Mary Tudor, Queen of France
|Queen consort of France|
|Tenure||9 October 1514 – 1 January 1515|
|Coronation||5 November 1514|
18 March 1496|
Sheen Palace, London, Surrey, Kingdom of England
|Died||25 June 1533
Westhorpe Hall, Westhorpe, Suffolk, Kingdom of England
|Burial||22 July 1533
Bury St Edmunds Abbey
St. Mary's Church, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, Kingdom of England
|Spouse||Louis XII of France
Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk
Frances Grey, Duchess of Suffolk
Eleanor Clifford, Countess of Cumberland
Henry Brandon, 1st Earl of Lincoln
|Father||Henry VII of England|
|Mother||Elizabeth of York|
Mary Tudor (//; 18 March 1496 – 25 June 1533) was an English princess who was briefly queen of France and later progenitor of a family which claimed the English throne. The younger surviving daughter of Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York, Mary became the third wife of Louis XII of France, more than 30 years her senior. Following his death, she married Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. The marriage, which was performed secretly in France, took place during the reign of her brother Henry VIII and without his consent. This necessitated the intervention of Thomas Wolsey, and although the couple were eventually pardoned by Henry, they were forced to pay a large fine.
Mary's second marriage produced four children, and through her eldest daughter Frances, Mary was the maternal grandmother of Lady Jane Grey, who was the de facto monarch of England for nine days in July 1553.
First marriage: Queen of France
Mary was the fourth child of Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York, and the youngest to survive infancy. She was born at Sheen Palace, "most probably" in March 1496. A privy seal bill dated from midsummer 1496 authorizes a payment of 50 shillings to her nurse, Anne Skeron. Also, Erasmus stated that she was four years old when he visited the royal nursery in 1499–1500. At age six, she was given her own household, complete with "a staff of gentlewomen assigned to wait upon her," a schoolmaster, and a physician. She was given instruction in French, Latin, music, dancing, and embroidery.
As children, Mary and her brother, the future King Henry VIII, shared a close friendship. He would name his first surviving child, the future Queen Mary I, in her honour. They lost their mother when Mary was just seven, and given the number of bills paid to her apothecary from 1504 to 1509, it would appear that Mary's own health was fragile.
In 1506, during a visit from Philip I of Castile, Mary was called to entertain the guests, dancing, and playing the lute and clavicord. In September 1506, King Philip died, and on 21 December 1507, Mary was betrothed to his son Charles, later Holy Roman Emperor. The betrothal was called off in 1513.
Instead, Cardinal Wolsey negotiated a peace treaty with France, and on 9 October 1514, at the age of 18, Mary married the 52-year-old King Louis XII of France at Abbeville. One of the maids of honour who attended her in France was Anne Boleyn. Despite two previous marriages, Louis had no living sons, and sought to produce an heir, but he died on 1 January 1515, less than three months after marrying Mary, reputedly worn out by his exertions in the bedchamber, but more likely from the effects of gout. Their union produced no children. Following Louis's death, the new king Francis I made attempts to arrange a second marriage for the beautiful widow.
Second marriage: Duchess of Suffolk
Mary had been unhappy with her marriage of state to King Louis XII, as at this time, she was almost certainly already in love with Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. King Henry VIII was aware of his sister Mary's feelings; letters from his sister in 1515 indicated that Mary agreed to wed King Louis only on condition that "if she survived him, she should marry whom she liked." However, King Henry VIII wanted any future marriage to be to his advantage. The King's Council, not wishing to see Charles Brandon gain further power at court, were also opposed to the match. Meanwhile, rumors swirled in France that she would wed either Antoine, Duke of Lorraine or Charles III, Duke of Savoy. At one point, even King Francis I, perhaps in hope of his wife Queen Claude's death, had himself been one of Mary's suitors in the first week of her widowhood, in which Mary had asserted that she had given him her confidence inorder to avoid his overtures. A pair of French friars went so far as to warn Mary that she must not wed Charles Brandon because he "had traffickings with the devil."
