Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Ten random facts about Mary

1) In June 1520, when Mary was just four years old, she was sufficiently skilled on the virginals that her audience were ‘greatly marvelled and rejoiced’. She was also skilled on the lute and harpsichord.

2) During Jane Seymour’s pregnancy with the future Edward VI, Mary sent her cucumbers from her garden to satisfy Jane’s pregnancy cravings.

3) Mary was referred to as the ‘princess of Wales’ by contemporaries during her youth, although Henry never officially bestowed the title upon her.[1]

4) Mary’s godparents were Katherine, Countess of Devon (Edward IV’s daughter and therefore Mary’s great-aunt), Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury (who would become Mary’s governess and close friend), Agnes Howard, duchess of Norfolk and Thomas Wolsey, archbishop of York and Henry VIII’s leading minister.

5) Mary was quite short-sighted.

6) In May 1546, Prince Edward (Mary’s half-brother) wrote to his stepmother Katherine Parr imploring her to admonish Mary about her dancing. He asked that Mary ‘attend no longer to foreign dances and merriments, which do not become a most Christian Princess’.

7) Mary first met her husband Philip of Spain in the gardens of Wolvesey, the Bishop’s Palace at Winchester in the evening of the 23rd July 1554. During this relatively private and short meeting (lasting half an hour) Philip spoke Spanish whilst Mary replied in French, having lost the ability to speak Spanish fluently. The couple married two days later at Winchester Cathedral.

8) Mary loved her clothes and tended to prefer expensive and sumptuous fabrics. In the first years of her reign the annual cost of the Great Wardrobe was considerable high owing to her coronation and wedding (at £18,000) but it dropped thereafter to £6,000 which was slightly less than her father’s expenses during the last years of his reign.

9) In June 1536 Mary submitted to her father by agreeing that her parent’s marriage had been invalid, that she was therefore illegitimate and that her father was Supreme Head of the Church. As a reward Henry gave her a ring which contained an image of himself and his new wife Jane Seymour with, on the back, this inscription (in Latin):

‘Obedience leads to unity, unity to constancy and a quiet mind, and these are treasures of inestimable worth. For God so valued humility that he gave his only son, a prefect exemplar of modesty, who in his obedience to his divine father, taught lessons of obedience and devotion’.

10) Mary is not a popular historical figure and is infrequently represented in film and TV productions. However she has been played by a notable character...
Lisa Simpson! The comical portrayal featured in the episode ‘Margical History Tour’; Homer Simpson plays Henry VIII and Marge Simpsons features as ‘Margerine of Aragon’!


[1] Mary was recorded as ‘Marie Principisse Wallie’ in a formal royal document (letters patent of 14 August 1525 granting Sir Giles Greville the chamberlainship of South Wales) but this seems to be incorrectly used. Ultimately she went though no formal ceremony for this title and thus was not style as the ‘princess of Wales’.


  1. Thank you so much for all the informations, it's good to see that Mary is much more than "Bloody Mary" myth.

  2. How many people did she actually have burned for heresy?

    How many people did Elizabeth have killed?

  3. These random facts are great! I'm writing a paper about Mary Tudor for my english class and plan to use them -- with this citation of course! (I'm a freshman in high school). Do you have any articles that you think I should read or use in my paper? Thanks!!

  4. we have something in common! Come visit your mum and others at

  5. The random facts still don't compensate for the fact that Mary murdered innocent people because they weren't in the same religion in one of the slowest and most painful ways to kill a person: BURNING!