England’s Lonely Rose. The Story of Mary Tudor (Part III)

England’s Lonely Rose. The Story of Mary Tudor (Part III)

Only nine years old, Edward Tudor became King of England.  He was far too young to rule on his own, so a special council was appointed to take the realm’s matters.  King Henry VIII instructed the council rule as a group, but instead after his death Edward Seymour was named Lord Protector. The idea that Edward was a weak boy was just a rumor. In fact, he was a healthy and vivacious child. Unlike his father, the sports and outdoor activities were not his style. He enjoyed studies, politics, religion and art.  When Edward became King and close in age to take his own decisions as England’s ruler, his relationship with his sisters changed dramatically.  When they dined with him, the sisters had to sit on low benches, not chairs and placed far down the table so that the cloth of state which hung above the king did not cover them. Protocol also dictated that they must kneel several times when entering his royal presence. Mary and Elizabeth must sit on cushions or benches and not arm chairs.  Edward clearly wanted to show his sisters who was in command.

Mary was on good terms with her brother the King and with his Lord Protector Edward Seymour, but soon the religious matters started to build, and a wall grew between the three.  The re-birth of the reforms slowly moved Mary away from court.  She decided to stay in her East County Estate, where she was free not only to be in peace, also to practice her Catholic Faith in private and without judgment.   King Edward resented this attitude from his eldest sister, and it was also becoming suspicious. He was learning that it was important to keep everyone as close as possible, especially those with blood and ranks that could eventually cause him problems.

King Edward asked Mary twice to return to court and she refused. She gave reasonable reasons, sometimes health, and sometimes lack of time, since she was taking charge of her houses, servants and profits.  But soon the eyes and ears of the King showed the real facts of her absence at court. Mary was once again determined to keep her faith, and she was performing private masses in the Catholic Ritual in her estate. This made the King and the Council unhappy.  The King ordered Mary to return to court so she could explain herself about her actions.

While she was in his presence, he reminded her that she was breaking his laws by holding private Catholic Masses. Her reply to her brother and the council was:   “When I perceive how the King, whom I love and honor above all other beings, as by nature and duty bound, had been counseled against me, I could not contain myself and exhibited my interior grief.”  Edward Seymour and the rest of the Council Members remained untouched by her words, but the young King could not contained his feelings of brother, and more when he saw his beloved older sister crying kneeled in his presence. He also started to cry and replied to her:  “I never thought that any harm would come from you”. This time, the Lady Mary was free of suspicion, but soon the tides would strike against her shores.

Mary was true to her beliefs and like her mother, she had the courage to protect them.  But she was also aware that her brother was growing up, not only in age but also in knowledge and character. Mary felt threatened when she heard rumors about how the young King was developing a similar wild and explosive temper as her father used to have. Stories of how he shredded a falcon in four pieces with his own hands in a moment of rage also started to worry her.  Still, she tried to make the best of the situation, and go on with her life and her practices away from the King’s sight.  Sadly for her, the Emperor Charles V started to make threats against England.

The Spanish Ambassador came with warnings of embargoes and that raised the King’s suspicions against Mary.  The young King showed his anger towards his sister in a very painful way.  Edward started to openly show a huge favoritism towards Elizabeth.  He made sure that Mary witnessed the sudden preference of Elizabeth’s presence above hers at court.  King Edward doubled Elizabeth’s escort, and even the council was ordered to receive her with all the honors that a King’s sister should have.  The King made an open statement at court about this:  “In order to show the people how much glory belongs to her who has embraced the new religion and is become a very great lady.”

Mary was displeased and sad, but she knew the reasons for this cruel treatment.  Once, during a banquet, Mary and her brother the King had a small conversation about the politics of the realm that went out of hand when Mary mentioned the reforms of religion as one of the problems. The King became so angry with his sister’s public scolding, that his strong, cruel and bitter words against her, in front of everyone made her burst in to tears. Before leaving the table, his last words to Mary were:  “Truly, sister, I will see my laws strictly obeyed, and those who break them shall be watched and denounced.” These words were clearer than water for Mary. Now she knew she was playing a dangerous game. Mary was seeing her father in her little brother, and she feared that the past that kept her as an outcast for so long was coming back.  Yet, Mary was determined to continue her devotion to her faith.

