Princess Mary Acknowledges Herself Illegitimate


While reading this confession by Mary, one can’t help but imagine how difficult it was for her to write this to her father, King Henry VIII — there must have been a level of unknown fear for her to acknowledge the King as the Head of the Church of England when she so wholeheartedly wished to continue to follow Rome. She is also acknowledging the annulment of her parents, which in turn denies her the title of Princess.

This letter is something that Mary always regretted writing because it went against her conscience. However, it may have beenadvantageous for Mary when the King married Jane Seymour and Jane worked hard to reinstate Mary as Princess.

Lady Mary’s Letter to Henry VIII

Written: 22 June 1536

The confession of me, Lady Mary, made upon certain points and articles written below; in which I do now plainly and with all my heart confess and declare my inward sentence, belief and judgement, with due conformity of obedience to the laws of the realm; so, minding for ever to persist and continue in this determination without change, alteration or variance, I do most humbly beseech the kings highness, my father, whom I have obstinately and disobediently offended in the denial of the same up to now, to forgive my offences therein, and to take me to his most gracious mercy.

First I confess and acknowledge the kings majesty to be my sovereign lord and king, in the imperial crown of this realm of England; and do submit myself to his highness and to each and every law and statute of this realm, as it becomes a true and faithful subject to do; which I shall also obey, keep, observe, advance and maintain according to my bounden duty with all the power, force and qualities with which God had endued me, during my life.

I do recognize, accept, take, repute and acknowledge the kings highness to be supreme head on earth, under Christ, of the church of England; and do utterly refuse the bishop of Romes pretended authority, power and jurisdiction within this realm, formerly usurped, according to the laws and statutes made on that behalf, and by all the kings true subjects humbly received, admitted, obeyed, kept and observed.

And I do also utterly renounce and forsake all manner of remedy, interest and advantage which I may by any means claim by the bishop of Romes laws, processes, jurisdiction or sentence, at this time or in any way hereafter, by any manner of title, colour, means or cause that is, shall or can be devised for that purpose.

I do freely, frankly and for the discharge of my duty towards God, the kings highness and his laws, without other respect, recognize and acknowledge that the marriage formerly had between his majesty and my mother, the late princess dowager, was by Gods law and mans law incestuous and unlawful.

Your Graces most humble and obedient daughter and handmaid, Mary.


Hanson, Marilee. “Letter of Princess Mary to King Henry VIII, 1536 Primary Sources”, February 22, 2015



2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. This is one of the hardest papers to read, no one will ever know what it cost her, what cost her most of her young life. In honor, in pride, in self worth. I don’t know if I would have had the same strength.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *