Why did Elizabeth and Mary hate each other?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

Relations between Elizabeth and Mary were fraught with tension and animosity for a number of reasons. One of the primary factors contributing to their mutual dislike was the issue of legitimacy and the claim to the English throne. Mary, as the granddaughter of Margaret Tudor, had a strong claim to the English crown, which threatened Elizabeth’s own position as queen. Elizabeth, being the daughter of Anne Boleyn, was seen by some as illegitimate and therefore, less deserving of the throne.

Additionally, religion played a significant role in their strained relationship. Mary, a devout Catholic, was seen as a threat to the newly established Protestant Church in England, which Elizabeth was fervently supporting. The religious divide between the two queens further deepened their animosity towards each other.

Another factor contributing to the tension between Elizabeth and Mary was their differing approaches to marriage and relationships. Mary’s tumultuous and controversial marriages, particularly her union with Darnley, raised concerns among Elizabeth and her advisors. The English queen viewed these marriages as potential threats to her own reign and feared that Mary’s choice of partners could lead to alliances that could undermine her position.

Furthermore, the issue of Mary’s potential succession to the English throne was a constant source of insecurity for Elizabeth. Throughout her reign, Elizabeth faced numerous threats to her rule, including plots and rebellions orchestrated by those who sought to overthrow her in favor of Mary. These threats, combined with the fact that Mary was seen as a legitimate and viable alternative to Elizabeth’s rule, fueled the queen’s hostility towards her Scottish counterpart.

Moreover, personal grudges and jealousy also played a role in their strained relationship. Mary was known for her beauty, charm, and charisma, which Elizabeth may have found threatening. Elizabeth, on the other hand, was renowned for her intelligence, political acumen, and the way she carefully crafted her image as the Virgin Queen. These differences in personality and reputation may have contributed to a sense of rivalry and jealousy between the two queens.

The strained relationship between Elizabeth and Mary was rooted in a complex web of political, religious, and personal factors. Their differing claims to the throne, religious divisions, concerns about marriage alliances, and personal insecurities all contributed to the mutual animosity and dislike that characterized their interactions.