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The sobriquet “Bloody Mary,” devised long after her lifetime, clings to her because of the burning, during her reign, of nearly 300 men and women for their Protestant views.Even in Spain, where her Catholicism has always been strongly in her favor, plus the fact that her mother, Catherine of Aragon, was the youngest daughter of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, the short English reign of Mary’s husband Philip has been little studied.Into the 1990s, English-speaking historians mostly continued to put Mary’s “failure” as queen, culminating in the loss of Calais to France at the beginning of 1558, down to her personal inadequacy, possibly resulting from the ill treatment that she received from her father, King Henry VIII, as well as the difficult political and economic circumstances that she had to confront.
Other recent biographers (see Porter 2007, Richards 2008, and Whitelock 2009), while generally relying on traditional English sources, have contributed effectively to the reinterpretation of Mary as the true pioneer of female monarchy in the country, stressing her achievements and her role as precursor and example to Elizabeth.
Mary’s role as the first sovereign queen of England, Wales, and Ireland is emphasized in Porter 2007, Richards 2008, and Whitelock 2009 (all cited under Biographies), as well as Hunt 2010, while Edwards 2011 (also cited under Biographies) stresses the example that Mary was given by her Spanish grandmother, Queen Isabella of Castile.
Malfatti 1956 provides translations of Spanish and Italian sources concerning Mary’s coronation in 1553 and her marriage in the following year, while the Count of Feria’s vital dispatch from England in Mary’s last days are edited and translated in Rodríguez-Salgado and Adams 1984.
Until recently, the lack of major change in historical approaches to Mary meant that edited collections of essays by specialists were not devoted to her.
Ever since she died in London on 17 November 1558, Queen Mary I has had an afterlife in the shadow of her half-sister and successor, Elizabeth I.
She reigned for just over five years, beginning late July 1553, and her time on the throne has been seen ever after as unfortunate and unsuccessful, as well as short.
Consultation of the various calendars of English and foreign State Papers, now available online as well as in print, is essential for all who wish to undertake detailed research into the domestic and foreign policies of Mary’s government, as well as many important aspects of the England of her time, together with Wales and Ireland.
Equally valuable and indeed essential, especially for coverage of Mary’s seizure of the English throne and her earliest days in power, are various contemporary British and foreign chronicles.
Guy 1988, Palliser 1992, Brigden 2000, and Tittler and Jones 2004 give only limited coverage to Mary.
Unusual in the histories of English monarchs, there is no up-to-date and satisfactory bibliography of Mary and her reign, and the works listed below predate the major revisions from the 1980s onwards.