By 1551, three officials of Mary’s household were summoned to appear before the King’s Council and were ordered to prevent mass from being celebrated. They told the Council that The Lady Mary would not permit them to enforce this, and they and some of her Chaplains were arrested and sent to the Tower. A letter written by King Edward and drafted by William Cecil was delivered to Mary at Copthall on August 28, by Lord Rich and two other members of the Privy Council. Mary was stoic, defiant and not courteous.  She refused to invite them into the house and instead met them in the courtyard. She read the letter and said that she would obey the King in all things except on religion — because of his youth. Her reply to them was: “In these years, although he, good sweet King, have more knowledge than any other of his years, yet it is not possible that he that he can be a judge in these things.”

Mary’s servants remained in the Tower for a few months, but the King and Council grew tired of Mary’s stubbornness and refusal to return to court and with new issues to attend. They decide to look away for a while. After all, she was not a dangerous threat, at least not a crucial one at that moment.  Even with the truce, Mary continued under the watchful eyes of the Council.  She received letters from the Lord Protector asking her to submit to the King’s laws in religious matters.  Mary replied that she never read a Protestant book or Manifest and that she would never do so.  She made clear that her intention was to keep the faith she knew from her Mother and Father when she was a child.  This statement saved Mary from a direct attack from her brother. He saw this as an idealist feeling rather than the rants of a rebellion against him.

King Edward understood that Mary only wanted to believe in the “fantasy” that someday England could return as what it was when her mother was Queen.  But soon, fate would start to work on Mary’s favor, in a tragic way but surely a sign that “redemption” was finally on her path. The rebellions of 1549 and the failure to bring Mary Queen of Scots to England as Edward’s bride brought Edward Seymour to the Tower and his ultimate execution.  John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, was placed as the King’s Chief Minister.  This was a man that Mary rightly feared. He had a full power over the King’s mind and judgment, and a very strong influence over the Council.  He could cause her a lot of harm if she dared to give even a little sign of disagreement against the King.   Mary decided to be extremely careful in all she say and do, until she was able to find a way to recover the King’s total trust.

Then in 1552, the health of Young King Edward started to decline. He suffered from smallpox, but recovered from it.  Soon after that, even when he was still weak, he started a tour around England, visiting some important nobles and making business alliances.  By 1553, King Edward showed the early signs of tuberculosis. The news reached the Lady Mary, who immediately went to see him in February.   The Council did not believe in Mary’s good intentions, and they kept her waiting for three days until they decide if it was safe for the King to be with her.  Finally she was allowed to visit him in his chamber, but she was closely watched by the King’s grooms and private guard.

Mary was not only afraid for the King’s life, she was afraid for hers too.  Mary realized the severity of Edward’s illness, and she began to fear that if he died she would be killed quickly before a rising on her behalf could take place. Northumberland’s greatest fear was that Mary would become Queen and remove all of his Protestant reforms and more importantly remove him from power. He convinced King Edward to change his will with the threat that the country would revert back to Catholicism if he let Mary succeed.

King Edward’s new Device for the succession by passed both Mary and Elizabeth, on the condition that their legitimacy was never formally settled, and passed over the young Catholic Mary Queen of Scots, and settled the crown to the Brandon line descended from Henry VIII’s younger sister Mary. More to the fact, young Lady Jane Grey was named heir to the throne, followed by her male heir and then her sisters and their male heirs. Once again, things got complicated for Mary’s dream to become Queen and return England to the path of her Catholic forefathers, to the time when all was correct and beautiful for her.

Finally, after long agonizing and painful days, King Edward died, probably from tuberculosis and arsenic poisoning — the last one explains the almost total loss of his hair and nails, the swollen of his body like a balloon and the scabs on his skin.  The young King was only fifteen years old. Soon after his death, arrangements to place Jane Grey upon the throne of England were on the table.  But let’s see a little more about Jane Grey and her relationship with Mary Tudor before the death of the young King.

