympathy for both she and her ostracized mother. After all, she’d been shamefully brushed
aside while being publicly humiliated and disgraced by the harsh neglect and maltreatment
of her father. She’d been embarrassingly downgraded from
the high rank of a princess to a servant for her half-sister, Anne Boleyn and Henry’s
new daughter, Elizabeth, who now possessed a claim to the throne above her. Mary was a shell of what she once had been
and would now have to witness as little Elizabeth enjoyed the charms of her old life. It’s fair to say that Henry VIII was very
cold to the daughter he’d once claimed to adore and, naturally, Mary would have probably
felt very jealous of Elizabeth, sad, neglected and unloved. This was also obviously degrading for Mary’s
status, position and pride, as she’d now lost the affections of her father. To make matters worse, she was no longer permitted
to see her mother either. It was also around this time when Mary experienced
another severely painful flare up from her endometriosis condition. Without a doubt, this was a very lonely and
depressing time for Mary, a time that would only serve to spark and fuel her resentment
in later years to come, as she’d someday want to retaliate for all the painful suffering
she’d been forced to endure. While all these changes were taking place,
the popular but hushed belief was that the king was making a mistake, that he was being
bewitched by Anne Boleyn and that he was turning his back on God by ridding the country of
the catholic faith. Many people asserted that Mary still had a
rightful claim to the throne even though she had been stripped of her title as princess. The people had adored her mother, Catherine,
as their queen, but they hated Anne for being, in essence, a homewrecker. For this reason, Anne was perceived as being
the great “whore” and Mary was thought to be a heroic symbol of rebellion among the
English people. Not surprisingly, Mary’s refusal to acknowledge
the annulment of her mother’s marriage, recognize Anne as queen and relinquish her
own position as princess greatly angered her father. During this time, Mary was in a very precarious
situation. Her very existence was called into question
with whispers of possible allegations of treason to be tried against her. The year of 1536 provided two major life events,
turning points in her future direction. First, Mary’s mother died, which struck
her with further, painful grief. She was depressed beyond consolation and no
longer believed there was a life for her in England. She wanted desperately to leave for her mother’s
home country of Spain. But then, something else changed. Anne Boleyn was ordered by Henry to be executed
for allegations presumably staged against her. Mary was extremely pleased with Anne’s death. She had absolutely despised her for destroying
her life. It also gave Mary a new sense of hope for
her future. Perhaps her father had changed his mind. At once, Mary wrote to him, hoping to be welcomed
back to court and back in his good graces. But, in return, Henry wrote that he was still
displeased by Mary’s stubbornness and still wanted her to submit to his law. Despite Anne Boleyn now being out of the picture,
Henry continued to push that his daughter, Mary, recognize herself as illegitimate and
her mother’s marriage to him as having been unlawful. He forced her to sign a legal declaration
of this. Mary was fully aware that she could be put
to death if she didn’t sign it. After all, if Henry was capable of killing
his wife, he could certainly kill his daughter. For the Tudors, family drama could be deadly! And it wasn’t just Mary’s life at stake
but the lives of her most prominent supporters as well. Thus, Mary reluctantly signed the dreaded
document against her conscience. As a reward, she was welcomed back to court,
earned back her father’s love, and was reinstated back onto the line of succession. This brought her a decade of peace. You’d think it would have provided Mary
with some form of a happy ending in this case, but you’d be wrong. The reality was that Mary would always live
with a sense of guilt and regret for acting against her beliefs, the beliefs of God, and
the beliefs of her now deceased mother. All to save her own skin and those of her
friends and supporters. Yet who can blame her? In many ways though, she was her own harshest
critic. Despite being back in good standing with her
father, however, Mary still didn’t marry during this time. This may be because, as we all famously know,
Henry VIII was too busy collecting and discarding his own wives. Clearly marrying off his first daughter wasn’t
much of a priority for him so Mary remained single for a long time. Mary had also gained a brother; the son and
heir that her father had desperately wanted, Edward VI. Mary was about 31 when her father died, and
the young, 9-year-old Edward took over as first in line to the throne. Mary was second in the line of succession
followed by her younger sister Elizabeth, as ordered by Henry prior to his passing. But Edward, though very young, was a hardcore
protestant, thanks to the influence that his advisors had over him. Thus, Mary once again fell into a threatening
position due to her strong catholic beliefs. This time it was at the hands of her little
brother, not her tyrannical father. Mary once again probably found herself in
a familiar, dark place, thinking there was no future and that her beloved catholic faith
would not survive this doomed world. Years of stress and the constant, monthly
pain she endured from her endometriosis took its toll on her and she became a very weakened-looking
and bitter woman. Thankfully for her, Edward’s reign didn’t
last long because he became ill and died at the young age of 15. Not wanting his catholic sister, Mary, to
take over the throne, Edward had requested upon his dying breath that his protestant
cousin, Lady Jane Grey, succeed him. She would rule as queen for only 9 days before
Mary’s supporters rose up to help her take her rightful place on the throne. At the age of 37, Mary’s reign as queen
finally began. Mary entered London in a triumphant procession
in 1553. The people of England wept tears of joy, elated
that the beloved daughter of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon was finally taking
her place on the throne. Little did the people know what was in store
for them. They didn’t seem to realize the extent of
Mary’s anger and contempt. She was a queen fueled by resentment and passionate
religious obsession. She was determined to restore the catholic
faith and take revenge against those who had made her last 25 years so miserable, namely
protestants. She quickly became an unpopular queen with
the initiation of her mass executions and burnings. To tie England with Catholicism even further,
she finally got married to Philip II of Spain from her mother’s native, catholic country. This, however, did not provide her with the
happy life she so long desired. Though she adored her husband and was smitten
with him, there is no record about how he felt about her in return. But we can speculate with a certain level
of ease that he didn’t feel the same way. One indicator of this has to do with rumors
that were circling about Phillip having affairs with other women. Another clue has to do with what Phillip’s
closest confidant said to him when he praised him on his ability to deal with a woman with
whom he could expect “neither physical pleasure nor satisfaction.” The now 38-year-old Mary was not exactly perceived
as attractive. Far from it actually, as the charms of her
face had faded from years of intense mental pain and suffering. One Spaniard reportedly remarked, “the Queen
is not pretty, not at all, is low, fragile structure instead of fat, with very white
hair and blond, has no eyebrows, is holy, she dresses very badly.” She was also getting older and her child-bearing
years were quickly slipping away. Though it is a harsh sentiment, Phillip very
likely only married Mary for political gain, not for love. This is made all the more sad when you consider
that she had also gone through a period of feeling unloved by her father. It seemed she could not catch a break. Life had not been good to her and her misfortunes
would only continue. Soon after her marriage, it seemed as though
her luck had changed when she’d stopped menstruating, felt nauseated in the mornings
and gained weight. Her royal physicians suspected she could be
pregnant. People rejoiced, bells rang and there were
celebrations held on the streets. Though she grew a belly, however, there was
no baby. It is possible that she had a tumor though
many assert she was experiencing a phantom pregnancy, a conditional phenomenon thought
to occur when a woman wants a child badly enough and winds up deluding herself into
believing she’s pregnant while then displaying the classic bodily symptoms of pregnancy. At the time, there was no way to distinguish
a false pregnancy from a real one, so the only way to find out for sure was to simply
wait until a baby was born. A birth chamber had been prepared for her
and a nursery contained a beautifully carved cradle. Many women were hired on standby to help care
for the baby once it arrived. Letters announcing the birth had also been
written and were ready to be sent. Time passed but still there was no baby. In denial, Mary continued to insist that she
could feel the child move in her womb. Rumors and speculations were quickly spreading
as more time passed. Maybe Mary had lied about being pregnant to
give the people hope for an heir. Maybe, instead of a baby, Mary was carrying
a monkey! Eventually, even she had to come to terms
with the fact that she was not really pregnant. After going through two false pregnancies,
Mary faced the cold, hard reality that she would not have an heir. Her child-bearing years were over. She was enraged with the idea that Elizabeth
would succeed the throne after her. She hated Elizabeth as the daughter of Anne
Boleyn, the woman who’d started all the misery in Mary’s life. She was also incredibly jealous of Elizabeth
because she possessed the two main qualities that Mary did not. That is, Elizabeth was both young and beautiful. After a short, disastrous reign, Mary died
in 1558, most likely from ovarian cancer derived from her untreated endometriosis. Her vision for a catholic England crumbled
and Elizabeth took the throne. Mary’s husband, Phillip, whom she’d loved
so whole-heartedly, wrote that he felt only “a moderate grief for her.” Mary was beguiled even after death because
she was not buried next to her mother as per her request. Instead, she ended up being buried next to
Elizabeth. To make matters worse, the grave site of Mary
and her hated sister is a monument to Elizabeth, which completely overshadows her. Mary is commemorated only by a slab of black
marble with the infamous name, “Bloody Mary” on it. In this way, it seems that Mary has pretty
much gone down as one of history’s biggest losers. She’d had a tremendously difficult life
fraught with grief, pain and misery. On top of everything, she never got her way
in the end. Even in death, she pales in comparison to
her sister and her jealousy may very well extend into the afterlife. Now, after hearing the full story, we turn
to you for your opinion. Was Mary a monster or a victim? Would she have still burned so many people
at the stake if she’d been shown more love? Tell us your theories in the comments! Now for more crazy stories about royals go
watch “Why Did The King Of England Execute His Wives?” Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t
forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!

