Biography of Queen of Inglaterra María I Tudor (1516-1558)

maría Tudor, Queen of England.

Queen of England born in the Palace in Greenwich (London) February 18, 1516 and died in London on 17 November 1558.

Biographical synthesis

Daughter of Catherine of Aragon, had a difficult youth because of the repudiation of that one by her husband in 1531, the English King Henry VIII. maría Tudor, then Princess of Wales, was apart from the succession to the throne in favour of other children of the monarch, and marginalized in the Court to keep in Catholicism when he/she created the Church of England (see Anglicanism). Although his father would have up to five more wives, it was he/she who would do usually charge of the children that he/she would be taking. One of them was the new King Eduardo VI (since 1547), in whose reign María Tudor lived under constant suspicion, as a Catholic and as a possible candidate for the throne. To die prematurely his brother in 1553 was crowned Queen of England as María I after a brief struggle with the Protestant Jeanne Grey, heir according to the testament of Eduardo VI (in fact designated by pressure from the Duke of Northumberland). Popular in a home, her marriage with the Prince and then Spanish King Felipe II and their harsh persecution of Protestants, both in order to restore Catholicism in England, and finally the loss of Calais to the French, originated you the resentment of a large part of the population. Thus, when died childless in 1558, he/she left the throne to her sister Elizabeth I, there was no just resistance to this directed the country definitively toward Protestantism.

María Tudor difficult youth: the marriages of his father Enrique VIII

It was the daughter of the English King Enrique VIII Tudor and Catherine of Aragon (daughter of the Catholic monarchs), the only descendant who survived children taken by both: a male born in 1511 lived a few months, and others that came after did not pass the month for frustration of Enrique VIII. This, however, would have more children, including one male, with others of their successive women. At birth, his parents lived in perfect harmony, being baptised with the name of María in honor of the King's little sister. It was just two years when he/she thought for the first time in their future marriage, discussed the option of marrying her dolphin, Francisco (son of Francisco I). It had a careful education, probably under the influence of his mother, who in turn had been carefully educated by Isabella against what was the custom of the time, even to princesses. Thus, it had good tutors that facilitated her study of the writings of humanists of the stature of Thomas Linacre and Tomás MoroEnglish, Dutch Erasmus of Rotterdam and the Spanish Luis Vives. He/She learned several languages (latin, French and Spanish and understand Italian), embroidery, singing (it was endowed in general for music) and horseback riding.

1518 Enrique VIII began to distance himself from his wife by the absence of male children, taking a concubine, Elizabeth Blount, given by a natural son named Enrique. Henry VIII not only legitimized it and Duke of Richmond and Somerset did, they sought to place it ahead of María in the succession to the throne. However, in 1525 María was ultimately declared Princess of Wales and established in the castle of Ludlow (on the Welsh border, Shropshire County), the habitual residence of the heirs of the English Crown. It was then 9 years old. In 1522 there had been a commitment to marry her when he/she was of age with his cousin the Emperor and King of Spain Carlos V, but this married Isabella of Portugalin 1526.

This same year, Enrique VIII, in love with Anne Boleyn and eager to have a legitimate son, said his intention to divorce Catalina to be considered incestuous, his marriage having been he/she previously married his brother mayor Arturo (died 1503). This converted to María in illegitimate daughter, excluded it automatically from the throne. In 1531 Catalina was abandoned permanently, marrying the King again in January 1533 and his previous marriage declared null in March. María was taken to Richmond (today a district of London), and thus separated from his mother, who was confined in the castle of Kimbolton (to the North of London, County of Cambridgeshire), without probably allowed to see it already, not even bid.

Her half-sister, Isabel was born in September. María, who had seen reduced his rank in the Court (not could use already the title of Princess), was stubborn and not submitted, by writing a letter which stated legitimate daughter of a legitimate marriage to his father. In December he/she was moved to the residence of the small Isabel in Hatfield (Hertfordshire), and placed under the authority of an aunt of Ana Bolena. When the King demanded of all his subjects the oath of the Act of supremacy, which was recognized head of the Church of England, the Catholic María feared for his life (not lend it was punished with death) and he/she thought of escape, but was reassured by the Ambassador of Carlos V in England, Eustace Chapuys. His mother died in January 1536, and in may, Ana Bolena was arrested and executed; her marriage to the King was annulled (for can this marriage with Joan Seymour) and Princess Isabel declared, as María, illegitimate. Another son of the King, Enrique, had died shortly before. Henry VIII, by Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, finally sought the signature of María to the Act of supremacy and the recognition of his illegitimacy, unsuccessfully at first; but strong pressures made it finally sign on June 15 (then wrote a letter stating that it had signed required).