Lady Jane Grey was born in October of 1537, the same month as Prince Edward. Her mother was Frances Brandon, the daughter of King Henry’s sister Mary. Her father was Henry Grey, Earl of Dorset, later Duke of Suffolk. From the first, her parent’s planned on Jane being a potential wife to the prince, and they groomed her for this purpose. She was given the education befitting of a future queen. John Aylmer, a young Cambridge scholar and strict Protestant, became her tutor and treated her kindly, something she never experienced from her parents. Later Dr. Harding taught her French, Greek, Spanish and Italian and she also learned music and dancing.

She was dressed as befitted a princess and was told she had a destiny more noble than her younger sisters. Lady Jane Grey is described as “very short and thin, but prettily shaped and graceful”. She had blond reddish hair and freckles. She was modest, virtuous, cultivated and was renowned in intellectual circles on her learning. Lady Jane was the polar opposite of the Lady Mary in religion, being as devout a Protestant as Mary a Catholic. Both were intolerant of those who held different beliefs from themselves.

When Lady Jane visited Mary in 1550, she was horrified at the regular Catholic masses celebrated in the chapel and denounced this as superstitious idolatry. Mary was not happy with these remarks, but continued to think kindly of her cousin and send her gifts. On the state visit of Mary of Guise, Regent of Scotland, Mary heard young Lady Jane was to attend court and sent her a dress of gold and velvet with parchment lace of gold. Jane, who was following an austere and simple form of dress code, asked what she to do with it was. Her parents made her wear it. Lady Jane Grey’s reply to this command was: “Nay that were a shame to follow my Lady Mary against God’s word, and leave my Lady Elizabeth, which followeth God’s word.” At  Christmas, while staying with Jane’s family, the Lady Mary presented Jane with a necklace of gold and pearls. We can only imagine Jane’s reaction. Their relationship changed abruptly and for the worst in 1553, the date of King Edward’s death.

Suddenly, unexpected and with the blessing of her parents, Jane was wed to Northumberland’s son Lord Guilford Dudley on May 25, 1553. On July 9th, she was taken by barge to Syon House. There she was surprised to see the whole council waiting and was even more astonished when they knelt before her. Northumberland informed her of the death of the King, and because of King Edward’s new devise for the succession she was now Queen Jane of England, Ireland and France. After a spell of faintness she announced “The crown is not my right, and pleaseth me not. The Lady Mary is the rightful heir.” Northumberland was angered and her parents reminded her of the duty she owed them. In this atmosphere of pressure and coercion Jane finally submitted saying “If what hath been given to me is lawfully mine, may Thy Divine Majesty grant me such spirit and grace that I may govern to Thy glory and service, and to the advantage of the realm.” The new and frightened Queen Jane was not yet sixteen years old when the crown was placed upon her head.

The citizens of London took the news silently, feeling Mary should be queen.  Queen Jane was settled in the Tower where the crown jewels were brought to her. She once again rebuked, but again was forced do Northumberland’s bidding by trying on the crown. That evening, though, she showed her Tudor colors by declaring to her husband that he would never be King, instead she would create him a duke, much to his distress.

A little farther away, the displeased and angry Lady Mary was conjuring her own plans. She grew tired of everything and everyone who stood against her lawful right to the throne of England. She had enough and she was ready to claim her crown once and for all.  Her followers and supporters were increasing her hopes and strengths, and she felt secure that this time, all would work on her favor.

By the 12th of July, it seemed inevitable that there would be an armed confrontation with the forces that Mary was quickly amassing. The Duke of Northumberland assembled troops and promised them a month’s pay in advance. He ordered war ships up the coast to prevent Mary from escaping. Silent crowds of Londoners watched the army and Northumberland leave the city. Almost as soon as he was gone, the counselors who were still undecided on the validity of Queen Jane’s claim to the crown quickly abandoned her and took up with Mary’s supporters. Even the war ships mutinied to join Mary.

Queen Jane had continued to hold audiences and began her plans to bring a rigid form of Protestantism to the Church of England, but by the 19th she heard the cheers of the city and the peeling of bells and could not have assumed they were for her. When her father arrived and told her she was no longer queen she was relieved. But the news was still far from being good for her.