100 thoughts on ““Bloody Mary” Mary I of England

  1. Nothing about her past could justify what she did ESPECIALLY since she did it in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

  2. Mary was not that loyal as a Catholic as she did not give back the lands taken from the Church, nor was she in any hurry to relinquish her title of supreme governor of the English Church.

  3. I feel so bad for her, she just wanted to be loved and she was suffering with serious mental illness I mean her own dad was emotionely abusive so no wonder she went insane so she was indeed a victim who turned into a monster

  4. .Henry VIII Had 6 wives
    .Henry wanted a male
    .but he he got Elizabeth I And Mary II
    Mary II (i think) died from being beheaded
    For making a girl
    She is not scary
    Catholics to go the church and prey for the Mary
    Her boat sank

    That's all I know!(i know some ) more

  5. moral of the story : don't vote for a woman leader, because they have painful menstruations that can change their mood drastically.

  6. Infographics: atleast you had the courage of saying it twice. After watching this i couldn't face a mirror for like three days.

  7. Anne says in "Ex-Wives"
    "I broke England from the Church"
    You also broke a little girl's heart
    But Im not mad cause I still have her song in my head

  8. Mary was a victim that became a monster. Had she been shown some love and advised to read at ;east the Bible in English, she might've became slightly moderate

  9. Wasn't she the one so obsessed with youth and beauty that she would take blood baths hence the nickname? I was hoping that would be mentioned but maybe I got the wrong queen?

  10. People who live in luxury don't know what 'struggle' means. The only ones that do, are the ones that started off poor.

    If you disagree, I'll bet my top dollar that you're a rich snobby brat.

  11. Some monsters aren’t born they’re created. She would have been much better off if she had been treated right.

  12. With this son worshiping culture….If it had worked n all devoted parents got just sons then what….how would their sons would have procreated….invaded the others???? I know 100 yrs from now they will make vids on botox n Brazilian butts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *