Mary Stuart, best known as Mary Queen of Scots, was the Catholic heiress to Scotland's throne. While not mentioned in Henry VIII's succession will, the strikingly beautiful princess was related to the Tudor line and had some claim to the throne. Although most English Catholics recognized Elizabeth's rule, the Catholic world officially denied the legality of Henry VIII's marriage to Ann Boleyn, since they did not recognize the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Under the Catholic interpretation, this made Elizabeth illegitimate and unfit to rule. If Elizabeth was not correctly qualified by lineage to rule England, Mary Queen of Scots, conveniently a Catholic, had one of the strongest claims. Catholics throughout Europe, including some in England, believed that Mary was the true heir to the English crown. In 1580, Pope Gregory XIII announced
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