Princess Mary Tudor, named for the king's beloved sister, was born February 18th, 1516 at Greenwich Palace. Mary would be the only surviving child of Henry VIII and his first wife, Katherine of Aragon.
This portrait of a young Mary was painted by Lucas Horenbout, sometime between 1521 and 1525. It is currently part of the National Portrait Gallery in London.
Mary's childhood was actually a happy one. She was the offspring of two royal houses of Europe and her future certainly seemed bright. She was educated by the best tutors in England, was talented musically and encouraged in this regard, and was doted on by both her parents. And with the prospect of the brothers that might follow, Mary was considered an asset to her father in his ongoing diplomatic games.
At the age of two, she was engaged to the Dauphin of France. When English and French relations soured, that contract was broken and she was instead engaged to her cousin Charles V, the Holy Roman Emporer. This kind of back and forth of her marriage prospects went on throughout her childhood, but it would all come to an end for Mary when those longed-for brothers never came. Her father divorced her mother for a younger and still fertile Anne Boleyn.
Mary was declared a bastard, stripped of her Princess title, and forced to work as a lady in waiting in her half-sister Elizabeth's household. After many years of struggle, Mary was eventually welcomed back into her father's household and restored to the line of succession, eventually becoming Mary I of England. Read more about Mary's life and reign, and how she eventually would be known as Bloody Mary.