She is the very first queen regnant of England. Queen Mary I ascended the throne of England on July 24, 1553 and died on November 17, 1558.
Mary is known to most as Bloody Mary but to many contemporaries and to herself she was known as the most unhappy lady in Christendom.
She was born in February 18, 1516, the only surviving child of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon.
It was really important for Henry VIII to have a male heir. His wife couldn’t give him one so he divorced her and married Anne Boleyn in 1533. Anne Boleyn gave birth to Elizabeth, and then Mary became persona non grata in her own home. Anne Boleyn got Mary’s legitimacy revoked by the parliament stripping her of her claim to the throne.
Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn where then beheaded and Henry VIII married Jane Seymour and they had a son, Edward. Jane is kind of a nice step mother and she encouraged Henry to rebuild his relationship with Mary. But Henry wouldn’t do it unless Mary admitted that his marriage to her mother was illegal.
At first Mary doesn’t want to do it but then she’s like, OK, fine. I agree that their marriage was illegal and Henry is the King of the English Church and they made up. Henry put her back in his will, making Mary the next successor in line after Edward.
Henry VIII died in 1547 and Edward took the throne as Edward VI but he got sick and died in 1553 at the age of 15. Edward had put an order before he died that made her cousin, Lady Jane Grey as her successor. But according to Henry’s will, Mary was the true successor and she had the support of the people.
She then deposed Lady Jane Grey and took her seat as the rightful Queen of England. Far from being a despot, Mary was at first beloved and supported by most of England. She was seen as the rightful heir and the majority of the English were still practicing Catholicism or at the very least following similar doctrines.
Mary had her heart set on restoring England to Catholicism which she pursued through the parliament but to sustain the said restoration, she had to produce a valid catholic heir. Unfortunately she was a single and a childless woman at 37 years of age so she hastily arranged a marriage to the catholic King Philip II of Spain.
Ultimately what they settled on was Queen Mary’s Marriage Act passed on April 1554, which basically gave Philip the title of King but as far as ruling went, it would be Mary. She married him for nothing because she never had any kids. All she got from him were some unwanted wars with France and some bad political advice like reinstating the Heresy Laws that allowed a number of Protestants to be executed and 800 to be exiled under her reign.
This act came to define her legacy and earned her the nickname, Bloody Mary. She died on November 17, 1558 of uterine cancer and her half sister, Elizabeth ascended the throne as Queen Elizabeth I.