Mary Tudor has always been known as 'Bloody Mary', the name given to her by later Protestant chroniclers who vilified her for attempting to re-impose Roman Catholicism in England. Although a more nuanced picture of the first queen regnant has since emerged, she is still stereotyped, depicted as a tragic and lonely figure, personally and politically isolated after the annulment of her parents' marriage and rescued from obscurity only through the good offices of Katherine Parr. Although Henry doted on Mary as a child and called her his 'pearl of the world', her determination to side with her mother over the annulment both hurt him as a father and damaged perceptions of him as a monarch commanding unhesitating obedience. However, once Mary had finally been pressured into compliance, Henry reverted to being a loving father and Mary played an important role in court life. As Melita Thomas points out, Mary was a gambler - and not just with cards. Later, she would risk all, including her life, to gain the throne. As a young girl of just seventeen she made the first throw of the dice, defiantly maintaining her claim to be Henry's legitimate daughter against the determined attempts of Anne Boleyn and the king to break her spirit.
'This scholarly and highly engaging book offers a genuinely fresh perspective on Mary Tudor, presenting her as far more than the tragic and 'Bloody' queen of legend. By exploring Mary through the lens of her relationship with her father, Henry VIII, the author provides a compelling new portrait of this much-misunderstood woman which is at once more sympathetic and believable than many established accounts. A stunning achievement.' -- Dr Tracy Borman, Joint Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces and author of numerous books 'A wonderful debut. Melita Thomas brilliantly explores the early life of Mary Tudor against a European backdrop. She traces the young princess's relationship with her father Henry VIII, and convincingly argues that Mary was very much her father's daughter - not just the pious girl but also the political animal. A powerful narrative filled with new insights.' -- Dominic Pearce author of Henrietta Maria 'In addition to a very comprehensive selection of portraits and relevant buildings in the colour plates section, we are very well served in this book with a very detailed yet clear timeline of British and European events between 1485 and 1547 and a genealogical table at the front, plus to appendices at the back, one of European states and the other a Who's Who of important contemporaries. A reader could probably not ask for more.' -- The Bookbag Melita Thomas' research is impeccable, her arguments and theories are backed up by primary sources, including memoirs, letters and treaties. The focus is entirely on Mary, her relationships with her family and courtiers and the way her father's policies and marriages affected her life. It examines every aspect of Mary's life in impeccable detail; her education, court life, her relationships, health and daily routine. It is a sad tale, of a father who demanded absolute obedience, and never considered the consequences of his actions on the mental well-being of his children. -- www.historytheinterestingbits.com