Sunday, 2 October 2016

The Mad Monarchist: A Word on "Bloody" Mary

The Mad Monarchist: A Word on "Bloody" Mary

"Queen Mary I actually began her reign with a very tolerant attitude toward those who had tried to prevent her from taking the throne, those who had persecuted her mother and the most adamant Protestants of the Church of England. It was only after this attitude of reconciliation was not returned that she likewise became more intolerant. Though often blamed, her husband King Philip II of Spain, actually urged against taking repressive measures, for political reasons of his own. It is also true that Queen Mary had fewer Protestants put to death for their religion than either her father before her or her younger sister after her would have Catholics put to death for their faith, the caveat being that Queen Mary I reigned for only a few years while Henry VIII and Elizabeth I reigned for a much longer period of time. All the same, most of those who were put to death would have or could have justly been put to death anyway for treason but the Queen decided to put them to death for heresy, by burning, rather than for treason which called for a slower and more gruesome means of execution.

Despite her reputation, Queen Mary I was not cruel or heartless. She had a very soft spot for her younger brother and predecessor King Edward VI, though he was raised a radical Protestant and, despite some frustrations, could never bring herself to be too harsh toward her younger sister Elizabeth. She was very fond of children, likely all the more so since she was never able to have any of her own, and would visit the homes of humble common people and always give money to the mothers of small children, who she invariably fussed over. Her ladies-in-waiting and all those who knew her best and spent the most time with invariably described her as kind, considerate and compassionate. It was only that, on the subject of religion, she would not bend to what was expedient. She was a firm believer that the Catholic Church was the only true church and, as such, the humane thing to do was to stamp out heresy ruthlessly so that more souls would not be lured away from the path of righteousness. She inflicted nothing on any Protestant that she would not have been willing to endure herself if the roles were reversed."

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