How beneficial was Mary's marriage to Philip?

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Catriona Ashley Miller
How beneficial was Mary's marriage to
Was Mary's a marriage of equals?
As with all monarchs, was M's duty to provide heir - esp. important for M as son/daughter more likely
to perpetuate RC faith that she sought to restore. Despite age/gynaecological problems, M
determined to bear children, so needed husband.
2 principal contenders for M's hand were P2 and Edward Courtenay. Whatever merits of each suitor,
it seems M had already set sights on P2 - marriage would enhance Sp inheritance from mother, and
P2 was proven breeder as already had son from first marriage. P2 11 yrs younger than M but CV
thought he would be ideal husband. At 53, CV weary of ruling therefore dividing territories between
his son P2 and his brother Ferdinand. With P2 taking over SP and Neths, it would be v useful for
Habsburgs to have strong bond with Eng. in opposition to Fr. P2 himself not especially enthusiastic
about marrying M but dynastic interests superseded personal ones, esp. if he could get some credit
for returning Eng. to papal fold.
The marriage treaty
CV's ambassador Simon Renard presented official proposal of marriage to M 10th Oct 1553. Council
consented to terms of treaty 7th Dec 1553 and approved by Parliament April 1554. P2 himself had
no direct part in negotiations but CV did agree to majority of terms - v favourable to Eng.
Terms of Mary and Philip's marriage treaty
1. Son of marriage would inherit Eng. and Low Countries, but not Sp.
2. If only surviving child daughter, same provisions apply.
3. If no heirs, or if M died before P2, neither he nor his heirs have any claim to Eng. throne.
4. P2 to receive title `King' and rule as joint sovereign, but not possess any sovereign authority
in own right.
5. Couldn't promote foreigners to hold office in Eng.
6. Had to uphold laws of Eng.
7. Not allowed to take Q or any children out of country without permission of nobility.
8. Eng. to uphold treaties of 1543 and 1546 with Neths, which stated Eng. should come to aid
of Neths with 6,000 men if provinces invaded by Fr.
Marriage - a revolting issue?
The state of the marriage
M and P2 didn't have courtship prior to marriage - hardly knew each other. Met for first time 23rd July
1554, 2 days before wedding took place in Winchester Cathedral. Even M's betrothal ring came from
CV not P2. Union further complicated by lang barriers, as P2 couldn't speak Eng. and M's Sp was

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Catriona Ashley Miller
rusty. M and P2's common lang was Fr - she could speak and he could understand. Communicated
further thwarted by P2's lack of social skills, but he made effort to treat M with warm affection.
M thought she was pregnant twice - end of 1554 and beginning of 1558. Probably never pregnant
just desperate to believe she was.
P2 set out to ingratiate himself at court - gave out pensions/gifts from own resources.…read more

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Catriona Ashley Miller
December Plans were concluded for co-ordinated risings in Kent, Hertfordshire, Devon and
Leicestershire on 18th March 1554.
27 December HRE's commissioners arrived in Eng. to begin negotiations on marriage treaty.
14 January Terms of marriage treaty announced by proclamation - provoked earlier action than
rebels planned.
Mid-January Renard got wind of plot and Courtenay made to confess all he knew. ¾ locations
didn't raise supporters, but in Kent Sir Thomas Wyatt, from prominent shire family,
raised 2,500 armed men.…read more

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Catriona Ashley Miller
Mary decided to wait for the rebels in London, rather than
sending forces to meet them in Kent.
The marriage itself didn't take place until July 1554, 12 months into reign, and even after ceremony
itself, P2 spent more time abroad than in Eng.
Despite Mary's pregnancies, real and imagined, no children resulted from Mary's union with Philip.
M's fragile health, added to Philip's absences, hardly made successful conception likely.…read more


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