1st October 1553 – Coronation of Mary I

Mary IThis day in history, 1st October 1553, was a very important day in history because England’s first crowned queen regnant, i.e. a queen ruling in her own right, was crowned at Westminster Abbey.

Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, became England’s first queen and although many people believe that her reign was one of failure and bloodshed, she achieved much in her short reign and I do believe that she paved the way for Elizabeth I.

You can read all about her coronation in my article over at The Elizabeth Files – see “The Coronation of Mary I” – and those of you interested in finding out about the real Mary behind the “Bloody Mary” label may enjoy:-

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11 thoughts on “1st October 1553 – Coronation of Mary I”
  1. I think Mary was, like all the Tudors strong, stubborn, proud and highly intellegent. She did what she thought was right for her to do. I almost equally like her like I like Elizabeth.
    Best wishes to your excellent, educational website.

  2. Although I think Mary’s coronation must have been a triumph for her, it must have come with a bitter-sweet feeling, it had been a hard road she’d travelled to reach that final destination, but at a cost.
    I always seem to think that although she felt the euphoria of becoming Queen Regnant, she never achieved true happiness in her achievement..There alway seemed to be something missing for her, a kind of hollow victory. I don’t mean it in an unkind way, I honestly feel real sorrow for her
    On that journey to the throne she had become a cynical, emotionally starved woman, forever having to watch her back, mistrusting all of those around her and never feeling safe or love. This emotional neglected followed her even in her marriage, though she felt a great love for Philip, he never felt it for her. I think she had become a hard woman to love and relate to,which was a great pity, and no fault of her own.
    As we all know her sister too went through pretty much the same experiences, and of course the same insecurities and threats continued for her with Mary on the throne, but there was something more radiant about Elizabeth’s sucession, she looked more to the positive, the future of her new life and position, and tried to leave the past behind.
    I feel Mary’s rule was spent to much on trying to rectify the wrongs done to her (and her mother’s) in the past, which was impossible. It cast a dark cloud over her reign, even when she did good, and it seems that only the negative stands out about this first Queen’s reign. Poor Mary, what a lonely lady she must have been, even amidst that large court full of people.

  3. I completely agree with you – I hate how she’s always stereotyped as being evil and cruel , when actually she was a strong and determined woman who had a desperately tragic life and was deprived of her mother and neglected by her father. I think that without her sister, Elizabeth could not have become the Queen she was, as she learned a lot from Mary’s mistakes.

  4. Although both Mary and Elizabeth had their mothers “disposed” of by their father and were favored then declared illegitimate by their father, Mary, endured it almost 20 years more that Elizabeth did. Mary saw her mother’s heart broken by her father, Elizabeth knew her father had betrayed her mother but didn’t “see” it for herself. Mary knew what it was like to be a princess, then get demoted to a Lady. Elizabeth had it happen when when was very young, so one wonders what she actually remembers about it. Mary saw the young “bluff” Hal her father was and what he eventually turned into, Elizabeth didn’t get to see that man. But you do have to give it to Mary-she DID have the political acumen to strike when the iron was hot, ie when Lady Jane Grey came to the throne. I’d like to think that she thought she had nothing else to lose by doing so, so she went for it.
    I like this site and “The Anne Boleyn Files”. It shows (me, anyway) that these historical figures were not 2 dimensional, cardboard cutouts but real, complicated people with messy lives, messy situations, and sometimes messy outcomes. But in large and small ways, they seem to triumph. Thanks, Claire.

  5. I agree that Mary did suffer a longer period of her father’s ill-treatment, but I don’t think this lessens the impact the same treatment would have on Elizabeth because it was less.
    Elizabeth only knew her mother for a short while but there would have been a bond, and a feeling of loss, underlined by the fact it was taboo to speak of her. Though she did not witness Anne’s downfall, or understand the complexity of it, Elizabeth would have heard the whispers and gossiping around her as she grew,about the horrendous crimes Anne was accused of, and no doubt felt great shame and guilt.. the sins of our parents and all that.
    Elizabeth was a very bright, precocious child who would have noticed that she was no longer treated in the same manner as before,and wasn’t cared for adequately even in her lesser position, her governess had to write to Cromwell asking for new clothes as she grew.
    As for her father’s many personas, I am sure she would have witnessed these too, after all he went through 4 more wives after Anne. She would have seen his generous, kind side, though rare, and his cruel, tyrannical side with the destruction it caused in its wake. She tried her hardest to please him with her learning and abilities, and knew that there were many times he could not bear the sight of her, because of who her mother was, and being fearful of his displeasure which may appear for no reason when in his presence.
    Both Mary and Elizabeth got some respite from this treatment when Catherine Parr brought them together as a family, and some under the reign of Edward, but this came to an end for Elizabeth when Mary became Queen. She must have felt adject fear for her life when her sister placed her in the Tower, were she was harshly questioned about her believes and loyalty. Not even her father had done that, to either of them.
    This in my mind seem to esculate when Mary married and realized there would be no children of her own, and Mary could see that the Boleyn wh*re’s child, who she saw as the cause of all her troubles, would inherit the crown.
    I suppose in the end, the complex personality of individuals deal with bad experiences either in the negative, and become more consumed by them, as I feel Mary did, or in the positive and use them to their advantage and make a better future, as Elizabeth did. Like I said just my view of how I see the ladies and their personalities, not of much consequence, but it is nice to share and read different oppinions, variety is the spice of life, as they say, and theres plenty of that in the Tudor era to keep us going forever and a day…

  6. I agree with the majority of your post, but wanted to point out that, even as young as she was, Elizabeth did indeed grasp her change in status. She is said to have asked her governor, “How haps it, governor? Yesterday ‘My Lady Princess’ and today but ‘My Lady Elizabeth’?” The Tudors were an intelligent bunch, and she was no exception.

    1. Hi Julie,
      Lady Jane Grey was indeed England’s first queen regnant but she was never crowned, she didn’t get chance to be. That’s why I put “crowned queen regnant”. I feel very strongly that Lady Jane Grey should be called Queen Jane, I find it annoying that she’s not on my son’s wooden ruler which has a list of English monarchs.

      1. You wouldn’t believe how strongly some people feel about this, especially those who don’t want her counted as queen: even compromising on “de facto” queen may cause trouble. I once explained to someone that historians don’t use the word “interregnum” for the gap between Edward and Mary, so Jane was evidently de facto queen as there was an administration working in her name in place. I’ve seen an Englishman with a history degree getting terribly exited about this; Germans and Italians have no problems with their countless anti-popes and anti-kings: No one in Germany would ask whether Frederick II was the legit king or Otto IV, or Friedrich von Schwaben, who was murdered in between; if you have two or three popes and kings at the same time, you don’t care … I think it has to do with the military outcome in each case: the winner is always right. Period. Let’s remember, it’s all long ago and they are all long dead, and it’s sad and not very funny if people get so acrimonious about such things. It’s so unnecessary!

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