That same day, on July 19th 1553, the Lord Mayor of London proclaimed Mary as Queen of England. The crowds were so thick in the street that he had trouble making his way thorough. It seemed all of London was out of doors cheering. All the church bells started ringing and the fountains in the streets ran with wine. Dancing and singing went on into the night when bonfires were lit. An Italian visitor wrote that the whole city shone with lights.  To Mary there was no question that this victory against all odds was a miracle. In Mary’s mind, God had opened the way for her to bring back the people to the only true religion. And she felt that He was also giving her a chance to show her colors, her lineage and her capacity to rule.

The people of England supported her as the true and rightful heir, and Mary had fought for this right against those who had tried to alter the succession. Ironically in fighting for her succession rights, she was also preserving Elizabeth’s right to the throne as well. Now, it was time for Mary to shine as Queen, like her mother always wanted, like Mary always dreamed.  On Sunday 1st October 1553, Mary I was crowned Queen at Westminster Abbey by Stephen Gardiner, the Bishop of Winchester. Here is an account of the beginning of the event:  At 11 am, Mary processed into the Abbey, dressed traditionally, as a male monarch would be, in the usual state robes of crimson velvet.  In front of the Queen, processed the Bishop of Winchester, gentlemen, knights and councilors.  The Earl of Arundel carrying the ball and scepter, the Marquis of Winchester carrying the orb and the Duke of Norfolk carrying the crown. A canopy carried by the barons of the Cinque Ports was carried over the Queen as she processed along a raised walkway to the coronation chair.   Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, started the ceremony:

“Sirs, Here present is Mary, rightful and undoubted inheritrix by the Laws of God and man to the Crown and Royal Dignity of this realm of England, France and Ireland, where upon you shall understand that this day is appointed by all the peers of this land for the consecration, injunction and coronation of the said most excellent Princess Mary; will you serve at the time and give your wills and assent to the same consecration, unction and coronation?”

The Congregation replied:  Yes, Yes, Yes!  God save Queen Mary!

Mary was finally seeing the light she lost for a long time, there she was, radiant as ever, following the legacy of her mother, showing that she was the rightful heiress of her father, the King who once neglected her and almost threatened with execution.  You can only imagine how she was feeling inside; it was like to be whole again for sure.  Her coronation, continued with all the royal protocols:

She prostrated herself before the altar on a velvet cushion while prayers were said over her. Afterwards, the Bishop of Chichester, George Day, preached a sermon on the obedience owed to a monarch, and Mary made her oaths before lying prostrate once again in front of the high altar while the Abbey choir sang Veni Creator Spiritus. Accompanied by her ladies, Mary then went to change in preparation for her anointing. Dressed in a petticoat of purple velvet, she lay in front of the altar and was anointed with holy oil on her shoulders, breast, forehead and temples by Gardiner. Once again dressed in her robes of state, Queen Mary then received the sword, the scepter and orbs, and was crowned with the crown of Edward the Confessor, the Imperial Crown and then an especially custom-made crown. The ermine-furred crimson mantle was then put about her shoulders, and she sat in the coronation chair as nobles paid homage to their new queen.  Finally at 4 pm, Queen Mary walked out of Westminster Abbey, processing to Westminster Hall for the coronation banquet, where she was joined by her half-sister, Elizabeth, and her former step-mother, Anne of Cleves.

There was much to celebrate. Mary was now the recognized queen of the realm, the first crowned queen regnant of England.  She honored her mother, the waiting was worth it, she was the ruler, and she was the Queen.

Soon the time for celebrations ended. There was still a matter to resolve, the fate of Jane Grey and her husband.  Queen Mary of England was determined to not execute Jane and her husband. Her Majesty saw Jane as a pawn of Northumberland, and her majesty knew that the girl was forced to accept the crown. Jane wrote to Mary a letter giving an account of her nine days as queen and made no excuses for herself only expressing regret that she had accepted the crown. Mary was impressed but still she feared that Jane could be the center of another Protestant uprising. She was hopeful that things would quiet down and she could release Jane back to her private life.  Besides, Queen Mary saw a lot of herself in the situation that Jane was dealing with.  When she had her age she was also forced to accept and do things against her wishes, in the name of fear and pressure.  She understood the feelings of Jane and was willing to give her a second chance.

