Mary I is rarely allowed her proper title. She is either Mary Tudor, as if we cannot admit we ever had a Catholic queen, or the ‘Bloody Mary’ of Whig history. Here she is, at last, as Mary I, but in a biography that calls to mind the girl with a curl in the middle of her forehead: where it is good it is very, very good, and where it is bad it is … just that.
Commissioning John Edwards as the biographer of Mary I was an imaginative choice for Yale’s ‘monarchy’ series. He is an expert on the Spanish Inquisition, and has written a study of Mary’s maternal grandparents Ferdinand and Isabella. Edwards has set Mary’s life within its European context better than