31 thoughts on “WCW: Queen Mary I

    1. agreed, tossing around genuine mental disorders as synonyms for, as you said, chaos, and other historical messes just kind of contributes to the stigmatization. Like armchair diagnosing. I was rather taken aback when I read that.

        1. totally understandable, it’s definitely more of a burgeoning awareness! ableism is so embedded in our language that it can be hard to recognize

          1. Agreed. We are getting better at recognizing it, like how the word retarded is being phased out of common use, but there’s still a ways to go in some regards.

  1. That “World’s Most Evil” documentary looks HILARIOUSLY terrible, oh my gosh!!!

    I actually really liked Jane Lapotair’s portrayal in Lady Jane, and appreciated that she wasn’t painted as the villain, even in a story where she so easily COULD’VE been (what with beheading our lovely protagonists and all). The Virgin Queen’s portrayal was quite good too – it covered a lot of the same ground as Elizabeth (1998) but allowed Mary more dignity, I think. I appreciate the versions where she’s allowed some sympathy and nuance.

    And actually, as much as The Tudors was a terrible show, I thought Sarah Bolger was very good as Mary, and her character was usually written pretty well.

    Of course, none of those are portrayals where Mary is really the star (even in The Tudors she’s more of a second-tier character). I don’t know of any biopics of her which are well-regarded, which is a pity.

  2. I also liked Sarah Bolger’s portrayal of Mary. At times she seemed so fragile and you could see how Henry’s treatment of her & her beloved mother messed with Mary’s self esteem.

  3. Maybe not the most “real” but Sarah Bolger’s Mary was heartbreaking.She captured the innocence and corruption of the character(I don’t know if there is a definitive interpretation of reality)so deftly.
    Why do films interpret the flat hood as minnie mouse headdress?It is the simplest Tudor headdress out there that can be closely recreated without much conjecturing(how raised the French hoods were,how rigid were the gable hoods)and even that ends up as an eye sore.

    1. I agree that Sarah Bolger did a very good job- she and Maria Doyle Kennedy did a very good job as Mary and Catherine, and although their costumes weren’t accurate by any stretch, I always found them to, at least, be less offensive than some of the others on that show.

      In regards to the sticky-up French hoods, I think a lot of it is because when you look a (necessarily) 2-D painting, they do sometimes appear to stick up like that, even if they weren’t really, and without the effort of the actual parts that made up the hood and having your hair done the right way under it, I think that is probably the easiest way to get it to stay on the actresses heads. That’s just my guess, though.

  4. The “yasss” necklace looks like a version of the Collar of Esses– which was worn by Thomas Moore and others of a certain court position. Not suitable for a princess or queen.

    1. You are exactly right. The collar of SS was a livery collar, that is something to be worn by the loyal retainers not the queen herself

  5. As a Spaniard, I loved El Ministerio del Tiempo version.
    She spoke Spanish with English accent (as a person raised in England would) and she was portrayed as a dying woman who had fallen in love with the ass Felipe II and was abandoned by him. It was a very human portrayal

  6. Mary is one of those historical figures I wish I could go back in time and hug. She deserved so much better.

  7. the best part of horrible histories mary is that she’s singing a parody of wuthering heights!

    1. I adore Horrible Histories and that is one of the best song parodies they did. The Dick Turpin/Adam Ant one is amazing too though.

  8. Oh, Kendra, I want to give your a trophy for all the spot-on snark in this post! I’ve only see a few of these and I barely remember Mary I, so I can’t answer your question. The actress in the 2001 “Inside the Tower of London” pic reminded me of French actress Anne Parillaud. I checked her IMDB page and that’s not listed as one of her credits, so it’s probably not her.

    1. Seriously. I guffawed multiple times during this article. The lady-in-waiting thinking she’s in Russia had me snorfing Diet Pepsi all over my keboard.

  9. I feel like everything about Mary is tragic and complex. So much of the Bloody Mary stuff; it seems kind of weird to single her out as uniquely bad in a couple centuries of very bloody religious wars and repression. I’d definitely be interested in learning more about her beyond that. I had to laugh at the deeply shitty documentaries–the headgear is hilariously bad.

  10. Of the depictions of Mary I, I sympathise most with Sarah Bolger in The Tudors, Jane Lapotaire in Lady Jane and Lily Lesser in Wolf Hall. Costume-wise Wolf Hall was the best. I just wish Hank 8 wasn’t such a Donald.

