Author(s): Melita Thomas
History | No Category
Mary Tudor has always been known as "Bloody Mary," named by later Protestant chroniclers who vilified her for attempting to re-impose Roman Catholicism in England. Although a more nuanced picture of the first queen regnant has since emerged, she is still depicted as a tragic figure, isolated after the annulment of her parents' marriage and rescued from obscurity by Katherine Parr. Although Henry doted on Mary, her determination to side with her mother hurt him as a father and damaged perceptions of him as a monarch. However, once Mary had been pressured into compliance, Henry reverted to being a loving father and Mary played an important role in court life. As Melita Thomas points out, Mary was a gambler--and not just with cards. Later, she would risk all to gain the throne. As a young girl of just 17 she made the first throw of the dice, defiantly maintaining her claim to be Henry's legitimate daughter against the determined attempts of Anne Boleyn and the king to break her spirit.