Mary I was the first queen to rule England (1553-58) in her own right. She was known as Bloody Mary for her persecution of Protestants in a vain attempt to restore Roman Catholicism in England. The daughter of King Henry VIII and the Spanish princess Catherine of Aragon, Mary as a child was a pawn in England's bitter rivalry with more powerful nations, and was later regularly offered for marriage to potential allics. Mary's life was radically altered by her father's marriage to Anne Boleyn. Henry had planned for some time to divorce Catherine in order to marry Anne Boleyn, claiming that, since Catherine had been his deceased brother's wife, her union with Henry was incestuous. As the Pope refused to recognise Henry's right to divorce Catherine, Henry broke with Rome and established the Church of England. Anne Boleyn, the new queen, bore the King a daughter, Elizabeth (the future queen), forbade Mary access to her parents, stripped her of her title of princess, and forced her to act as lady-in-waiting to the infant Elizabeth. Mary never saw her mother again. Even after Henry remarried, Mary was not able to free herself of the epithet of bastard, and her movements were severely restricted. Mary went on to win the throne when the odds were overwhelmingly against her. With her unique blend of scholarship and literary distinction, Carolly Erickson brings Mary Tudor to life in one of her most masterly and compelling books.
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Carolly Erickson, a prize-winning historian and biographer, became a full-time writer in 1970. She has written ten books, all published in the UK by Robson Books, including To the Scaffold: The Life of Marie Antoinette, The First Elizabeth, Great Harry and Josephine: A Life of the Empress.
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