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Mary Tudor

Princess, Bastard, Queen

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She was the first woman to inherit the throne of England, a key player in one of Britain’s stormiest eras, and a leader whose unwavering faith and swift retribution earned her the nickname “Bloody Mary.” Now, in this impassioned and absorbing debut, historian Anna Whitelock offers a modern perspective on Mary Tudor and sets the record straight once and for all on one of history’s most compelling and maligned rulers.
Though often overshadowed by her long-reigning sister, Elizabeth I, Mary lived a life full of defiance, despair, and triumph. Born the daughter of the notorious King Henry VIII and the Spanish Katherine of Aragon, young Mary was a princess in every sense of the word—schooled in regal customs, educated by the best scholars, coveted by European royalty, and betrothed before she had reached the age of three. Yet in a decade’s time, in the wake of King Henry’s break with the pope, she was declared a bastard, disinherited, and demoted from “princess” to “lady.” Ever her deeply devout mother’s daughter, Mary refused to accept her new status or to recognize Henry’s new wife, Anne Boleyn, as queen. The fallout with her father and his counselors nearly destroyed the teenage Mary, who faced imprisonment and even death. 

It would be an outright battle for Mary to work herself back into the king’s favor, claim her rightful place in the Tudor line, and ultimately become queen of England, but her coronation would not end her struggles. She flouted the opposition and married Philip of Spain, sought to restore Catholicism to the nation, and fiercely punished the resistance. But beneath her brave and regal exterior was a dependent woman prone to anxiety, whose private traumas of phantom pregnancies, debilitating illnesses, and unrequited love played out in the public glare of the fickle court. 
Anna Whitelock, an acclaimed young British historian, chronicles this unique woman’s life from her beginnings as a heralded princess to her rivalry with her sister to her ascent as ruler. In brilliant detail, Whitelock reveals that Mary Tudor was not the weak-willed failure as so often rendered by traditional narratives but a complex figure of immense courage, determination, and humanity.

From Publishers Weekly

Jul 12, 2010 – Whitelock seeks to rehabilitate Henry VIII's daughter Bloody Mary (1516 1558), "one of the most reviled women in English history," and to establish her as "a political pioneer who redefined the English monarchy." University of London history lecturer Whitelock asserts that Mary Tudor's relationship with her defiant, courageous mother, Katherine of Aragon, was crucial. Mary fought hard for her crown in the only successful revolt against central government in 16th-century England. And a year later, as rebels threatened London, Mary refused to flee, rallying Londoners to her defense. A hardworking queen closely involved in policy making, Mary demonstrated that a female monarch could conduct ceremonies, such as healing rituals, performed previously only by a divinely appointed king. Several elements continue to defy Whitelock's attempts to burnish her memory: the burning alive of Protestants by the Catholic queen's orders, her phantom pregnancies, and her submission to the will of her husband, Philip II of Spain, which led England into an unpopular war with France. Readers may wish for a more detailed account of the day-to-day workings of Mary's reign in addition to her personal travails. Still, this is a perceptive portrait of a zealous queen and the larger-than-life parents and tumultuous times that shaped her. 8 pages of color photos.

Customer Reviews

Extraordinary Author

Anna Whitelock is on a roll; first, this Mary Tudor book, and then, most recently, her incredible new book with an enticing title, Elizabeth's Bedfellows, which unfortunately is not yet available on iBooks. The quality of writing is of such excellent quality that this rarity will propel me to buy the printed book plus having it on my iPad when it become available. Then, I will have the best of both worlds.

Mary Tudor
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  • $5.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Sep 07, 2010
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 432 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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