The Myth of "Bloody Mary": A Biography of Queen Mary I of England

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In this groundbreaking new biography of "Bloody Mary," Linda Porter brings to life a queen best remembered for burning hundreds of Protestant heretics at the stake, but whose passion, will, and sophistication have for centuries been overlooked.

Daughter of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon, wife of Philip of Spain, and sister of Edward VI, Mary Tudor was a cultured Renaissance princess. A Latin scholar and outstanding musician, her love of fashion was matched only by her zeal for gambling. It is the tragedy of Queen Mary that today, 450 years after her death, she remains the most hated, least understood monarch in English history.

Linda Porter's pioneering new biography—based on contemporary documents and drawing from recent scholarship—cuts through the myths to reveal the truth about the first queen to rule England in her own right. Mary learned politics in a hard school, and was cruelly treated by her father and bullied by the strongmen of her brother, Edward VI. An audacious coup brought her to the throne, and she needed all her strong will and courage to keep it. Mary made a grand marriage to Philip of Spain, but her attempts to revitalize England at home and abroad were cut short by her premature death at the age of forty-two. The first popular biography of Mary in thirty years, The First Queen of England offers a fascinating, controversial look at this much-maligned queen.

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About the author

Linda Porter has a Ph.D. in history from the University of York, England. During a varied career, she has lectured at universities in New York, worked as a journalist, and been a senior adviser on international public relations to a major telecommunications company. She was the winner of the 2004 Biographers Club/Daily Mail prize in England, which launched her on a new career as an author. She is married with one daughter and lives near London.

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Additional Information

Publisher
St. Martin's Press
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Published on
Aug 4, 2009
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Pages
464
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ISBN
9781429964265
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Royalty
History / Europe / Great Britain / Tudor & Elizabethan Era (1485-1603)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The birth of Edward on October 12, 1537, ended his father's twenty-seven-year wait for an heir. Nine years later, Edward was on the throne, a boy-king in a court where manipulation, treachery, and plotting were rife.

Henry VIII's death in January 1547 marked the end of a political giant whose reign had dominated his kingdom with an iron grip for thirty-eight years. Few could remember an England without him---certainly little had remained untouched: the monasteries and friaries had been ripped down, the Pope's authority discarded, and new authoritarian laws had been introduced that placed his subjects under constant fear of death.

Edward came to the throne promising a new start; the harsh legislation of his father's was repealed and the country's social and economic problems approached with greater sensitivity. Yet the early hope and promise he offered soon turned sour. Despite the terms of Henry's will, real power had gone to just one man---the Protector, Edward's uncle, the Duke of Somerset, and there were violent struggles for power, headed by the duke's own brother, Thomas Seymour.

Chris Skidmore reveals how the countrywide rebellions of 1549 were orchestrated by the plotters at court and were all connected to the burning issue of religion: Henry VIII had left England in a religious limbo. Court intrigue, deceit, and treason very nearly plunged the country into civil war. The stability that the Tudors had sought to achieve came close to being torn apart in the six years of Edward's reign.

Even today, the two dominant figures of the Tudor period are held to be Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Yet Edward's reign is equally important. His reign was one of dramatic change and tumult, yet many of the changes that were instigated during this period---certainly in terms of religious reformation---not only exceeded Henry's ambitions but have endured for over four centuries since Edward's death in 1553.

Publishers Weekly called Katherine the Queen “Rich, perceptive, and creative.” In Royal Renegades, Porter examines the turbulent lives of the children of Charles I and the English Civil Wars.

The fact that the English Civil War led to the execution of King Charles I in January 1649 is well known, as is the restoration of his eldest son as Charles II eleven years later. But what happened to the king’s six surviving children is far less familiar.

Casting new light on the heirs of the doomed king, acclaimed historian Linda Porter brings to life their personalities, legacies, and rivalries for the first time. As their family life was shattered by war, Elizabeth and Henry were used as pawns in the parliamentary campaign against their father; Mary, the Princess Royal, was whisked away to the Netherlands as the child bride of the Prince of Orange; Henriette, Anne’s governess, escaped with the king’s youngest child to France where she eventually married the cruel and flamboyant Philippe d’Orleans. When their "dark and ugly" brother Charles eventually succeeded his father to the English throne after fourteen years of wandering, he promptly enacted a vengeful punishment on those who had spurned his family, with his brother James firmly in his shadow.

A tale of love and endurance, of battles and flight, of educations disrupted, the lonely death of a young princess and the wearisome experience of exile, Royal Renegades charts the fascinating story of the children of loving parents who could not protect them from the consequences of their own failings as monarchs and the forces of upheaval sweeping England.

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