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  Bloody Mary 21June 2004  
Image: a detail of the portrait of Mary I showing the La Peregrina pearl
Is the title an accurate one to descibe Mary Tudor's extraordinary life?

Mary Tudor was the eldest daughter of King Henry VIII by his first wife Catherine of Aragon. She was separated from her mother when Henry divorced her for Anne Boleyn, disinherited and passed over in his affections by her half sister Elizabeth. A devout Roman Catholic she went on to be Queen despite rebellions and plots to oust her.

Now there's an exhibition to mark the 450th anniversary of her marriage to King Phillip II of Spain. It includes a rarely seen portrait of the Queen wearing the La Peregrina pearl (pictured) given to her by her future husband and later bought by Hollywood actress, Elizabeth Taylor.

Jenni asks Canon Flora Winfield of Winchester Cathedral and historical novelist Philippa Gregory whether the title Bloody Mary is an accurate one for her remarkable life. 

The exhibition is on at Winchester Cathedral 29 June until the end of September

The Society of Antiquaries
Tudor History

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