On November 17th 1558, Mary Tudor, Queen Mary I of England, died - the end of a short and still controversial reign. But what if history had been different, what if she didn’t die in 1558, but lived longer to reimpose Roman Catholicism on England and forge a long lasting Anglo-Spanish alliance?
Traditionally, the dark shadow cast by “Bloody Mary” over the Tudor era could only be cleared by the light of Elizabeth I. But in this counterfactual debate, Suzannah Lipscomb and her expert guests look at a different version of events - how would we see Mary now if she had lived another 30 years? Would she have changed religious history, patched up relations between England and the rest of Europe, married off Elizabeth to a Hapsburg prince?
In this discussion, we will try to give Mary a fair judgement by giving her more time. Where would her policies have taken England - would history have been irrevocably changed?
Find out more about this episode's expert historians:
Doctor Gonzalo Velasco Berenguer, historian of the early modern Spanish Empire. He specialises in King Philip II’s influence both in Spain and in other cultures at the University of Bristol. He has published a monograph on Phillip and Mary, ‘Habsburg England: Politics, Religion, and Society in the Reign of Philip II (1554-1558)’
Professor Alexander Samson. Professor of Early Modern Studies and Director of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies Programmes at University College London. He has written extensively on Anglo-Spanish interactions in early modern Europe. Author of ‘Mary and Philip: the Marriage of Tudor England and Habsburg Spain’
Professor Anna Whitelock is a leading expert in Tudor queenship, modern monarchy, and all things Mary. She is a Professor of the History of Monarchy at City, University of London and Director of the Centre for the Study of Modern Monarchy. Author of ‘Elizabeth’s Bedfellows: An Intimate History of the Queen’s Court’, ‘Mary Tudor: England’s First Queen’, and ‘Tudor Queenship: The Reigns of Mary and Elizabeth’