When King Henry VIII sent Charles to bring Mary back to England in late January 1515, he made the Duke promise that he would not propose to her. However once in France, Mary persuaded Charles to abandon this pledge. The couple wed in secret at the Hotel de Clugny on 3 March 1515 in the presence of just 10 people, among them was King Francis I. Technically, this was treason as Charles Brandon had married a royal princess without King Henry's consent. Thus, King Henry VIII was outraged, and the privy council urged that Charles should be imprisoned or executed. Because of the intervention of Thomas Wolsey, and King Henry's affection for both his sister and Charles, the couple were given only a heavy fine. The fine was a payment of £24,000 to be paid to the King in yearly installments of £1000, as well as the whole of Mary's dowry from King Louis XII of £200,000, together with her gold plate and jewels which had been given or promised to Mary by King Louis. The fine of £24,000, approximately equivalent to £7,200,000 today, was later reduced by the King. They officially later married on 13 May 1515 at Greenwich Palace in the presence of King Henry VIII and his courtiers. Then in 1528, Charles secured a papal bull from Pope Clement VII legitimizing his marriage with Mary.
Mary was Charles Brandon's third wife, and he had two daughters, Anne and Mary, by his second marriage to Anne Browne. She had died in 1511. Mary would raise the girls with her own children. Even after her second marriage, Mary was normally referred to at the English court as "the French Queen", and was not known as "the Duchess of Suffolk" in her lifetime, despite being legally allowed to be. Mary spent most of her time at the Duke's country seat of Westhorpe Hall in Suffolk.
In the late 1520s, relations between King Henry VIII and his sister Mary were strained when she opposed the King's attempt to obtain an annulment from his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, whom Mary had known for many years. Mary developed a strong dislike for Anne Boleyn (King Henry's intended wife), whom she had first encountered in France. Anne and her sister Mary Boleyn had been among the maids of honor in the entourage that had accompanied Mary to France for her wedding to King Louis XII.
Mary suffered multiple bouts of illness, requiring treatments over her lifetime. She died, age 37, at Westhorpe Hall, Suffolk, on 25 June 1533, having never fully recovered from the Sweating Sickness she caught in 1528. The cause of death has been speculated to have been angina, tuberculosis, appendicitis, or cancer.
As an English princess, daughter of a king, sister to the current king, and a dowager queen of France, Mary Tudor's funeral and interment was conducted with much heraldic ceremony. A requiem mass was held at Westminster Abbey. Her body was embalmed and held in state at Westhorpe Hall for three weeks.
On the 20th of July 1533, a delegation from France joined the English delegation for the lavish funeral ceremony. Her daughter Frances was chief mourner, accompanied by her husband and siblings. Mary's husband and her brother the king did not attend.
The funeral procession included 100 torch bearers, clergy carrying the cross, six horses pulling the hearse, other nobility and 100 of the duke's yeomen. The next day, followed a requiem mass and burial at Bury St. Edmunds Abbey. After the death of Mary Tudor, her step-daughters, Anne and Mary, pushed themselves to the head of the funeral cortege just before the coffin was lowered into the crypt of the Abbey of St Edmundsbury, much to the consternation of their half-siblings.
Five years later, when the monastery was dissolved, Mary's body was removed to nearby St. Mary's Church, Bury St. Edmunds. In 1784, her remains were disinterred, her coffin opened, and locks of her hair were taken by Horace Walpole, the duchess of Portland, and several others.
Mary and Charles had four children, two daughters and two sons:
- Henry Brandon (11 March 1516 – 1522)
- Lady Frances Brandon (16 July 1517 – 20 November 1559), who married Henry Grey, 3rd Marquess of Dorset, and was the mother of Lady Jane Grey.
- Lady Eleanor Brandon (1519 – 27 September 1547), who married Henry Clifford, 2nd Earl of Cumberland.
- Henry Brandon, 1st Earl of Lincoln (c. 1523 – March 1534).
Mary and Charles raised their children at their home at Westhorpe Hall. Their two sons, both named Henry, are commonly mistaken for being the same son. Both boys died when they were children.
Mary's widower would later marry their son's (Henry Brandon, Earl of Lincoln) betrothed, who was also his ward, the 14-year-old Catherine Willoughby, by whom he would have his two youngest sons.
