Princess Mary Tudor

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Princess Mary Tudor played by Sarah Bolger (Seasons 2,3 & 4) & Bláthnaid McKeown (Season 1)
Motto:"Veritas filia temporis" meaning Truth, the daughter of time

80px|Princess Mary Tudor - The Tudors Wiki
born Feb 18, 1516 - died Nov 17, 1558
crowned: July 19, 1553 (aged 37)
Character's backstory:The only surviving child of Queen Katherine of Aragon & King Henry VIII. If she had been born a boy, history could have been so different. As it was, she started out as a much doted on child, only to be relegated to illegitimacy when her father decided to annul the marriage with her mother. Despite health problems she was a precocious child who was well educated in Greek, science and music. Her mother consulted the advice of the humanist Juan Luis Vives and instructed her in latin herself. When she was just two years old she was betrothed to the Dauphin of France but this was repudiated 3 years later. At 6 years old she was promised to Charles V (22 years old) but that too was broken a few years later. When Mary was nine years old, her father gave her her own court at Ludlow Castle in Wales and she was titled ' the Princess of Wales'.
"Mary was a high-spirited girl, and undoubtedly popular. All Europe looked upon her at that time as the only legitimate child of her father, but her father himself compelled her to disown the title and pass an unjust stigma on her own birth and her mother's good name. Nevertheless Henry was now reconciled to her, and gave her a household in some degree suitable to her rank. During the rest of the reign we hear little about her except in connexion with a number of new marriage projects taken up and abandoned successively, one of which, to the count palatine, Duke Philip of Bavaria, was specially repugnant to her in the matter of religion... Although she was still treated as of illegitimate birth, it was believed that the king, having obtained from parliament the extraordinary power to dispose of the crown by will, would restore her to her place in the succession, and three years before his death she was so restored by statute, but still under conditions to be regulated by her father's will." ~Luminarium encylcopedia

Gentility: Royal House of Tudor, granddaughter of King Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castille

Position: Princess of Wales (later revoked and retitled as Lady Mary) and much later - Queen of England and Ireland, Queen Consort of Aragon, Castile and Naples, Queen Consort of the Spanish Netherlands

Personality type: A precocious child and doted on by her father, who bragged that "this child never cries". The annulment of her parent's marriage and the birth of her half sister & brother left her emotionally insecure for the rest of her life.

Signature look:
"low stature, with a red and white complexion, and very thin; her eyes are white and large, and her hair reddish; her face is round, with a nose rather low and wide; and were not her age on the decline she might be called handsome rather than the contrary". ~ an ambassador's description from her first year on the throne.

Endearing trait(s): In her teens and younger years she is said to have been kind. Even as an adult she is said to have cared for and loved her brother and sister. Despite being from different mothers, she loved Edward as a son and full brother, and took care for Elizabeth and other children, substituting as their mother. She was intelligent, extremely bright, cunning, had a passion for music, loved to read and learned Latin, Spanish, English, French and other languages. She never gave up on religion or turned her back on her beliefs. Even when she was told she would be killed, she never cried, backed down, or screamed and she defied everybody until the bitter end.

Annoying trait(s): Mary never talked back or had the courage to go against her father, unlike her mother. Katherine knew him well enough not to defy him with a sharp tongue like Anne Boleyn, but by steady resistance. Some historians argue Mary's lack of rebelliousness could be because of her pious upbringing. While Katherine grew up in battle and in games of politics, Mary was sheltered from this until too late.

Scandal(s): Marian Persecutions, marriage to Prince Phillip of Spain, execution of Lady Jane Grey

"The memory of no English sovereign has been so execrated as that of Mary Tudor. For generations after her death her name, with its horrid epithet clinging round it like the shirt of Nessus, was a bugbear in thousands of Protestant homes. It is true that nearly 300 persons were burnt at the stake in her short reign. But she herself was more inclined to mercy than almost any of her predecessors on the throne. Stubbs speaks of her father; holocausts of victims. The persecution of Papists under Edward was not less rigorous than that of Protestants under Mary. When her record is compared with that of Philip of Spain, with his Council of Blood in the Netherlands, or of Charles IX. in France, she appears as an apostle of toleration. Why, then, has her memory been covered through centuries with scorn and obloquy ?"
~ James Anthony Froude

Princess/Lady Mary Tudor as portrayed by Sarah Bolger
Sarah Bolger as Mary
Season 2/3/4

Princess Mary Tudor as played by Blathnaid McKeown
Bláthnaid McKeown
Season 1
Mary´s Signature
"the greatest pearl in the kingdom."
- King Henry VIII

Later she would be called:
Bloody Mary

see : How Bloody was Mary?]

