Bloody Mary

So I hear the London Dungeon has got itself in a spot of bother. Some of you using the Underground may recall a recent advert for the attraction. You’re just on the escalator, going past one of those funny digital poster displays they have now, when you see this:

“Ah,” you think. “A portrait of Queen Mary I. How lovely. This is a fine thing to see on an escalator of a morning.”

Then suddenly… THIS HAPPENS!

Aaaaaaagh! She’s turned into some sort of zombie ghoul-type thing! This isn’t historically correct! Not historically correct at all! I do not appreciate this!

Anyway, the high volume of resultant pants-soilings, particularly among children, have led the advert to be banned. I thought it was quite a good advert myself, but then, I don’t actually believe children exist (they’re either puppets or dwarves in makeup).

A spokesperson for the Advertising Standards Agency said, “We noted the switch between the passive and frightening face occurred suddenly and unexpectedly, which could increase the shock value.” A spokesperson for London Particulars said, “No shit, Sherlock” and went on to comment about the toilet habits of ursine creatures and the religious beliefs of the Pope.

The London Dungeon has defended the advert, as you might imagine. They described it as “obviously historical and in no way irresponsible or gratuitous.” This is correct, as it is well known that Elizabeth I’s reluctance to name her successor caused her late sister to rise from the grave as a side effect of the Divine Right of Kings. Her bloody rampage was eventually halted by an occult tag-team consisting of John Dee and Christopher Marlowe.

Actually, that would make a damn good film. This idea is copyrighted by me, you hear?

Anyway, what is the justification for this mortified monarch? Well, the London Dungeon’s new exhibition is about Mary’s reign, specifically the number of people killed under her rule. If you recall your school history lessons (I don’t, I was asleep), Mary was the eldest child of Henry VIII and had been raised Catholic. Her dad had converted in order to marry Anne Boleyn. Well, actually, there was a lot more to it than that – long story short, King Harry was tired of having the Pope breathing down his neck. I only got a C in A-level history, so you might want to do the research yourself on this one.

Where was I? Well, Henry’s son Edward – who of course was first in line to the throne – was born after Henry’s conversion, and so was raised Protestant. Edward VI died young, having done pretty much no actual ruling, and so Mary took the throne. And then there was a wailing and a gnashing of teeth.

Protestants in England, of which there were many by now, had to convert, be exiled, or be punished. Out of faith or bloody-mindedness, many went with the latter choice. Nearly 300 were burnt at the stake (exact numbers unknown), and not all were high-level clergy as claimed. The executions were catalogued in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, which was published shortly after the end of Mary’s reign.

Elizabeth I

Following Mary’s death, Elizabeth I became queen and reintroduced Protestantism, and everything settled down. For a while, at least. Until James I and that business with the Gunpowder Plot.

Speaking personally, I’ve never had much time for religious disputes, particularly when the parties involved basically believe two different versions of the same thing and neither can prove their version is the correct one.

1 Comment

Filed under Current events, Film and TV, History, London, london bridge, London Underground, Politics, tourism, Transport, Tudor London, Waterloo and Southwark

One response to “Bloody Mary

  1. I didn’t finish my History A level, I dropped out and ran away to join the Prudential Assurance Co; yes, I know with a little hindsight a ghastly mistake, very little hindsight indeed, I wanted out after three months and had to suffer another year before I found a suitable escape route; tunnelling, hide dirt in trousers, scatter over the office, Jerry none the wiser, Jerry being the head of the Fire and Accident Department, nice man from St. Albans.

    Anyway despite my truncated education I have spent the last thirty odd years reading as widely as possible and I’ve always had a thing for history. Henry didn’t really convert, he just made himself head of the church in England rather than the Pope, all for the sake of a shag, but he remained a Catholic at heart. He only turned on the monasteries because the refused to swear allegiance to him rather than Rome and he needed the cash.

    Hardly surprising I found it somewhat ironic that there was so much heated debate over whether Charles, a divorcee, could or should marry Camilla, also previously married, and still become head of the church when Lizzy finally pops her clogs as the CoE only exists because a previous monarch wanted to dump his wife and marry someone else.

    Edward was raised a Proddy because the man entrusted with his supervising education, Archbishop Cramner, was one, any Catholic tutor would have told him that daddy was going to burn in hell. While he didn’t actually do much ruling due to his age the men appointed to cover for him until he grew up did more to transform England into a fully fledged Protestant one than Henry ever did, abolishing celibacy for the clergy along with saying masses (not chav speak for talking a lot) and making English rather than Latin in church compulsory.

    As for things settling down under Elizabeth there were numerous Catholic plots to assassinate her and the Armada had the blessing of the Pope. Foxe’s big book of martyrs continued to be the most popular book after the Bible well into the next century proving that even then folks liked to read about death and suffering.

    Religion is always a good excuse, look a little deeper and you’ll find the root cause of any dispute is always money or land, the kids are rioting in Belfast because they’re still live in shitholes despite the peace process and the Middle East is all about who owns what. Dragging God into it just makes it seem less greedy, all wars are just two monkeys fighting over a banana.

    Sorry to ramble on, only had two hours sleep, keep up the thoroughly entertaining work.

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