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Queen Mary I

Mary I by Master John

Queen Mary I was the first Queen Regent (who reigned in her own right rather than through marriage to a king).

She was short and slender, with bright auburn hair and large hazel eyes.

She ruled for five years between 1553 and 1558.

She enjoyed riding and hunting and was very musical.

Mary was a committed Catholic and made it illegal for people to be Protestants (under King Edward VI the Act of Uniformity 1552 had made it law for everyone to be Protestant). In 1555 she banned English translations of the Bible and burned nearly 300 protestants when they refused to give up their religion. This made her very unpopular and gained her the nickname 'Bloody Mary'.

She made herself even more unpopular by marrying King Phiip II of Spain and losing Calais, England's last possession in France in a war against them.