Mary was overwhelmed by her victory. After years living in the shadows, she was now Mary Regina!  She wanted to be loved by her people as her mother was. She wanted to change things for the best, in they way she thought was the correct way.  After a few days, Queen Mary ordered that Jane’s imprisonment were reduced in guard, and Jane was allowed to walk in the inside yards of the Tower with her husband. She was told that she would face a trial, but that a royal pardon would be given to her too.

On November 14, 1553 Jane and her husband were tried in the Guildhall in London and all were condemned to death. They returned to the Tower and Queen Mary continued to say that she would not have the sentences commuted. The Queen was determined to keep her word. She felt pity for her young cousin and still thought she was used like an element to obtain power.  Unfortunately for Jane, a rebellion in where she never took part was rising in England against the Queen.   This rebellion got stronger when news that Queen Mary was considering a marriage with King Phillip of Spain. Immediately, the anti-Spanish crusade started to be planned, headed by Sir Thomas Wyatt. This rebellion indeed promised to be more than a simple headache to Queen Mary.

Jane’s father, the Duke of Suffolk, gave his support if Wyatt agreed to over throw Queen Mary and place Jane back on the throne. The rebellion was thwarted, and Wyatt was arrested. Queen Mary’s council urged her to be rid of all the people who could be a focus of future rebellions. Queen Mary reluctantly agreed, and signed the death warrant for Jane and her husband. In one last attempt to save Jane’s life, Mary sent the Abbott of Westminster to try to persuade Jane to convert to Catholicism, and therefore be offered a reprieve. Although he wrote to Mary to delay the execution a few days as Jane gave evidence of capitulating, in the end, Jane stood by her beliefs. Her father sent her letters of remorse of his treatment of her, and she told him that she remained his obedient daughter.

On the 12 of February 1554, Jane Dudley was led to the Tower Green, where the block was waiting for her. She said her prayers and seemed very composed until she was blindfolded and felt unsuccessfully for the block. She panicked and cried, “What shall I do, where is it?” A bystander helped her hands to the block, on which she laid down her head. She was buried under the altar of St Peter ad Vincula, in the Tower, next to Queens Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard.

Queen Mary tried to save the life of Jane. This proofs that she was not cold  after all.  If we are going to judge her on this matter, we must remember that she was a Queen, loved by some, hate by others. She knew that for Kings and Princes the dangers of being overthrown are always present, they need to strike hard in order to survive, keep their crowns and rule in peace.  She was learning the hard way, and if she wanted to move England towards the path she once lived and loved, she needed to be strong, determined, to think with a cold head rather than a gentle heart. She could not do anything else, she needed to act and wait for the response of fate.

At the beginning of her reign, Queen Mary acted slowly on the subject of religion and appeared able to compromise. She allowed her brother Edward to be buried in Westminster Abbey with the Protestant service, while she attended a private mass in his memory.  The first act she presented to the Council was to repeal the divorce of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon, declaring the marriage lawful.

Mary was not a Queen who enjoyed to party every single day, but at the beginning of the reign, there was joy and merriment in her court.  Her sister Elizabeth was part of that joy, and that was causing distress in the Queen.  The relationship between these two sisters went from rough to soft many times. At first Elizabeth was a sign of darkness. Then they became close, and Mary was a great example for her little sister. They shared the same pain and abandonment.  Now, Mary was the Queen, but her youth and beauty were damaged by the years of sadness, hate, bitterness and frustration. In contrast, Elizabeth, she was young, full of life, with the charm of her mother, with the same eyes that once led her father towards the dark path that destroyed all she loved and cared for.  Elizabeth had a powerful light, while she was diminished in the shadows.

Queen Mary noticed how the court loved the presence of Elizabeth above her own, and that raised the red flag.  She started to see Elizabeth as a potential threat in the future, so she took with relieved the desire of Elizabeth to leave court and live a less notorious life in Hatfield. Feeling totally secure with her sister away, Queen Mary continued with her tasks as Queen of England.

