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Mary I
Mary I

Mary I (1516-1558) was queen of England from 1553 until her death in 1558. She was the daughter of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. Mary became queen after King Edward VI, her brother, died. An attempt to set her aside in favour of Lady Jane Grey, "the nine-day queen," failed. The English people preferred Mary because she belonged to the Tudor family of English rulers.

Mary was a devout Roman Catholic and tried to take England back to the Roman Catholic Church. She repealed a law that had made Protestantism the state religion. She also revived certain severe laws against heresy or disbelief in church doctrine. She became known as "Bloody Mary" because of the persecutions she caused. More than 300 people were burned at the stake during her reign. Among them were Thomas Cranmer, Nicholas Ridley, and Hugh Latimer, all high-ranking Protestant clergymen. Mary also drove many Protestant clergymen into exile.

Mary married King Philip II of Spain. Their marriage was unpopular, because many English people viewed Spain as England's greatest enemy. Philip persuaded Mary to join Spain in a war against France. But France won the war, which officially ended in 1559, after Mary's death. Mary died childless and she was succeeded on the throne by her Protestant sister, Elizabeth I.

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