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Mary Tudor, 1553 - 1558

Mary had an extremely sad life. She suffered a neglected childhood as the daughter of divorced Catherine of Aragorn, Henry VII's first wife, and had to put up with everyone trying to persuade her to relinquish her Catholic faith for most of the rest of her life. However, she was not to be dissuaded: indeed, one of her first acts as monarch was to repeal the Protestant legislation of her brother, Edward VI, plunging England into yet another period of religious persecution. She was responsible for the burning of nearly 300 people in the pursuit of her own purity of faith, thus earning the nickname 'Bloody Mary'. She then married Philip of Spain, an act guaranteed to ensure the hatred of just about all her subjects.

She is also famous for having her half-sister, Elizabeth, imprisoned in the Tower of London. Nice family.


Groat of Philip and Mary, 1554 - 58

Coins of Mary's reign are usually distinguished by a deep (and contemporary) dagger score across her face, a sure sign of general disapproval. This coin managed to escape this particular fate. Spink no. 2508

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