The new Queen, Juana Seymour, tried to reconcile Enrique VIII with María, thus returning to see his father after five years. The Prince Eduardo was born in October 1537 (her mother died a few days later), which did not drawback to recognize legitimate heir to be dead so his mother as Ana Bolena; He/She herself was her godmother. Did not see with good eyes the dissolution of the monastic orders in England, which was held this year-1540. Although there were several candidates, his father rejected his marriage for fear that the chosen, which necessarily had to be a foreign Prince, claims on behalf of María the English Crown. He/She was thus devoted to books, music, hunting and taking care of Isabel (appreciated that sincerely but then different ideas each distanced them) and Eduardo.

In January of 1540 his father remarried for the fourth time with Anne of Cleves to strengthen its alliance with the Protestant German princes; little graceful, Enrique VIII had no scruple in undo this link six months later to join with Catherine Howard, niece of the Duke of Norfolk. Catalina was four years younger than María Tudor and did not take well to her; When the relationships began to be more soft Catalina was accused of infidelity and also executed in 1542. Despite his marital failings, in 1543 King would marry Catherine Parrfor the last time. This intelligent and cultured, yes liked to María, who now most frequented the Court, and befriended her. Sick since 1544, Enrique VIII died in January 1547. The younger brother of María, Eduardo, was crowned King as Eduardo VI.

A Princess Catholic in Protestant Eduardo VI England

The new King was then nine years old, so it served as regent for his uncle Eduardo Seymour. Also with it had been near María, but Protestant reforms introduced (marriage of the clergy, new religious liturgy) they spoiled the relationship, and in the following years he/she rarely saw his brother. After some rebellions in the North and South ends of the country, which blamed the new religion of the social and economic ills, María was suspected of having treated the ringleaders. It was true that it protected in general to the Catholics of the country, but it had not had to part with the rebels. The threats of seizure of the imperial Ambassador released from these difficulties. In any case, Eduardo VI showed greater appreciation for her other sister Elizabeth, Protestant as María, for its part, was submissive to his brother the King except in matters of religion, and he/she continued celebrating the Catholic mass at home despite warning calls.

His situation was made more difficult when in 1549 Eduardo Seymour was jailed and was appointed Regent in place to John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, which completely dominated the young Monarch (eleven years). But in 1552 Eduardo VI became ill of smallpox, and although he/she recovered, in 1553 contracted tuberculosis. María feared that, when his brother died suddenly, he/she was killed before his supporters could get up. For its part, the Duke of Northumberland saw the possible enthronement of María a great danger to the English Protestantism. Thus, he/she convinced the King of the need to amend your will to avoid the return to Catholicism. He/She sidestepped to María and Isabel by illegitimate and declared heir to a distant relative, Juana Grey, grandniece of Enrique VIII, who also married a son of the Regent, Guilford Dudley, in May and was a Protestant. The King and Juana Grey, fifteen-year-old died in July, was forced to accept the Crown by his father-in-law, thus moving to London. Before the end of the month would be how most of the country was put on the part of María.

María I Tudor, Queen of England

Initially as popular as her mother, who had been much loved even after having been repudiated by Enrique VIII, María I Tudor was proclaimed Queen in London on 19 July, amidst the cheers of the crowd. He/She ordered shut to Northumberland in the Tower of London and then sent him to run. But in religious matters was prudent in these first moments, just legalizing the Catholic worship: a symbol that would allow burial of Eduardo VI in Westminster Abbey, was celebrating with a Protestant profession. Crowned Queen on October 1, his first act was to re-declare legal marriage between their parents. However, to manifest their intention of marriage with his cousin the Prince Felipe de España (widower of María Manuela of Portugal from 1545), began to lose popular support, which was suspicious of a stranger, like Parliament itself. Indeed, in January 1554, the Protestant Thomas Wyatt led an uprising which took Rochester and camped on the outskirts of London. María I behaved courageously, and as he/she still enjoyed the support of Londoners, the coup attempt failed, and Wyatt filed and delivered in February. The rebellion they had involved relatives of Juana Grey, so he/she and her father also were executed then.

Despite this warning, the Queen, not warned that Protestantism had taken root in England, went ahead with their plans, because its main goal was always the restoration of Catholicism. The prenuptial expressly specified that the Spanish directors of Felipe could not interfere in English Affairs, or England would be forced to fight the enemies of Spain (i.e. France). The Prince arrived in the country in July of that year and the wedding was held at the Cathedral of Winchester the 25th of the same month. Felipe was 26 years old and María Tudor 37; This greater therefore in more than ten years and somewhat aged, of small stature, redhead, grey eyes and clear complexion (the Flemish painter Antonio Moro portrayed it this year), soon enamoraría of her young husband, slim, blonde, eyes blue and good presence in general, although this was always a marriage of State. However this affection, usually only accepted the advice of her husband when he/she agreed with his opinion. In November the Queen seemed to be pregnant, but it was a swelling of belly and the news was denied in may 1555.