While Mary has often been described as a gentle merciful person, because of the brutality of her reign, although no more brutal than those of many European monarchs, history remembers her as "bloody Mary".
~ Caroline Meyer

" ...The daughters of Henry VIII could hardly be more different; they were their mothers' daughters, both physically and in terms of their characters. Mary was straightforward, pious, impressively brave and decisive in a crisis, but not especially bright, and she spent her adult life trying to undo the wrong done to Catherine of Aragon and her mother's Catholic world. ... Mary's teenage experience of her mother's downfall after 1530 had been one of total loss and humiliation, after a childhood of privilege and honour."
~ Reformation by Diarmid MacCulloch

She was a king's daughter,she was a king's sister, she was a king's wife: she was a queen,and by the same title a king also...authorities of scripture she was able to allege...such was her knowledge as well as virtue: neither ever was there a prince on earth who had more of both
(the Bishop of Winchester in his sermon for Mary's funeral)

Mary would “pass her time most seasons at her virginals or other instruments musical, so that the same be not too much and without fatigation or weariness […] at other seasons to draw. (Queen Katherine of Aragon's quote about her daughter Princess Mary)

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Family members:

Father: King Henry VIII
Mother: Queen Katherine of Aragon
Paternal Grandfather: Henry VII Tudor
Paternal Grandmother: Elizabeth of York
Maternal Grandfather: Ferdinand II of Aragon
Maternal Grandmother: Isabella of Castile
Half-Sister: Princess Elizabeth Tudor
Half-Brother: Prince Edward Tudor
Half-Brother: Henry Fitzroy
Godfather: Cardinal Wolsey

Relationship with her siblings:
At first she got along well with the king's other children. As Princess Elizabeth and Prince Edward grew up, however, their Protestant views put them at odds with her as she never swayed from her devout Catholicism. They got along until the death of King Henry in 1547. Mary was angered that the council had delayed in telling her that her father was dead, but precautions had to be taken as the will of Henry and politics needed to be sorted out. Mary did not approve of the men in King Edward's Regency council. She believed that her brother was being manipulated. As King, Edward scolded and bullied her about her beliefs, and finally disinherited her in favor of their cousin Lady Jane Grey.
King Phillip II of Spain (July 25,1554-November 17,1558)

Children: none
(2 phantom pregnancies

Gertrude Courtenay, Marchioness of Exeter
Susan Clarenciueux, widow of Thomas Tonge, Clarenceux King-of-arms, a servant to Mary from 1536
Jane Dormer, Duchess of Feria
Cardinal Reginald Pole,
Margaret Pole, Lady Salisbury- who was her governess before being taken away and Mary's title of Princess was revoked.
After her mother's death, Ambassador Eustace Chapuys remained as close to Mary as he did her mother.
Jane Seymour, helped re-establish Mary's place at court. After Jane died Mary acted as chief mourner at her funeral.
Anne of Cleves, when Mary got to know her better they became good aquaintences.
Catherine Parr, she brought Mary permanently back to court and is credited for her influence in restoring her position in the act of succession which was before the Lady Elizabeth. Catherine supported Lady Mary in all things and was very close to her, she was seen as a friend rather then a daughter. When Catherine gave birth to her daughter, she was named after the Lady Mary.

Enemies: Reformers in her time as Queen and allies of Elizabeth I. During her teens she disliked Anne Boleyn and her faction. Her father wasn't exactly her enemy but he put her through some terrible tribulations to better suit his needs and his love life up until Jane Seymour became queen.
  • "While my father lives I shall be only the Lady Mary, the most unhappy lady in Christendom."
  • "I doubt not that your grace does take me for your lawful daughter, born in true matrimony"
  • "In thee, O lord, is my trust, let me never be confounded: if God be for us, who can be against us?"
  • the punishment of heretics should be done without haste, should, meanwhile, to apply justice to those who, by intelligence, seeking to deceive simple souls.
  • "I'm Henry the VIII's daughter, she is not! I have his blood, she has not!"- Mary About Jane Grey sucession.


  • "Are you the dauphin? Then I want to kiss you!"
  • "I know of no Queen of England, save my mother. And I will accept no other queen, except my mother."
  • "is the harlot dead?"
  • "I am afraid I was not born for happiness"
  • He will tire of you, you will see"
  • "I'm not my mother's daughter?"


  • Episode 2 where she proves to have her father's temper and mother's defiance to men. She walks up to the dauphin of France and after she asks if he is the Dauphin, he says "oui" then she says I want to kiss you. She approached him and kissed him on the cheek. He reacts with revulsion, she grows mad and throws him hard on the table and leaves the "brave" dauphin in shame of being beaten by a girl.
  • When she comes to her baby sister, Elizabeth's, craddle and sings to her
  • In season 4, episode 2, Mary stands up to Katherine Howard after Katherine accuses Mary of being jealous of her because she is older than Katherine and is still not married.

For more on Mary - Click on the Links

Elizabeth I - The Tudors Wiki
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Elizabeth I - The Tudors Wiki

Princess Mary Tudor as played by Sarah Bolger

Sarah Bolger as Princess Mary Tudor
(Season 2 - 4)
Princess Mary Tudor

Princess Mary Tudor Photo Gallery - Season 1 - The Tudors Wiki

Bláthnaid McKeown as Princess Mary Tudor
(Season 1)
Princess Mary Tudor as a child

*For more on Mary AFTER she became Queen - click here*