When the marriage between Henry and Catherine ended in divorce after it was declared void Mary was send to live at Ludlow Castle away from her father and mother and Mary herself was declared illegitimate. Henry's second wife was Anne Boleyn and they had a daughter, Elizabeth. Anne wanted Mary removed from any line of succession and wanted her own daughter Elizabeth to be heir to the English throne. Naturally, Anne had no time for Mary and Mary was left isolated from her father. After Elizabeth was born, Mary was sent to Hatfield House to act as a servant to her younger half-sister. Here she was prevented from seeing her friends and any correspondence she sent or received was searched. When her mother Catherine of Aragon died Mary was not allowed to go her. When Anne Boleyn fell from grace and was executed, Elizabeth was declared illegitimate and Mary returned to her father's side. Henry's third wife, Jane Seymour, gave birth to the son that Henry so desperately wanted, but sadly Jane died shortly after giving birth to her son Edward. Jane Seymour attemted to reunite Henry and his daughters but it was Catherine Parr, Henry's sixth and last wife, who managed to unite Henry and his three children Mary, Elizabeth and Edward under one roof. When Henry VIII died Mary's younger half-brother Edward became King of England as Edward VI.
This simplified family tree shows the relationship between Mary and Lady Jane Grey both of whom were descended from Henry VII.
|Henry (VII, King of England 1485-1509)
|Elizabeth (of York)
|Henry (VIII, King of England 1509-1547)
|Catherine (of Aragon, Queen of England)
|Mary (Tudor, Queen of France)
|Brandon, Charles (Duke of Suffolk)
|Mary (I, Queen of England 1553-1558, Bloody Mary, Mary Tudor)
|Brandon, Frances (Lady)
|Grey, Henry (Duke of Suffolk)
|Grey, Jane (Lady)
Edward VI was too young to rule unaided and his help came from John Dudley, the Duke of Northumberland. Just before he died Edward signed a change to his will preventing Mary and Elizabeth from becoming Queen and nominating Lady Jane Grey instead. Lady Jane Grey was the granddaughter of Mary, a sister of Henry VIII. Jane had also recently married Northumberland's son Guilford. Edward VI died on July 6 of 1553 and several days later Lady Jane Grey was proclaimed Queen. Mary was aware of the crisis and had travelled to Kenninghall Manor in Norfolk where she called for support. Large numbers of people backed Mary's claim to the throne. The Duke of Northumberland took a small army from London to deal with Mary but at Cambridge the Duke realised his army was not a match for the huge support that Mary had raised. The Duke accepted defeat and was sent to the Tower of London. On August 3, 1553 Mary entered London by Aldgate to a huge welcome from the citizens on the city. There to meet her were her half-sister Elizabeth and Anne of Cleves.
Mary became Queen of England on July 19th 1553 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on October 3rd.
Opposition to marriage with Spain
The question as to who Mary should marry was answered when she chose Philip (II) of Spain, the son of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Many in England opposed the idea of such a close link to Spain and believed that Philip would take control of England and involve the country in his conflicts in Europe. Several rebellions were planned around the country. In Wales a group was led by Sir James Croft. In Devon another group was led by Sir Peter Carew. The Duke of Suffolk was in Leicestershire, but it was only Sir Thomas Wyatt from Kent who managed, early in 1554, to get a force together when the plots were uncovered. Wyatt led his men to London but was refused entrance to the city. His men were attacked and many of his supporters were killed. Wyatt was captured, held in the Tower and then executed. Elizabeth was also caught up in the trouble as it was first assumed that she had some part to play in the rebellion but this turned out not to be the case. Philip arrived in England in July 1554 and on the 25th of the same month he and Mary were married at Winchester Cathedral.