He had started secret negotiations with the Pope Julius III immediately after being elevated to the throne, which resulted in the sending of a Pontifical legacy, English Cardinal Reginald Pole, who had had to leave the country in 1541 and take refuge in Rome, and who would be appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in November 1555. Still not returned to England to papal obedience to not create tensions; on the other hand, if returned goods confiscated from some religious orders. From February 1555 he/she acted with greater forcefulness and began to burn at the stake to some Protestant leaders as John Hooper, Bishop of Gloucester, Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London, or Hugh Latimer, Bishop of Worcester (Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, would be executed in the same way in November of the same year). The effect of these sentences (some 300 executions) was counter-productive, because people saw in them a few martyrs; This would be the origin of the nickname of María I, the Bloodroot ('Bloody Mary'), which on the other hand was at odds with usual gracious behavior. He/She also sent spies to the places where they had taken refuge English Protestants, such as Denmark, and forbade the possession of non-Catholic religious books under penalty of death. The Queen soon warned that these measures only created resentment and inciting rebellion, so he/she put his hopes in fathering an heir who continue the country converting to Catholicism.

However, in August of that year Felipe abandononado had the country in the direction of Flanders to the abdication of his father the Emperor Carlos V. After a reasonable wait time, María I urged her husband who returned as soon as possible; This wouldn't do, already King Felipe II, until March of 1557. Once there, did everything possible to get the entrance of England into the war against France, which had allied itself with the new Pope Paulo IV against the Habsburgs. The queen relented and sent her husband a considerable amount of money and the promise of help military naval and land (if the French attacked the Netherlands). In June declared war on France and the month following Felipe II left the country, again this time definitely; María would not already see it. The English army landed on the strategic place of Calais, which dominated the passage of the channel, and that was in their power from more than two centuries ago. In January of 1558, the French attacked by surprise and took the city, which demoralized the British. This was not the only misfortune to María Tudor: another possible pregnancy was equally debunked; There was considerable tension in the Government, and poor harvests a flu epidemic had joined.

maría Tudor, Queen of England. Antonio Moro. Museo del Prado. Madrid.

As the year progressed his health worsened, and it became necessary to think about succession; ruled out her husband, who would have not been accepted in any way by the country, preferences fell on her sister Elizabeth. Born mistrust between the two sisters soon after the coronation of María, this had enabled him to get away from the Court, but in March 1554 arrested it accused of complicity with the rebel Thomas Wyatt, although it freed it by checking his innocence. While he/she was a potential threat to her, Isabel enjoyed great popularity and therefore respected his life, confining it simply at home. Would not allow his return to the Court until April 1555, by insistence of Felipe II, who preferred as heir to the English throne rather than the Scottish Queen Isabel María Estuardo, Catholic but too close to France for being promised by the Francisco Dolphin (Francisco IIof France). Thus, curiously, the Protestant Elizabeth could be Queen thanks to first was María I, Catholic, but that protected the rights of his sister, and that the Catholic King of Spain decided in their favor. In early November it was testament to designating it successor in the hope that abandon Protestantism; a few days later he/she died at the age of 42. He/She was buried in Westminster Abbey, in a grave in which also the remains of Isabel I would be deposited later.

Links on the Internet ; Page with an extensive biography, with abundant images, María I Tudor (in English).


Elizabeth and Mary Tudor. Brookfield: Ashgate, 2000.

LAHOZ, J. Waiting long for María Tudor. Zaragoza: View publishers, 2001.

LLANOS and TORRIGLIA: F. de. María I of England, would the Bloodroot?, Queen of Spain. Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, 1946.

LOADES, D.M. Mary Tudor: a life. Oxford: Blackwell, 1992.

LOADES, D.M. The reign of Mary Tudor: politics, government and religion in England, 1553-58. London: Longmans, 1991.

MARSHALL, R.K. Mary I. London: National Portrait are, 1993.

MATTINGLY, G. Catalina de Aragon. Madrid: Word, 1998.

NADAL, S. The four women of Felipe II. Barcelona: Juventud, 1971.

PRESCOTT, H.F.M. Spanish Tudor: the life of Bloody Mary. London: Constable, 1940.

WALDMAN, M. The Lady Mary: a biography of Mary Tudor, 1516-1558. London: Collins, 1972.