10 things you (probably) didn’t know about Queen Mary I

(public domain)
  1. One of her godparents was Catherine of York, who was by then the only surviving child of Edward IV and thus Mary’s great-aunt. Catherine had married William Courtenay, later 1st Earl of Devon, in 1495. Her grandson Edward was later seen as a suitable husband for Mary.
  2. Mary was an inveterate gambler, and she had a passion for cards and dice. Sometimes she spent over 1/3 of her monthly income on gambling.
  3. During her childhood, she was described as being “too thin, spare and small”, though her complexion was described as “beautiful”.
  4. Mary last saw her mother, Catherine of Aragon, in early August 1531. Catherine of Aragon was banished from court to The More in the winter of 1531, while Mary was sent to Richmond. They probably had no idea they would never see each other again.
  5. Mary had a close relationship with Lady Margaret Douglas, daughter of Margaret Tudor and Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus, who was also her first cousin. They were of similar age, and Margaret acted as chief lady-in-waiting from 1530. Lady Margaret Douglas later became the mother of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley and grandmother to James I of England.
  6. Mary was forced to attend upon the newborn Elizabeth at Hatfield House. It was probably an attempt by her father to keep her in check and Mary refused to acknowledge Elizabeth as Princess. The household was run by Anne Shelton, Anne Boleyn’s aunt, who actually admired Mary.
  7. She was the godmother of her half-brother, the future Edward VI. They would later have bitter fights over religion, reducing them both to tears.
  8. In her twenties, she became a fashion trendsetter. She favoured French gowns with turned-up sleeves, which revealed a velvet facing. She was often over her budget when it came to garments. She also loved jewellery, though she did not actually own most of the jewels she had. She was provided for from the royal collection.
  9.  She almost fled England after being convinced that not just her religion but also her life was in danger. In the end, she could not do it.
  10. Despite having had many suitors, she didn’t marry until she was Queen. In 1542, she was quoted as having said, “There was nothing to be got but fine words, and while my father lives I shall be only the Lady Mary, the most unhappy lady in Christendom.” It was a difficult situation for a woman who loved children.

About Moniek 1929 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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