Cultural depictions of Mary I of England

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Mary I of England has been depicted in popular culture a number of times.


  • Marie Tudor (1833) by Victor Hugo.
  • The Tower of London (1840) by William Harrison Ainsworth.
  • Queen Mary (1875) by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. A theatrical play.
  • The Prince and the Pauper (1881) by Mark Twain. The novel includes a depiction of Mary before her accession as a "grimly holy Lady Mary". The short appearance had a considerable influence on her negative image,[citation needed] given the enduring popularity of Twain's work.
  • Mary Tudor: A Play in a Prologue and Three Acts (1936) by Wilfred Grantham and it's 1945 radio adaption Mary Tudor.
  • Young Bess (1944), Elizabeth, Captive Princess (1948), and Elizabeth and the Prince of Spain (1953) by Margaret Irwin. A trilogy focusing on the early years of Elizabeth I of England and her relationship with Mary and Philip II of Spain.
  • Mary, the Infamous Queen (1971) by Maureen Peters. The novel tells Mary's life through her reign.
  • Daughter of Henry VIII (1971) by Rosemary Churchill. Features Mary's struggles against her father Henry VIII of England.
  • The Ringed Castle (1971) by Dorothy Dunnett. Part of the Lymond Chronicles. The novel includes a sympathetic portrayal of Mary's marriage and pregnancies.
  • I Am Mary Tudor (1971), Mary the Queen (1973), and Bloody Mary (1974) by Hilda Lewis. A trilogy focusing on Mary's life from the cradle to the grave. The books include a "psychological exploration of Mary's character", a sympathetic character who grows "increasingly paranoid and deluded" in her later years.
  • Queen's Lady (1981) by Patricia Parkes.
  • In the Shadow of the Crown (1988) by Eleanor Hibbert. A historical novel focusing on the Tudor Queens.
  • In the Garden of Iden (1997) by Kage Baker. A science fiction novel, involving time travel.
  • In The Time Of The Poisoned Queen (1998) by Paul C. Doherty. Mary I dies of poisoning, immortal Nicholas Segalla investigates a historical mystery with many suspects.
  • Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor (1999) by Kathryn Lasky. The novel is part of the juvenile historical-fiction series The Royal Diaries. Mary is a prominent character and is portrayed as a bitter rival to her half-sister Elizabeth.
  • Mary, Bloody Mary (1999) and Beware, Princess Elizabeth (2001) by Carolyn Meyer. Both novels are part of the Young Royals series. The first depicts Mary's teenaged years, the second Elizabeth's teenaged years. Both attempt to explore their experiences at the time and how said experiences shaped their later lives.
  • Kissed by Shadows (2003) by Jane Feather. Conclusion of the Kiss Trilogy, a "complex historical drama" series set in the 16th century.
  • The Queen's Fool (2004) by Philippa Gregory. The novel depicts Mary's rise to power and reign in a very sympathetic light, and makes an effort to revise her long-lasting horrific image. It shows her through the eyes of a devoted and loving servant - without hiding the horror of the persecutions.
  • Innocent Traitor (2007) and The Lady Elizabeth (2008) by Alison Weir. Two novels covering the adversarial relationship of Mary with Lady Jane Grey and Elizabeth I.
  • The Queen's Sorrow (2008) by Suzannah Dunn. The novel attempts to show the other side to Mary, as seen through the eyes of Rafael, a member of the entourage of Philip II of Spain.
  • Dracula and the Bloody Mary: A Tragicomedy (early 21st century) by Santiago Sevilla. A theatrical play, published in Liceus El Portal de las Humanidades. ( Features Count Dracula in the courts of Edward VI of England and Mary I.
  • Appears as Princess Mary in Hilary Mantel's 2009 novel Wolf Hall.

Film and television[edit]

Mary has been played on screen by:

In one depiction, a song to the tune of Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush was sung outlining her life, also using the same dancing style and same red dress as in the music video.


  • Queen Mary appears in the Doctor Who audio play "The Marian Conspiracy", set in 1554, played by Anah Ruddin. The story focuses on the religious tensions of her reign and involves an attempt to assassinate the queen by English Protestants and French Catholics.

Video games[edit]

  • Bloody Mary appears as the boss in the Sylvain Castle stage in Terranigma.

Further reading[edit]

Sue Parrill and William B. Robison, The Tudors on Film and Television (McFarland, 2013). ISBN 978-0786458912.

External links[edit]


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