The Mary Tudor who emerges is a courageous survivor of the violent power struggles that characterised the reigns of her father, Henry VIII and brother, Edward VI. She had a strong will and a noble vision for her country as a key player in a revitalised Catholic Europe.The burning of heretics, still the only aspect of her life that is well known, met with little criticism at the time. The epithet "Bloody Mary" was coined well after her death by Elizabethan propagandists.

This book dispels many popular conceptions about Mary Tudor, the first woman to rule England in her own right. It reveals the daughter of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon as a cultured renaissance princess.