|Mary Tudor - Wikimediacommons|
In November 1558 Mary Tudor died at St James’ Palace at the age of 42. By the standards of today, that is a horribly young age to die but Mary had suffered a hard life and was prematurely aged, and very sick.
Everyone is guilty of something. In most cases we are remembered for our good deeds, our happiest days, and our kindest actions but Mary, as with her father, Henry VIII, is only remembered for cruelty.
Personally, I think it would be awful if at my funeral people only spoke of my sins and overlooked my goodness (and there have been one or two occasions when I’ve been kind). The burning of heretics sounds dreadful to us because we live in a (ahem) tolerant society but in the 16th century burning was the standard punishment for heresy. Mary didn’t dream up the idea for the satisfaction of her monstrous soul.
While I am in no way seeking to excuse or white-wash her actions, I think she deserves a fuller picture. When you take into account the tragic childhood, her adult disappointments, her frustration then it is easier to understand her. There was much more to her than cruelty.
There are many recorded instances in which she was kind and generous, and I think she was terribly well-meaning. She adored her subjects and envisioned leading her people to salvation but things didn’t turn out as she intended. Her reign was far from benign.
While researching for The Heretic Wind I discovered Mary Tudor to be a sad, isolated and desperate woman whose intention was to be a good and loving Queen. The fact things turned out rather differently were mostly due to exterior forces. Her conviction that the Catholic faith was the only faith is difficult for us to understand but we don’t have to look very far to find other religious zealots. It doesn’t begin or end with Mary.
In The Heretic Wind, the mortally sick and embittered Mary looks back on her life and explains to some extent, the reasons why events unfolded as they did.
Rest in Peace, Mary.
Short blurb of The Heretic Wind – Coming soon!
Adored by her parents and pampered by the court, the infant Princess Mary’s life changes suddenly and drastically when her father’s eye is taken by the enigmatic Anne Boleyn.
Mary stands firm against her father’s determination to destroy both her mother’s reputation, and the Catholic church. It is a battle that will last throughout both her father’s and her brother’s reign, until, she is almost broken by persecution. When King Edward falls ill and dies Mary expects to be crowned queen.
But she has reckoned without John Dudley, the Duke of Northumberland, who before Mary can act, usurps her crown and places it on the head of her Protestant cousin, Lady Jane Grey.
Furious and determined not to be beaten, Mary musters a vast army at Framlingham Castle; a force so strong that Jane Grey’s supporters crumble before a blow is struck, and Mary is at last crowned Queen of England.
But her troubles are only just beginning. Rebellion and heresy take their toll both on Mary’s health, and on the English people. Suspecting she is fatally ill, and desperate to save her people from heresy, Mary steps up her campaign to compel her subjects to turn back to the Catholic faith.
All who resist will face punishment for heresy in the flames of the Smithfield fires.
The Heretic Wind will be available on Kindle and in Paperback.
Judith Arnopp is the author of twelve Historical Fiction novels:
The Heretic Wind; the life of Mary Tudor, Queen of England
Sisters of Arden
The Beaufort Chronicles: the life of Lady Margaret Beaufort (three book series)
A Song of Sixpence: the story of Elizabeth of York
Intractable Heart: the story of Katheryn Parr
The Kiss of the Concubine: a story of Anne Boleyn
The Winchester Goose: at the court of Henry VIII
The Song of Heledd
The Forest Dwellers
To discover more visit Judith’s website or author page