Sunday, October 27, 2019

Question from Meg - Mary Tudor and mental illness

Because of Mary Tudor's actions as a ruler, do you believe she had any mental health issues that we can classify today? I find this topic quite fascinating considering how at the time the population knew very little about mental illness. Anyway, what do you think?

1 comment:

PhD Historian said...

I wonder, to which of Queen Mary's "actions" are you referring that lead you to believe she might have had what would today be called a "mental illness"? In any event, mental illness is culturally relative and therefore cannot be reliably assessed in the context of the historical past. One man's psychotic hallucinations are another man's religious revelations or visions. Further, accurately or reliably assessing for the presence of mental illness requires real-time personal interaction between the patient and the healthcare professional. That interaction is not possible with historical figures. And in the specific case of Mary Tudor, there is too little other, secondary information available (diaries, letters, eye-witness accounts of others) to attempt such an assessment. So whether or not Mary Tudor had a "mental illness" in the way that that term is understood today simply cannot be answered with any reliability whatsoever.