From the start, one of her major goals was to restore the Catholic Faith in England.  She began secret negotiations with the Pope soon after becoming Queen. The Pope appointed the Englishman, Cardinal Reginald Pole, to be his legate in England. Pole was a grandson of Edward IV’s brother the Duke of Clarence and a distant cousin of Queen Mary. His mother, the Countess of Salisbury, had been the Queen’s godmother and governess and had been executed by King Henry VIII in 1541. Reginald Pole had fled from England and began his career in Rome. Pole advised the Queen to move quickly in returning England to Rome, but she argued that this would take time. There were political problems and she suggested that it would be easier to persuade the Parliament and the people to accept papal supremacy if the Pope would agree to leave the confiscated monastic lands in the hands of the present owners.

Perhaps this slow movement in her desires of make England Catholic again was because she was pursuing a major goal, something that for her was very important, as much as religion was:  her dream to get married, and have a family.  To have love and companionship, heirs of her own flesh and blood.

Soon after Mary’s coronation, Simon Renard, the Emperor Charles V’s ambassador, urged Mary to consider marriage to the Emperor’s son Prince Philip Hapsburg of Spain. She would not at first consider it arguing that she was too old, being 37 and he only 26. Even with that, the Ambassador urged her to consider the idea.   But Queen Mary needed to think fast, time was against her, and if she wanted a Catholic Heir  she needed to act now. Besides, she had less youth ( according to the standards of Tudor Times of course) her chances to be attractive and fertile were reducing, again, according to those standards.

At the same time, even when she wanted love and a family, she needed to think carefully in how things would be if the marriage became a fact.  Mary did not want to be controlled in her own dominion, and yet, she did not wanted to be a total tyrant over her future husband’s rights as Consort.  It was a complicated issue, but she started to like the idea of marrying the son of the King of Spain.  After all, in that marriage she was recovering her Spanish roots, something that would always keep her close to the memory of her beloved mother.

Finally, after think about the subject really well, The Queen accepted the marriage plan, and sent delegates to Spain, to set the terms of the marriage and the rights that Prince Phillip would have as King Consort.  The terms were clear:  None of Philip’s Spanish advisors should interfere in English affairs, only English born ministers alone would confer with Philip and Mary on matters relating to England. England would not declare war on France, whom the Emperor was at war with, or to break off diplomatic relations with France. Philip was forbidden to bring Spanish troops with him. He could not appoint officials and could not send English money abroad.  The Emperor and his son agreed with the terms, and as a symbol of concord, the Emperor sent to Queen Mary a very generous amount of gifts and money.  Her Majesty was rejoiced with her coming wedding, and was indeed very excited with the arrival of her future husband.

Phillip arrived to England on July 1554.  He was escorted to Winchester, where he would meet the Queen at exactly 10 pm.  Phillip did his best to please the members of the Council and the Courtiers. He was welcomed with all the honors and indeed he made a good impression. Mary sadly did not achieve the same.  She was feeling so secure that the marriage was already a fact, and saw no need to appear as a Venus in the presence of Phillip. That was a huge mistake on her part.

When Phillip met her, he was very disappointed. He disguised his deception with extreme politeness and elegance, even when he seemed cold towards the Queen.  His advisors told him that the Queen was older than him, but when he saw her, he felt she was a lot older than he was told. She dressed badly. She barely had ornaments and had no eyebrows. He found her fragile in her complexion. Her hair had traces of grey color — something that made her looked a lot older than she really was, and she was just in her mid thirties by then!  In the Queen’s defense, she only proved later in the meeting that she was a better dancer than he was.

For Mary on the other hand, the meeting was magical.  The lonely Queen fell immediately in love with Phillip. He was the man of her dreams — slender, blue eyed, handsome features, and sandy hair color. She was taken by the light of greatness that covered him, the greatness of royal pride of every Spaniard. Mary was totally and madly in love with Phillip. She hoped that he would feel the same for her. She believed that her marriage would be a happy one, that her loneliness would end. Queen Mary was happy.