    1. If you can mentally adjust to the unusual ‘third person’ narrative style, the Wolf Hall novels by Hillary Mantel present a wonderfully multi-faceted view of Mary from her birth up until her father’s death. She’s just… so… stunted by her bastard father’s neglect and abuse, even as she’s being hunted like prey as a marital prize by the “Old Families” of England (the Plantagenet families) who stilled viewed the Tudor dynasty as a freakish aberration that needs to be drawn to a close.

  11. I don’t think that’s a crustacean on her bodice. It’s obviously two spiders whispering about their Secret Santa plans.

  12. Lady Jane at least had a semi-sympathetic depiction, as did The Tudors, although toward the end they decided to make her a militant “let’s burn people” girl, which seems premature. The burnings were just as political as they were religiously motivated.

    One thing that annoys the crap out of me — Mary burns 200+ people, we call her Bloody Mary. Her dad kills a bunch of wives and close friends, court members, and executes a ton of people after the Pilgrimage of Grace, and he’s “Good King Hal.” Historical sexism, much? Plus Elizabeth’s biographers trashed her sister’s reputation after the fact to make her look better.

    Poor Mary. She was no saint (ha ha) but I suspect she deserves a little better than history gives her.

    1. Mary’s persecution proved a huge mistake with terrible optics. High ranking Protestants were allowed to escape overseas while middling and poor were burned. Her victims were ordinary folk with whom the mass of her subjects could identify. Even Catholics of those classes were sickened and doubted the rightness of her actions. Bishop Gardiner realized the burnings were doing harm, even Philip a supporter of the inquisition, had the political nous to plead expediency but Mary ignored him. It was her duty to erase heresy and save England’s soul. She almost certainly was not aware of the personal anger at the destruction of her own life that was her emotional motivation.
      The burnings were very much at Mary’s will. They ended abruptly with her death.

      1. Mary is a good example of what happens when you adopt an ideology that allows for violence in the “rightness of its actions” and need not carry out the violence yourself. Just like it was easy for her father to go hunting while Anne Boleyn had her head chopped off, it was easy for her to sit in her castle and tend affairs of state while people burned. Unless you are at the forefront of the pain and suffering of others, able to witness the inhumanity of it, and taking full responsibility for your role in it, it’s easy to “condone” it from afar.

  13. Little Scarlett Cecil obviously is loving that dress if nobody else does!
    Mary Tudor is an interesting women. Like all to many people her young life was blasted by conflict between her parents. In her case her father the king had all the power and she made the mistake of siding with her mother. Maybe Henry was right to keep Mary away from Catherine. She wrote her daughter a chilling little letter basically welcoming her to martyrdom. Unfortunately, unlike her mother Mary didn’t get off on persecution for righteousness sake and was badly damaged.
    Mary’s final, unconditional surrender to Henry narrowly averted a nervous breakdown. Mary is usually depicted, on Chapuy’s witness, of being devestated and conscious stricken but Mary’s own letters, expressing effusive gratitude to Cromwell, who she came to regard as a friend and mentor, and requests for favors that were instantly granted rather contradicts that image. She actually told the Spanish ambassador in plain words that what she’d written to the Emperor concerning her acceptance of the divorce and support for Henry was exactly what she felt and thought.
    Mary was secure in Henry’s favor for the rest of his life, the Pilgrimage of Grace and other rebels often used her name but Henry never suspected her of conspiring with them. He knew his daughter, Mary was no dissembler.
    Mary was devoted to her little sister and brother and the closest thing to a mother figure either had til the advent of Catherine Parr. The only thing that sometimes made her bitterly unhappy was her own single and childless state.
    IMO Mary’s most promising suitor was Philip of Bavaria. Mary was obviously a good match for him but I think there was some genuine attraction too. He actually kissed her in one of their interviews and gave her a diamond cross. Mary was worried by Philip’s lutheranism but told her father she would do his will in the matter, whether she was hoping for a yes or a no we can never know. But this Philip was close to her in age, eager to marry her and she was young and healthy enough to have had those children she wanted. Again IMO if Henry had only had a spare, a second son, he might have let Mary go but as it was she was the second heir to his crown and he didn’t dare risk it.

  14. HAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA that “world’s most evil” french hood……HAHAHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHHAHA that made me CACKLE

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