18 February 1516 – The birth of Queen Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon
Posted By Claire on February 18, 2023
On this day in Tudor history, Queen Catherine of Aragon, first wife of King Henry VIII, gave birth to a healthy baby girl, a little girl who would grow up to be Queen Mary I, England’s first official queen regnant.
Mary was the result of Catherine of Aragon’s fifth pregnancy. You can click here to read more about Catherine of Aragon’s pregnancies, and those of her successor, Anne Boleyn.
Here is my video on the birth of Mary I:
1 thought on “18 February 1516 – The birth of Queen Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon”
I have always found Queen Mary a bit of an enigma, on the one hand she showed great mercy to those who plotted the coup to put Jane Grey on the throne, yet she persecuted her so called heretic subjects with a vengeance, she was known to be popular amongst her servants and had several close friendships throughout her life, she also was very sympathetic to those less fortunate and would visit the poor with food and medicine, she was popular amongst her fathers subjects and most of the nation defended her right as true princess of England when her father sought to repudiate her and her mother, yet by the time she breathed her last the tide of love and sympathy had turned against her, she had not been particularly kind to her younger half sister whose only crime really was to be the daughter of Anne Boleyn, the treatment Elizabeth received wounded her and was something she never forgave Mary for, she had married a foreigner- worse a Spaniard whose coming perturbed many who recalled the horror of the inquisition, she then introduced the heresy laws and here we hear some truly horrific stories, old and young sick and infirm they were all sacrificed merely to appease their queens bittter hatred towards the new religion, there is the tale of a pregnant woman who gave birth whilst at the stake and her innocent babe was thrown heartlessly onto the flames, it is these events that blighted Mary’s reign, once the darling of her fathers court born to the iconic King Henry V111 and his saintly nun like queen the Spanish princess from Aragon, she had her golden future mapped out for her, she was the only child born of their long marriage who survived, bright precious and charming she was a child to be proud of, as she grew older she delighted everyone with her musical prowess and her aptitude for learning, her looks also we’re praised upon she was said to have a lovely complexion as a teenager, and she was small and lithe, she was being prepared for queenship but King Henry was not satisfied more than anything he wanted a son, his eyes strayed elsewhere, psychological damage I believe moulded Mary into the queen she later became, her unhappy life when she rebelled against her father was in part, due to her own making, harangued and bullied into recognising her father as head of his new church and also the invalidity of his marriage to her mother broke her, humiliated by her stepmothers relations whilst at Hatfield and branded a bastard all these events in her young life stole her innocence, when she came to the throne she was an old soul, yet her defiance in support of her mother is also to be admired, she forgave Jane Greys parents and only after the Wyatt rebellion did Grey lose his life along with his tragic daughter and husband, she also abolished the cruel law where insane people were made punishable for their crimes, yes in her reign she did achieve some good things, she was also brave like both parents and the time where she rode through the London streets with her men and ladies bearing her rosary was an act of rebellion against her brother the boy king Edward, when she rallied her troops and marched to meet those of the Duke of Northumberland that also shows great courage and leadership, and it is to her credit that the throne passed peacefully to Elizabeth without bloodshed, Mary whatever may be said about her was capable of great things and acts of mercy, sadly she really is known for the bloody fires of Smithfield and for the only monarch to lose Calais which had been in English hands for centuries, her sad ending in a way reflected her life, it was said the London crowds were overcome with glee at her passing, and even in death she is hidden away, her tomb is eclipsed by her sister Elizabeth’s who reign over shadows hers, maybe Mary with the hindsight of her fathers reign, thought it was better as a monarch to be feared more then loved, it was her tragedy that she died relatively young before she could achieve so much more, and maybe restore some of the love of her subjects.