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Authors: Anna Whitelock

Mary Tudor

BOOK: Mary Tudor
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Copyright © 2009 by Anna Whitelock

All rights reserved.

Published in the United States by Random House, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.

Originally published by Bloomsbury, London, in 2009.

R
ANDOM
H
OUSE
and colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.

eISBN: 978-0-679-60398-6

www.atrandom.com

v3.1

For Sam, Lily, and Baillie

SHE WAS A KING’S DAUGHTER
,
SHE WAS A KING’S SISTER
,
SHE WAS A KING’S WIFE
.
SHE WAS A QUEEN
,
AND BY THE SAME TITLE A KING ALSO
.


John White, bishop of Winchester
,
in his sermon at Mary’s funeral

CONTENTS
PART ONE
• A K
ING’S
D
AUGHTER

MARY TUDOR’S FAMILY TREE

AUTHOR’S NOTE

M
ARY’S REIGN HAS LONG BEEN CONSIDERED A TERRIBLE FOOTNOTE
in English history, her reputation dominated by the great Elizabethan work of propaganda, John Foxe’s
Actes and Monuments
, which so graphically depicted “the horrible and bloudy time of Queene Mary.” It is striking that nearly 450 years later Foxe’s work continues to have a tenacious hold on the popular imagination. Recently this view found dramatic expression in Shekhar Kapur’s 1998 film
Elizabeth
, which portrays the dark, brutal, and barren world of Mary in contrast to the light, liberating accession of Elizabeth. Mary is maligned as a cruel, obstinant Catholic bigot who burned heretics and married an unpopular Spanish prince. As one early biographer concluded, she had “a fatal lack of that subtle appeal that awakens popular sympathies.”
1

This book seeks to challenge such popular prejudice and acceptance of Mary as one of the most reviled women in English history; to “rebrand” her less as the “grotesque charicature” that is “Bloody Mary” and more as the groundbreaking first crowned queen of England. In the last ten years or so the gap between academic writing and popular understanding has grown ever wider, and this has spurred my desire to write. Recent scholarship has questioned twentieth-century verdicts of Mary’s reign as one of “sterility” and lack of achievements and of Mary as a “profoundly conventional woman.”
2
A number of important revisions can now be made to the pervasive popular view.

Mary’s relationship with her mother is key, and Katherine must be understood not as a weak, rejected wife but as a strong, highly accomplished,
and defiant woman who withstood the attempts of her husband, Henry VIII, to browbeat her into submission and was determined to defend the legitimacy of her marriage and of her daughter’s birth. As one of the most prolific Tudor historians of the twentieth century argued, Mary “had ever been her mother’s daughter rather than her father’s, devoid of political skill, unable to compromise, set only on the wholesale reversal of a generation’s history.”
3
Yet Katherine of Aragon can be understood as a figure of immense courage from whom Mary could learn much. Katherine oversaw Mary’s early education and highly formative upbringing, which was not a prelude to inevitable failure but an apprenticeship for rule. Mary’s Spanish heritage informed her queenship but in a far more positive way than is popularly acknowledged.

BOOK: Mary Tudor
3.61Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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