Mary Tudor (1516-1558) was the daughter of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. This source is part of a plea roll, an official document recording law suits or actions in court. Mary I is pictured inside the initial ‘P’ because the document begins with the Latin words: ‘Placita coram domino rege’ (pleas before the lord King). Mary became Queen of England on the death of her brother Edward VI. Her image suggests that her position was legitimised by God and shows her defeat of the Duke of Northumberland who tried to put Lady Jane Grey on the throne instead. (Catalogue ref: KB 27/1168/2) Michaelmas, 1553, Coram Rege Rolls.
Some historians believe this image may have been painted by Levina Teerlinc, an accomplished miniaturist who was the only female painter in the English royal court. She continued to receive an annual salary, which was higher than that of Hans Holbein the Younger, through the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. Learn more about Levina in this blogpost by Louisa Woodville for ArtHerstory