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Pro Mary Tudor trend

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Pro Mary Tudor trend

Post by Helen_Davis » Thu April 10th, 2014, 9:52 pm

This may belong in the debate forum, so move it if needs to be. But does anyone on here have any insight on the recent pro Mary I trend? I mean i realize she probably wasn't as bad as propaganda made her out to be but i fail to see how she deserves a complete whitewash and i fail to see why she would be considered a better monarch than her sister. (I've run into people on YouTube and Facebook who will defend the cause of Mary over Liz to the death.) While Elizabeth wasn't an angel, it's obvious to anyone i think she was the more successful monarch.

I know defending Richard III has become fashionable of late, but i can't understand glorifying a woman who brought the Inquisition to England, lost Calais, and was widely hated by the end of her reign. i know she did some good things like establishing trade with Russia, but she's remembered as failed monarch for a reason iMO. Isabella of Castile or Katharine of Aragon she was not! While the young Mary deserves pity, for sure, since no one deserves to be ripped away from an adoring mother and forced to serve their sibling, the adult Mary made her own choices. I'm wondering if any of our authors on here who write about English history or live there could share their thoughts? I'm more of an Egyptophile than an Anglophile so I don't feel qualified to speak, just ask.

So any thoughts?

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Post by Mythica » Thu April 10th, 2014, 10:54 pm

I think there's some people out there who just like to tell other people that certain established ideas are "wrong". I think it makes them feel like they are more knowledgeable and informed than the average person and that makes them feel better about themselves. So they latch onto these trends of rehabilitating the reputations of certain historical figures. Sometimes it's deserved, sometimes it's not.

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Post by princess garnet » Thu April 10th, 2014, 11:19 pm

It's also important to understand the context of the time period she lived and what the mindset was of the time.

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Post by Susan » Thu April 10th, 2014, 11:56 pm

I do agree that the context of the time period is important. The religious strife in England at that time played a huge role. The circumstances of what happened to the young Mary are what made the adult Mary. I also think it is difficult to compare Mary to other Tudor monarchs because her reign was the shortest of all the Tudors (not counting Jane Grey). Even among all the British monarchs after the Norman Conquest, only James II, Richard III, Edward V and Edward VIII had shorter reigns.

Henry VII: nearly 24 years
Henry VIII: nearly 36 years
Edward VI: 6 1/2 years
Mary I: 5 years
Elizabeth I: 45 years
Last edited by Susan on Fri April 11th, 2014, 12:02 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Fri April 11th, 2014, 12:14 am

I think it's rather an 'alternate history' kind of theme. Like, "Readers! Here's a new take on a famous person!" Just a way to make a book stand out.

I prefer reality in my HF, but if somebody writes a good story which makes a usually-despised famous person sympathetic, more power to them.

That's really what Hilary Mantel did with Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall, without straying too far from the known facts.

Another variation is to take a usually-admired person and make them less laudable. But if the result can't be believed in the light of actual events (for instance, Philippa Gregory's version of Elizabeth in the Virgin's Lover) then it falls flat.


Post by Helen_Davis » Fri April 11th, 2014, 5:37 pm

[quote=""Mythica""]I think there's some people out there who just like to tell other people that certain established ideas are "wrong". I think it makes them feel like they are more knowledgeable and informed than the average person and that makes them feel better about themselves. So they latch onto these trends of rehabilitating the reputations of certain historical figures. Sometimes it's deserved, sometimes it's not.[/quote]

Very insightful mythica! Thanks!

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Post by Divia » Wed April 16th, 2014, 2:33 pm

There has been a few books out lately dealing with Joan of Arc as well and how it wasn't her strength but Prince Charles mother that made the young woman lead an army.

I think people like to do these types of works because it hasnt been done before and they like to push the envelope. But to be fair, perhaps history hasn't given them a fair shake either.

Personally I dont believe Charles momwas the person who made Joan the famous La Pucelle. However there is an interesting book I do want to read about Victoria's daughter Louise. I think it has some scandal in it and that might be fun to read. Did she have a child? Hmmm?
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Post by DianeL » Thu April 17th, 2014, 10:53 pm

I have to confess some surprise that here of all places we still need to issue black hats and white hats to historical figures. Mary was hardly the bloodiest monarch in history, even the history of England. Partisanship has created the legacy we have inherited, but I'm not so sure that reviewing reputations - good or bad (and, in particular, the nastier reputations ascribed to famous women in history) is alternate history.

The tendency to require villainy or sanctity of ANYONE, past or present, bewilders me. I don't vote under any illusions that I'm picking the "good" candidate over the bad one. Indeed, in my life, it's all I have been able to do for more voting events than I care to count to pick the lesser of all evils.

The management of wealth and power carries with it a massive context of ethical and moral compromise which almost necessarily, and pretty much at any period of humankind, will lead to the sacrifice of others' lives and wellbeing for the sake of, most of the time - more wealth and power. It's sausage-making on a grand scale - in Mary's case, on a royal one. In a system, too, based on the utterly arbitrary inheritance of royal prerogative and rights, the chromosomal accidents of time have created many Marys indeed. She's no worse than her father was, nor any of those monarchs who institutionalized cruelty to Jews or many others.

She's also no better.

Though we have to hold rulers to a high standard indeed - to actually expect good guys versus bad guys rather underestimates the picture. Doesn't it ... ?
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Post by Helen_Davis » Mon April 28th, 2014, 1:53 am

Diane I agree. I just don't think hagiography is necessary to realize she wasn't th emonster she's been made out to be.

Speaking of hagiography I've seen some YouTubers say Mary Tudor was kind to black people. While that would be nice if it were true I don't believe that she would have been such an anti-racist.

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