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Mary I

Early Life

While Mary was a child, various husbands were proposed for her—the eldest son of Francis I of France (1518), Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (1522), Francis I himself (1527), and several others. She was a pawn in her father's diplomatic intrigues. In 1525 she was given a separate household as the Princess of Wales; but in 1527, Henry began negotiations for a divorce from Katharine, and Mary, remaining loyal to her mother and to the Roman Catholic Church, spent the next nine years in misery. She was separated from Katharine, denied presence at court, treated as illegitimate, and forced to serve her half-sister Elizabeth as lady in waiting. Plans to escape to the Continent failed, and in 1536 Mary was finally forced to acknowledge herself as illegitimate and to repudiate her church, statements from which she was later absolved by the pope.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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