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Mary Tudor: A Life

ISBN: 978-0-631-18449-2
460 pages
July 1992, Wiley-Blackwell
Mary Tudor: A Life (063118449X) cover image


Few English monarchs have a worse reputation than Mary Tudor. She has been seen both as a religious fanatic who tried against the will of her people to reverse the course of the Reformation and as the pawn of her husband, Philip II of Spain - her infatuation with whom led her to betray England's vital interests.

How this pious, and by contemporary accounts, gentle woman aroused an antipathy that survives until the present is a central question in David Loades's sensitive biography, now in paperback. Based on research into the documents of the time (many newly uncovered) the compelling story of Mary's life is revealed here in unprecedented detail and depth, packed with incident and intrigue, and enmeshed in the politics of secular and religious struggle in England and Europe.

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Table of Contents




Map of Estates granted to Mary in 1547.



1. The Token of Hope (1516-1525).

2. The 'Princess of Wales' (1525-1533).

3. Disgrace and Rehabilitation (1533-1547).

4. The Conservative Magnate (1547-1553).

5. 'Annus Mirabilis' (1553-1554).

6. Philip and Mary (1554-1557).

7. Mary and Elizabeth (1557-1558).

8. The Historical Mary.

Appendix 1: The Development of Mary's Household (1516-1558).

Appendix 2: The New Year Gift List of 1557.

Appendix 3: Mary's Will.

Bibliographical Abbreviations.

References and Bibliography.


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Author Information

David Loades taught at the University of Durham before being appointed the Professor of History at the University College of North Wales, Bangor in 1980. He has MA and PhD degrees from the University of Cambridge (where he received the Prince Consort Prize and Seeley Medal in 1961). He was awarded an honorary D Litt in 1981 and was a visiting fellow at All Souls College in 1988-9.
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The Wiley Advantage

  • A readable, original account of a most controversial English monarch
  • The book makes an incisive contribution to the debate on the nature of the English Reformation
  • It is based on documentary research, much of it revealed here for the first time.
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"Loades manages the difficult feat of being both a sensitive portrait of a woman treated abominably by her father, and a cool estimation of the religious persecutions she initiated as a result. A sad but not unsympathetic book." (The Week, January 2009)

"An excellent and sensitive biography." (Observer)

"A weighty achievement." (Times Educational Supplement)

"A stimulating and scholarly reappraisal of Mary's career ... Without resurrecting the black legend, he illuminates the shortcomings of an historical figure who was 'a good woman, but an ill Queen'." (Spectator)

"Loades has written by far the best biography of the queen to date. He has created a deeply moving and penetrating human story in which the lesser characters retain their verity and are gracefully integrated into a drama that is, as the author says, 'pure tragedy'." (American Historical Review)

"David Loades's brisk and unsentimental account is therefore welcome." (The English Historical Review)

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