Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Question from Colleen - Mary I's death details

I apologize if this question has already been asked, but I was wondering if anyone had any information on the death of Mary I. Not what she died of, but her actual death and what happened afterward. I know she died on November 17 of 1558, but when? Early morning, etc.? Who was sent to Hatfield to notify Elizabeth of her sister's death? Was anyone of importance in the room when Mary died? And she died at St. James Palace, right? Thanks for any and all information!


Anonymous said...

Mary died in the early morning hours of November 17, 1558 at St. James Palace, London.

She was left virtually alone, the majority of the court and her household having already made their way to Hatfield (for Elizabeth) or to await the transition of power quietly somewhere else.

A favored gentlewoman, Jane Dormer, told her biographer (albeit 40 years later) that Mary I heard mass shortly before her death. There were no screams, wild cries of sorrow or lamentations of past deeds. Mary I slipped into death with only the attending physician seeming to notice. (The above information was found in "Bloody Mary", by Carolly Erickson).

"The Oxford Illustrated History of the British Monarchy" states that Mary was not buried in robes of state, but in the robes of a religious order. Unfortunately, that order is not identified.

I can't find any information as to the specifics of who attended Mary while she died. I'd like to believe that her friend, Susan Clairineceux (spelling?) was by her side, as she had been for so many other occasions.

Anonymous said...

Mary died peacefully while hearing Mass after receiving the last rites. It was during the elevation of the Host. My sources do not name any specific attendant other than Jane Dormer. They just say Mary's ladies and priests were with her when she died. Reginald Pole was not there. He was ill himself and would die later that same day.

Her husband, King Philip, was in Brussels. His father, Charles V, had just died and Phlip felt he could not leave for England until after Charles' memorial ceremonies. Philip wrote about his wife's death "I felt a reasonable regret for her death ...I shall miss her."

Mary lay in state in the Chapel Royal of St. James. Her heart is buried there. She wore a nun's habit but her effigy wore crimson velvet. Margaret, Countess of Lennox, was the chief mourner.

Before her death Mary comforted her ladies by telling them of dreams she'd had of little children "like angels" singing. Mary wept for the loss of Calais too.

The earls of Arundel and Pembroke arrived first at Hatfield and told Elizabeth she was now Queen. Nicholas Throckmorton arrived later and brought Mary's betrothal ring as proof.

Mary's will is on this website.