No sooner was Mary, eldest daughter of Henry VIII., securely seated on the throne left vacant by the premature death of her brother, Edward VI., than the Emperor Charles V., already related to her through his aunt, Katherine of Aragon, determined to bring about a marriage between the Queen of England and his son Philip. By the accomplishment of this project, which had been conceived by the Emperor during Edward's last illness, the preponderance obtained in Europe by the House of Austria would be largely increased, and Charles's dream of universal dominion might eventually be realised. Philip, who was then a widower?his wife, Doña Maria, Princess of Portugal, having died in 1545, in giving birth to a son, the unfortunate Don Carlos?readily acquiesced in his father's scheme, as he fully recognised the vast importance of the match, and Mary alone had to be consulted. But little apprehension could be entertained of her refusal. All the advantages were on the Prince's side. 2Eleven years younger than the Queen, who was then thirty-eight, Philip was not merely in the very flower of manhood, but extremely handsome, and, as heir to a mighty monarchy, unquestionably the greatest match in Europe. No princess, however exalted, on whom he deigned to smile, would refuse him her hand.