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I, Mary the Magnificent, am the greatest and most successful queen in the British Empire. I grew up in luxury as a member of the valiant Tudor family. Unfortunately, Europe had taken a dark turn some time ago during the events of the Protestant Reformation, in which an arrogant heretic thought himself worthy to challenge the Pope's authority. My life would also soon be upended through the machinations of a vile creature in the guise of a woman, who would go down as the greatest homewrecker in recorded human history. This Great Whore, whose name I would not dignify with a mention, bewitched my father and put him under her spell. He separated from the Catholic Church, creating his own "Church of England", making himself the head and damning his people to hell. He then divorced my mother, locking her in a tower until her death, and threatened to have me executed for refusing to give up my faith. This evil bitch had entered my life and destroyed my family, convincing my father to commit triple treason against his house, his country, and his God.

Like Job from the bible, the Lord had allowed this calamity to fall upon me as a means to test my faith. I was rewarded when my father grew tired of the bitch and had her beheaded, finally giving her the justice she so richly deserved. After secretly poisoning my father, I took the throne as the new ruler of England. I set out to exterminate the protestant filth that plagued my lands through a campaign of torture, burnings, and imprisonment. I even married a good and honest catholic monarch, Phillip 1 of Spain, a righteous ruler who hadn't forgotten his fealty to Rome. However necessary my acts were, they were not enough to remove the stains of my father's actions. I fear that by the 21st century, my country would not have turned back to the light and continue on the path to its damnation.

How can I restore Catholicism as the rightful faith under the Pope's authority in this post separation and remove the legacy of my father's sins?

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  • $\begingroup$ You appear to be asking if Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, could have redirected England to Catholicism after Henry wanted a divorce from Catherine of Aragon to marry Anne Boleyn. I assume the best answer will be the one describing the least number of events to achieve the goal that would also cause the least collateral damage to the rest of history. Yes? $\endgroup$ – JBH Dec 18 '20 at 3:56
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH yes correct $\endgroup$ – Incognito Dec 18 '20 at 4:08
  • $\begingroup$ "After killing my father, I took the throne as the new ruler of England": This is ... massive. Such a momentous undertaking will have thrown history in disarray, so that nothing can be said to have followed on the same path: everything depends on how exactly she "took the throne of England". Anyway, since she took the throne, this means that the topmost clergy was on ther side; as a direct example, the Archbishop of Canterbury, without whose concourse she could not have been crowned. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Dec 18 '20 at 8:02
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, so it was a regular succession! Well then, England was still Catholic in 1536, with only a handful of points of disagreement with Rome. Easy peasy. All she has to do is not follow through with the Reformation. Remember that the actual doctrinal break-up took quite some time, with the Book of Common Prayer not being published until 1549. In 1536 not even the Six Articles had been issued -- the only manifest Protestant legislation were the Ten Articles of 1536, which could have been simply repealed quietly. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Dec 18 '20 at 8:14
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP That looks like a viable answer to the question. Why is it in comments? (I've noticed you do this a lot, by the way.) $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Dec 18 '20 at 13:17
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Majesty,

Your humble servant must confess some confusion over some details of your missive. It appears your glorious ascension took place after the death of the usurper-queen and your mother of holy memory, yet before your father managed to sire any male offspring (who would have come before you in the line of succession) upon Jane Seymour. This would place it in the year of our Lord 1536 or 1537. Yet you also mention having married Philip of Habsburg, a Catholic monarch, even though he was but nine years of age at this time, and would perhaps not succeed to his father's thrones for another score of summers. I shall assume that your thoughts of this marriage are but a youthful phantasy of a possible future, and that we still speak of what may be accomplished with your newly won crown in 1536.

This being so, I am pleased to report that (provided the cirumstances of your father's untimely demise remain secret) the prospects for the restoration of the true faith are fair indeed! As yet, Luther's pernicious doctrines have planted only shallow roots in England's fertile soil, and the great mass of your people still cleave to the old ways. Merely halt the new reforms, and they will be glad. I beg of you, do not resort to fire and sword to crush what remains of the heretical minority; this may gift them the false aura of martyrdom, and give you a bloody name among your people. Instead, rely on subtler means of patronage and preferment, making clear that only those who espouse the true faith can rise high in your service. The rest will slowly return to the fold when they see it is the only sure way to prosper.

