Mary Tudor was the fifth child of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon but the only one who survived infancy. She was born on 18 February 1516 at Greenwich Palace. After her parents' divorce she lived at Hatfield with her half-sister Elizabeth and succeeded to the throne on the death of Edward VI. Her reign saw the persecution of hundreds of Protestants, but she did revive the Roman Catholic monastery at Westminster for a few years. England also lost its last remaining possession in France at this time and Mary is supposed to have said that when she was dead the word 'Calais' would be found engraved on her heart.
On 25 July 1554 in Winchester Cathedral she married Prince Philip of Spain. She insisted that Philip receive the title of king consort and all official documents bear their joint names. However he left England a few years later when he realised he would have no heir.
She was crowned in the Abbey on Sunday 1 October 1553. Both Anne of Cleves and the future Elizabeth I followed the queen as she processed into the Abbey. Coronation oil 'tainted' by her Protestant brother Edward VI at his coronation was not used but a new supply was sent by the Catholic bishop of Arras.
Burial and funeral effigy
Dying childless on 17 November 1558 she was buried in the north aisle of Henry VII's Lady Chapel. The wooden effigy carried at her funeral still exists but only the head was displayed in the Abbey Museum. Elizabeth I's coffin was later placed on top of Mary's. James I erected a large monument above the grave but this only bears the effigy of Elizabeth on it. Mary is mentioned in one of the inscriptions, which can be translated:
"Partners both in throne and grave, here rest we two sisters, Elizabeth and Mary, in the hope of the Resurrection".
Photos of her funeral effigy can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.
The Abbey Museum is now closed but Mary's funeral effigy and head will be on view in the new Jubilee Galleries due to open in 2018..
See also the web entry under Elizabeth I.
Mary I. England's Catholic Queen by John Edwards, 2011
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004
The funeral effigies of Westminster Abbey, edited by A.Harvey & R.Mortimer, revised edn. 2003
Mary Tudor. A Life by David Loades, 1989
The drama of coronation by Alice Hunt, 2008
The Real Tudors:kings and queens rediscovered by C.Bolland and T.Cooper, National Portrait Gallery exhibition 2014
Click on the images to enlarge