8 July 1553 – Mary declares herself Queen at Kenninghall

Jul8,2015 #Mary I

Mary I by Antonis Mor
Mary I by Antonis Mor
On Saturday 8th July 1553 at her home, Kenninghall in Norfolk, Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII, declared herself Queen following news of King Edward VI’s death.

Mary had heard the news of her half-brother’s death from goldsmith Robert Reyns on 7th July, while she was staying with Lady Burgh at Euston Hall, near Thetford.

On 8th July 1553, Mary travelled home to Kenninghall, her estate in Norfolk, where her physician, Thomas Hughes, confirmed that news of the King’s death was true. Mary gathered together her loyal household and informed them of Edward VI’s death, going on to tell them that “the right to the crown of England of England had therefore descended to her by divine and by human law”. Mary’s household reacted by cheering and then they “proclaimed their dearest princess Mary as queen of England.”

On 9th July 1553, Mary wrote to the Privy Council stating her claim to the throne and demanding their allegiance. However, Edward VI’s ‘devise for the succession’ had named Lady Jane Grey as his successor.

Also on this day in history…

  • 1503 – Margaret Tudor said farewell to her father, Henry VII, and set off to Edinburgh to marry James IV. Anne Boleyn’s father, Thomas Boleyn, was one of the men who accompanied her. Click here to read more about this.
  • 1549 – The beginning of Kett’s Rebellion in Norfolk. Click here to read more about this.

Notes and Sources

  • Mary Tudor: The First Queen, Linda Porter, p195-196.
  • Actes and Monuments, Book X, John Foxe – see John Foxe link

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7 thoughts on “8 July 1553 – Mary declares herself Queen at Kenninghall”
  1. Never seen that painting of Mary before and I think her dress is lovely, it’s a shade of light blue with gold emblems, reminds me of a coat dress I had once which I bought from Monsoon, that was pale blue with gold flowers, she looks very regal in it, and she’s got a good figure, neither Mary or Elizabeth grew fat like Henry, Mary started of her reign with much hope like her father did, she in all fairness to her meant well and she had the people behind her even the Protestants, but she made the terrible mistake of marrying Philip and then began persecuting the Protestants and then she lost the love of the people, I think she was under Philips influence here, it’s a pity her reign is remembered with terror as she was said to be a kindly woman but the experiences of her youth I think hardened her and left her without pity, she also viewed Elizabeth with suspicion and had her incarcerated in the Tower due to the Wyatt affair and then kept under house arrest for some time, Elizabeth also had an unhappy insecure childhood but she managed to put it behind her.

    1. To Christine

      My favorite professor in history often said that people *never* make mistakes. It is only after the result was different than their aim, they notice that they made a mistake. Because a mistake is made unintentionally, never on purpose, it is futile to condemn for them. Instead, one must try to understand how they see the situation where they lived in.

      In Mary’s case, however, what you regard her mistakes, was not mistakes even afterwards from her POV. She was a Catholic ruler, so she acted like one against people she considered heretics. She would probably done the same even if she had had the most happy childhood. What was essential was her father and brother’s religion policy.

      If she had lived longer and succeeded by her son or another Catholic, her reputation would have been quite different. Because she was succeeded by a Protestant, she was vilified more than she deserved.

      1. No I don’t think so Hannele, I think she was vilified because she was a woman not because she was Catholic, women are supposed to be more gentle and forgiving not bloodthirsty, it is true that the law decreed that heretics be burnt but she seemed to do so with a vengeance, pregnant women or old people were not exempt either, when one woman gave birth at the stake the executioner even through the baby into the fire, did he think he would go to heaven, was his faith the right one then that he could condemn an innocent baby to the flames? I feel sorry for Mary as I have said before for her unhappy relationship with her father and how her mother was treated, but I can understand why she was called ‘Bloody’.

        1. I disagree, Christine.

          You say that women in her age (Tudor, I mean, not her actual age) were all expected to be kind and gentle, however Anne Boleyn most certainly wasn’t, and she went far. Henry the Eighth married her, knowing full well how ruthless and ambitious she was, but still “loved” her all the same, despite the fact that he also used to “love” Anne’s kind sister, Mary Boleyn (The Other Boleyn Girl).

          Also, Elizabeth was far from kind and gentle, but still, she too went far, and her reign was not remembered as a particularly feared or bloody time period. That’s because she wasn’t fearsome or exceptionally bloody. However, she did, of course, punish those who deserved it and made intimidating examples of those who betrayed her.

          My point is that her reign was exceptionally cruel. She did a lot of unnecessary executions and such, whereas Elizabeth was far more logical. And yes, you’re right in the fact that women were often seen as inferior, however, Elizabeth saw and noticed that, hence why she didn’t marry. She knew she could’t even trust her “secret” love to not try to overpower her and steal her throne, and Mary didn’t notice this.

          I believe that Elizabeth was a much better Queen than Mary, as she ruled with an iron fist as well, but not a cruel iron fist. I believe that Mary was unnecesarily cruel.

  2. I think that the reason that Mary was unable to overcome her horrific treatment at the hands of Henry VIII was because she was old enough to know what was going on. Elizabeth was not even three years old when her mother was executed. In any case, Mary was a victim of outrageous child abuse by her father.

  3. And we all backed the wrong choice, Lady Jane Grey, and thus half my family lost their heads and ended up in America. Yeah!!!!

  4. How fascinating. Thank you. Coincidence that at this moment I am reading all about Mary she has just married. Thrilling little book.

    Isle of Wight

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