Yet the most important matter you must attend to is that of the succession. All your pious policies will be for naught if another heretic takes the throne when you are gone, reversing your hard-won gains. You speak of wedding Philip, but as he is yet a mere boy, I think a wiser counsel would be to offer your hand to his father, Emperor Charles V. Astrological prognostications have revealed to me that his first wife will die in 1539, and after this he will doubtless be glad of a marriage alliance with England ("bella gerant alii, tu felix Austria nube!"). He is the mightiest prince in Christendom and a firm defender of true religion, so together you will make a peerless pair. Yet he also has many other realms to attend to, and a son from his previous marriage to inherit them, so you may assure your fretful subjects that there is no danger that England shall be subsumed into a unified Habsburg monarchy.

You are as yet young, so there is every hope that a marriage to Charles will yield fruitful issue. Should the Lord decide otherwise, however, you must make alternative provisions for the succession. Your half-sister Elizabeth is the bastard child of the Protestant Whore, but while your father's blood flows in her veins, many will regard her as the true heir to your throne. Fortunately, she is but an infant, and if you ensure that her education is overseen only by the most pious and learned tutors, no doubt she shall grow up as staunch a Catholic as you yourself. Then even if you should perish leaving behind no heir of your own body, you may rest assured that the cause of the true faith in England shall remain secure in her hands.

Long live the queen!

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Kings life longitude is nothing in the great scheme of our Lord. And the life of the second ruler is enough to set things straight. To be blunt, your higness, vast mayority of your realm don't give a twiddly-twat about type of religion. They might not even known that the king/queen died.
You are surrounded by back-lower-part enterers that make you think whole England is just like your court. It is not. The devotion to gods of rivers and trees is still well maintained. The further from market, the further from church.
Your higness - your father was an exceptionally example of will/need/urge to have legal male offsprings. And apart from people who can afford such frivolity like another wedding no one is really interested in changes in the religion. Heck, even popes change it as they go. Hell (pardon my wording) it will take them 400 to decide that Mary was takento havens alive. With her belly full of olives and dirt under nails.

Just say: Naaah, the Queen says no. Oh, but don't forget, make a deal with a pope to turn blind eye to a little adultery among the noble folks.

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You are going to be facing several difficulties.

First, you killed the King. That probably isn't going to go over very well with a large part of the nobility, aristocracy, Parliament, or the people, and by setting the precedent to take the throne, you've just established that now you are a perfectly valid target. If you somehow miraculously survive this rather significant act of treason, in order to reverse the religious trajectory of England, you're going to run straight into the problem that Parliament supported giving the Papists the boot, especially after having confiscated all that property and wealth stolen from the good people of England and hoarded by the corrupt Roman Church. If you try to use force to get your way, which is the only thing you can do, you're very likely to be moving up the English Civil War a century earlier, and there's that small issue with the whole treasonous murder of the king bit which will be resurrected especially since it's, y'know, true, and thus you will probably no longer be requiring the use of a hat when it ends.

If this is taking place before 1556 incidentally, Phillip can't help you, not yet being king of Spain. And his involvement at all doesn't help because even good devoted English Catholics aren't exactly keen on the idea of being made into a mere province of the Habsburgs.

If you've somehow managed to escape the axe by this point, another small difficulty...in 1558 you're dropping dead of ovarian cancer.

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    $\begingroup$ Assumes facts not in evidence. The question does not say how she took the throne of England. Obviously, the top clergy was on her side, or else she could not have been crowned. Second, the question does not say when she killed Henry VIII; all we know is that it was after the execution of Anne Boleyn in 1536. The dissolution of monasteries had barely begun in 1536 and was not complete until 1540. And a lot of people were most unhappy with the king's usurpation of the spiritual power. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Dec 18 '20 at 8:08
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP, "After killing my father..." would clearly indicate she murdered her father. $\endgroup$ – Keith Morrison Dec 19 '20 at 22:05
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, and where did I say something else? $\endgroup$ – AlexP Dec 19 '20 at 22:26
  • $\begingroup$ "The question does not say how she took the throne of England" didn't make it seem like you acknowledged the whole Klingon Promotion aspect. $\endgroup$ – Keith Morrison Dec 19 '20 at 22:41
  • $\begingroup$ Also, there is a firm time limit on when she could have done it: Edward was born in October, 1537, and upon Henry's death would be king. Unless she tossed in a little infanticide with regicide, being such a good religious person. $\endgroup$ – Keith Morrison Dec 19 '20 at 22:43

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