15th September – The King’s Pearl: Henry VIII and His Daughter Mary by Melita Thomas
‘Mary Tudor has always been known as ‘Bloody Mary’, the name given to her by later Protestant writers who vilified her for attempting to re-impose Roman Catholicism in England. Although a more nuanced picture of Mary has since emerged, she is still surrounded by stereotypes, depicted as a tragic and lonely figure, personally and politically isolated after the annulment of her parents’ marriage and rescued from obscurity only through the good offices of Katherine Parr.
Although Henry doted on Mary as a child and called her his ‘pearl of the world’, her determination to side with her mother over the annulment both hurt him as a father and damaged perceptions of him as a monarch commanding unhesitating obedience. However, once Mary had been pressured into compliance Henry reverted to being a loving father and Mary played an important role in court life. The King’s Pearl will re-examine Mary’s life during the reign of Henry VIII and her relationship with her father.’