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|biographies of Queen Mary I
Written by Nikki N
(9/3/2013 11:07 p.m.)
I've recently been reading two biographies sympathetic to Queen Mary I of England -- "The Myth of Bloody Mary" by Linda Porter and "Mary Tudor, Princess, Bastard, Queen" by Anna Whitelock. I've long been sympathetic to Mary I, she was very cruelly treated in her teenaged years by her father and Anne Boleyn -- degraded and humiliated from a royal princess into a lowly servant to her own little half-sister. Quite Cinderella-like actually, unfortunately real-life Cinderellas don't grow up to be all sweetness and forgivingness, unlike the fairy tale, they grow up scarred, embittered and unhappy, abused children often grow up to become abusers themselves. Mary is often remembered only for the religious persecution that took place during her reign, yet her biography show that there is so much more to her than that. And religious persecution took place everywhere in Europe in that era, which each side persecuting the other, whichever happened to be in power. The Spanish Inquisition against non-Catholics was even worse than that which took place under Mary. Many of the victims under Mary were the result of over-zealous local officials rather than her personal victims. It was Henry VIII who was a bloody king who executed personal enemies who stood in his way, including two of his six wives (and his sixth wife almost became another victim). Mary successfully fought for her right to the throne when her brother disinherited both his sisters, claiming that both Mary and Elizabeth were bastards. If not for Mary's success, Elizabeth would not have become queen either. And Mary and Elizabeth are buried in the same tomb inscribed "Partners both in throne and grave, here rest we, two sisters, Elizabeth and Mary, in the hope of one resurrection".
Has anyone else read either of these books? I had previously read a novelized account by Jean Plaidy, "In the Shadow of the Crown. I think it is unfortunate that England's first queen regnant should be so vilified -- her troubles in her teenaged years were the result of Henry VIII's misogyny and his desire to get a male heir and prevent female succession. There has been over-romanticizations of Anne Boleyn portraying her as a strong woman and proto-feminist, but to me Anne was an anti-feminist who fuelled Henry's desire for a son and male heir.
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