In popular culture
- Mary was portrayed by silent screen star Marion Davies, opposite Lyn Harding, who portrayed her brother Henry VIII in the 1922 film When Knighthood Was in Flower by Robert G. Vignola, reputed to have been, at the time of its release, the most expensive film ever made. It was one of Davies' biggest hits.
- Another fictionalized version of Mary is portrayed in the 1953 Walt Disney film The Sword and the Rose, starring Richard Todd and Glynis Johns.
The drama series The Tudors: portrays the relationship between Mary and Charles Brandon, though the character is named Princess Margaret, and is a composite of Mary and her sister Margaret Tudor, portrayed by Gabrielle Anwar. Charles Brandon is portrayed by Henry Cavill. Many liberties have been taken with the story. For example, in the television series, Henry arranges his sister's marriage with the aged king of Portugal (who, at the time, would be John III of Portugal, in his 20s), not of France, in the mid-1520s. Margaret/Mary then kills her husband. Another fictitious sub-plot has Henry's making Charles Brandon the duke of Suffolk so the latter would be of appropriate rank to give away Henry's sister at her supposed wedding to the king of Portugal. In the story, the Tudor/Brandon marriage soon cools and no mention is made of their four children.
This section does not cite any sources. (February 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
She is the main character in several historical fiction novels:
- When Knighthood Was in Flower, by Edwin Caskoden (the pen name of Charles Major) (1898), the novel was the source material for both the Davies and the Disney films
- The Reluctant Queen by Molly Costain Haycraft (1962)
- Mary, Queen of France by Jean Plaidy (1964)
- Princess of Desire by Maureen Peters (1970)
- Rose of England by Hilda Lewis (1977)
- Heart of a Rose by Hilda Lewis (1978)
- The Secret Bride by Diane Haeger (2008)
- The Last Boleyn by Karen Harper
- Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory (2016)
|Ancestors of Mary Tudor, Queen of France|
- Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 36 pp. 397–400 MacMillan: London, 1893
- Sadlack, Erin A., The French Queen's Letters: Mary Tudor Brandon and the Politics of Marriage in Sixteenth-Century Europe, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), p. 44.
- Guicciardini, Francesco, Storia d'Italia, Lib. XII, cap. 9
- Weir, Alison. Henry VIII: King and Court. Pimlico. 2002, ISBN 0-7126-6451-3, p. 173.
- Weir, "Henry VIII," p. 178
- Weir, Alison. Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy p. 152 London: Random House, 2011
- Yonge, Charlotte Mary. The War of the Roses, p. 335 London: Macmillan and Company, 1877
- Weir, "Henry VIII," p. 184
- Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 36 pp. 397–400 MacMillan: London, 1893
- James, Susan E. The Feminine Dynamic in English Art, 1485–1603: Women as Consumers, Patrons and Painters p. 40 Ashgate: London, 2009
- Weir, "Henry VIII," p. 185.
- Weir, "Henry VIII," p. 310.
- Weir, "Henry VIII," p. 175.
- Chapman, p.212
- "The Tudors Official Page CBC
- Goff, Cecilie (1930). A Woman of the Tudor Age. London: John Murray.
- Plowden, Alison (1986). Lady Jane Grey and the House of Suffolk. Franklin Watts. ISBN 0-531-15000-3.
- Perry, Maria (2000). The Sisters of Henry VIII: The Tumultuous Lives of Margaret of Scotland and Mary of France. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80989-3.
- Richardson, W.C. (1970). Mary Tudor: The White Queen. Peter Owen Publishers. ISBN 0-7206-5206-5.
- Weir, Alison (2002). Henry VIII: King and Court. Pimlico. ISBN 0-7126-6451-3.
- Brown, Mary Croom. Mary Tudor: queen of France (1911) online
- Chapman, Hester W. (1969), The Thistle and the Rose: The Sisters of Henry VIII, New York: Coward, McGann & Geoghegan, LCC 79-159754.
- A short biography
- Mary Tudor Gallery
- studies about famous tapestries representing Mary Tudor
- Images from the Festival Book of the Betrothal to Charles of Castile
Mary Tudor, Queen of FranceBorn: 18 March 1496 Died: 25 June 1533
Title last held byAnne of Brittany
|Queen consort of France
9 October 1514 – 1 January 1515
Claude of France