Phillip was already regretting the marriage idea. He would never love her the same way she loved him.  He felt neither emotion nor attraction towards her, which was clear for everyone, except for Mary.  In any case, everything was settled and his word was given. Like it or not, there was no turning back.  On Wednesday 25th July 1554, the feast day of St James, the 38 year-old Queen Mary married 27 year-old Philip of Spain at Winchester Cathedral.  The ceremony was performed by Bishop Gardiner, who was also at the time the Queen’s Lord Chancellor. Here is a description of how the wedding was:

“On wensday the 25th of July, being St. James’s day, the prince, richly apparelled in cloth of gold, embroidered, with a great company of the nobles of Spayne, in such sort as the like hath not been seen, proceded to the church, and entered in at the west door, and passed to his traverse, all the way on foot; and to the church he had no sword borne before him. Then came the queenes majesty, accompanied with a great number of the nobility of the realm, the sword being borne before her by the earl of Derby, and a great company of ladyes and gentlewomen very richly apparelled: her majesty’s train was borne up by the marquesse of Winchester, assisted by sir John Gage her lord chamberlayne: and so she proceeded to the church; the kinges and herauldes of arms in their coates going before her from her lodging on foot to the church, where entering at the west door she passed on till she came to her traverse. Then the bishop of Winchester, lord chancellor of England, which did the divine service, assisted by the bishops of London, Duresme, Chichester, Lyncoln, and Ely, all with their crosiers borne before them, came out of the quier to the mount.  Then the lord chamberlayn delivered openly for the solemnification of their highness’ marriage, how that the emperor had given unto his son the kingdom of Naples. So that it was thought the queen’s majesty should marry but with a prince, now it was manifested that she should marry with a king; and so proceeded to the espousals: and with a loud voice said that, if there be any man that knoweth any lawful impediment between these two parties, that they should not go together according to the contract concluded between both realmes, that then they should come forth, and they should be heard; or else to proceed to celebration of the said marriage, which was pronounced in English and Latin: and when-it came to the gift of the queen it was asked who should give her. Then the marquis of Winchester, the earls of Derby, Bedford, and Pembroke, gave her highness, in the name of the whole realm.  Then all the people gave a great shout, praying God to send them joy; and, the ring being laid upon the book to be hallowed, the prince laid also upon the said book hand-fulls of fine gold; which the lady Margaret seeing, opened the queen’s purse, and the queen smilingly put up in the same purse. And when they had inclosed their hands, immediately the sword was advanced before the king, by the earl of Pembroke.  This done, the trumpetes sounded ; and thus both returned hand in hand, the sword being borne before them, to their traverses in the quier, the queen going always on the right hand, and there remained until mass was done; at which time wine and sops were hallowed, and gave unto them; and immediately after, Garter king of arms, with the other kinges and herauldes, published and proclaimed their titles in Latin, French, and English; and so they returned to the bishop’s palace both under one canopy, bom by vij. knightes, the queen on the right hand, and their swordes borne before them; and so proceeded to the hall, where they both dined under one cloth of estate.

Once again, in the defense of Mary’s appearance, it seems that she wanted to please her husband during the wedding banquet, because she dressed totally in the opposite of her virtuous dress code.  It is recorded, that Queen Mary dressed on the French fashion style that night. She wore a dress with “rich tissue with a border and wide sleeves, embroidered upon purple satin, set with pearls of our store, lined with purple taffeta”, with a partlet and a high collar, a kirtle of white satin embroidered with silver, and a train.”


For Queen Mary her wedding was as glorious as the day of her coronation.  In her heart, the loneliness was finally buried.  She had a chance to happy and prosperous in every sense.  Now, she just needed a son to fulfill her life and her rule over England.

The Royal Couple seemed to be happy few days later after their wedding.  When they arrived in triumph by barge to the city of Westminster on August 18, and then spent several days in London before heading off to Hampton Court for the remainder of the summer and their honeymoon. All were smiles and demonstrations of joy.  But soon, the pressures of royal duties would show the real face of their marriage.

England was not happy with her marriage. There were divisions among the council and in the people of England. To add more wood to the fire, Spain wanted more control and power over England. The Queen was not willing to provide it, so instead of using force, Spain started to work with the mind of Mary in the way they knew they could manage it better…in religion.  Now that she was a happy wife, it was time to bring England back to the Catholic path and punish the heretics.

