Who was the first queen of England to rule in her own right?

Question: Who was the first queen of England to rule in her own right?

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Mary I.

The first queen of England to rule in her own right was Mary I, commonly referred to as “Mary Tudor” or “Bloody Mary.” Born on February 18, 1516, she was the eldest daughter of King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.

Mary’s path to the throne was far from straightforward. Her early life was marked by the tumultuous marital affairs of her father. Henry VIII’s desperate quest for a male heir led him to seek an annulment from Catherine of Aragon, an action that was denied by the Pope. This refusal was a pivotal event, as it led to England’s break from the Roman Catholic Church and the establishment of the Church of England with Henry at its head. As a consequence, Mary, a devout Catholic, was declared illegitimate, and she was removed from the line of succession in favor of her half-siblings, born of Henry’s subsequent marriages.

However, fate had its own plans. After the death of her half-brother, Edward VI, in 1553, a brief attempt was made to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne. But this was short-lived. With significant popular support and political maneuvering, Mary was proclaimed queen, and she ascended to the throne later that year.

Mary’s reign, which lasted from 1553 to 1558, was marked by her efforts to restore Roman Catholicism to England. These efforts included the repeal of the religious reforms introduced during the reigns of her father and half-brother. As a result of her vigorous, and at times brutal, attempts to suppress Protestantism, she earned the moniker “Bloody Mary.” Numerous Protestants were burned at the stake for heresy during her reign, which left an indelible mark on her legacy.

Mary’s reign also saw the brief return of England to the Catholic fold through her marriage to Philip II of Spain. However, this alliance was unpopular with many of her subjects, who feared the increasing Spanish influence on English affairs.

Mary I died on November 17, 1558, without leaving an heir. She was succeeded by her half-sister, Elizabeth I, who would go on to rule for 45 years and usher in a golden age for England. Despite the controversies and challenges of her reign, Mary I’s significance in English history is undeniable: she paved the way for future queens regnant by proving that a woman could hold and wield the power of the English crown in her own right.