Mary Tudor was the first female English sovereign - a ruling queen who was not simply the consort of the king. Yet little is known about this complex woman, whose reputation for ruthlessness belied her emotional fragility and who, like her half-sister Elizabeth, had to survive from childhood in the turbulent Tudor court. David Loades explores the twisting path whereby Princess Mary, daughter of a rejected wife, Catherine of Aragon, and a capricious father - Henry VIII - endured disfavour, personal crisis and house arrest to emerge as Queen of England with huge popular support.
The high promise of her reign contrasts with the personal tragedies and disappointments that followed, from the Smithfield burnings and the loss of Calais to her doomed, loveless marriage to Philip of Spain. Loades' probing yet sympathetic account reveals an intriguing personality, impelled by deep-set beliefs and principles yet uncertain how to behave in a 'man's' role. Includes 59 Illustrations (14 in colour)