In January 1555, the Marian Persecutions Started. The Council and the Parliament were against the persecutions, and some of their members went into exile.  The persecutions were not even liked by Emperor Charles the V, despite the general thought that it was Queen Mary’s Spanish marriage the element that started the religious wrath.  Charles V had experienced himself how unpopular persecutions were and he was very worried that this would place the throne of Mary in danger.

Even with this, there were three powerful groups that worked side by side with Queen Mary in the development of these persecutions:  First, it was Reginald Pole, whose loyalty was firm to the extreme towards the Holy Father in Rome.  Then, there was the group of English Romanists: they never forgot the cruel treatment of the late King Henry the VIII towards the Catholics during the birth of the Reforms and this resentment created a great desire for revenge against all Protestants.  And finally, it was Phillip, Queen Mary’s King Consort and his Spanish delegation.They wanted to destroy as much as the reformist’s power as possible, so they could increase the authority of Phillip in the English Realm.

These groups were the base of the Marian Persecution’s development, but there were more architects on it.  Stephen Gardiner was one of the masterminds in this.  He was the one with the talent to create the fear in the people and in those close to the Queen that were against her desires.  Like Queen Mary, Gardiner was an ardent Catholic through the process of Reformation, and he was eager to return the “Only One and True Faith” back to England.   And finally, there was Queen Mary.  For her, these persecutions meant too much.   Her heart was Catholic. She wanted to recover what she was lost thanks to the reforms and somehow would be a tribute to the memory of her mother.  Besides, there was her husband, reminded her all the time that this acts were necessary to secure her throne and her power.  She wanted to please him, as a Catholic woman she knew that even when she was a Queen Regent, she was a wife too, and she owned obedience to her husband’s desires.

Her decision was firmed, the Marian Persecutions would go as planned, but the Queen said something to her Council that perhaps did not touched too profoundly the lines of her history:  “None may be burnt without some of the Council’s presence to witness and good sermons at the same”.   Certainly, there is a bit of compassion in those words towards her enemies, but considering the brutality of the coming executions, this for sure is not enough to see her as merciful on this matter.

To many, even in the present times, the Marian Persecutions are different from others in the line of English History. This is because  the Marian Persecutions had no political backgrounds. They were just in the name of Religion, and of course by no means would give Mary strength as Queen of England.  The Marian Persecutions were marked with the terrible fact that the offenders would burn at the stake alive, something that was not used often in the past. Terror invaded the souls of everyone, especially those with the sign of Reformers in their foreheads.

While the Marian Persecutions were causing horror, Queen Mary had her own personal battle, not only as Queen, but also as a wife and woman.  She desperately wanted a child. This idea was consuming her mind, and her physicians were very aware of this.  Suddenly, the Queen started to complain about morning sickness and pains in her belly. Her breasts were swollen and she also swore that her period stopped.  After the approval of her doctors who entirely believed in her words and symptoms, the Queen announced that she was pregnant.  Phillip, the Council and the Realm were happy.

At the moment the terror of the persecutions were placed aside, and the bells in all the towers rang for the joyful occasion.  Because of Mary’s age, the fear that the Queen would not survive childbirth made the council to write an official document that in case of the Queen’s death, Phillip would rule during the minority of his child, only that he would not be declared King of England.  This provoked an immense disappointment in Phillip. He felt insulted and diminished.  He blamed Mary for this, and immediately he showed his deception towards her.

Phillip left Mary and went to the Wales with some members of his delegation.  He assured her that he would return for the birth of his child. but the Queen was devastated and heartbroken.  She loved Phillip, and with the storm that she was brewing over England, she wanted his presence by her side more than ever.  But she was also a proud woman, a Queen, and a “future mother”. Like she did in the past when pain, sorrow and bitterness invaded her soul, she kept her head high and swallowed all, and instead to show her tears of rage and sadness. She was determined to concentrate all her feelings in only one thing — the Destruction of all the enemies of the Catholic Faith.  The Queen opened the doors wide open, and the holy army carrying the banners of the Marian Persecutions were finally unleashed.


















Mercy Rivera

Mercy Rivera is a popular short deep introspection fiction and non-fiction history writer composing in both English and Spanish. Mercy is also well known for her beautifully crafted historically themed videos.