exact date of the birth of Mary Tudor, the fifth child of Henry VII and Elizabeth
of York, is not recorded. It is assumed that she was born March 18, 1496, according
to a note in her mother's psalter which there is no good reason to doubt. This
psalter remains in Exeter College Library in Oxford. The date of Mary's
birth is also indicated by the authorisation of a payment of 50s by Privy Seal
bill to the child's nurse, Anne Shenan, at Michaelmas 1496, suggesting that she
was engaged in the spring.
Her full name is (too) often confused with
her niece, the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, The Bloody Mary,
or Mary the Catholic, Queen of England from 1552 to 1558.
mother, Elizabeth of York (1466-1503),
known as Bessie, was the daughter of Edward IV of York and Elizabeth Woodville.
Her marriage, January 18, 1486, with King Henry VII Tudor symbolically ended the
War of the Roses. She died six years before Henry VII, exhausted by many pregnancies.
She had eight children of whom only three survived her. Edmund and Catherine died
before 1 year, 3 years to Elizabeth, Arthur at 15. Only survived Margaret, Henry
died the day of his 37th birthday, due to puerperal infection, nine days after
giving birth to Catherine Tudor, born and died the same day, February 2, 1503.
It is the only English Queen to have been a wife, daughter, sister, niece and
mother to English kings.
father, Henry VII Tudor (1456-1509) (King
of England from 1485) was :
- The son of Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond and
Margaret Beaufort (1509 )
- The grand-son of Owen Tudor and Catherine
of Valois ( 1456) (widow of Henry V, King of England 1422), daughter
of Charles VI the Mad King of France and Isabeau of Bavaria who had 12 children
When Edward IV of England, Duke of York,
regained the throne in 1471, Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, the last man of the
branch of Lancaster, fled to Brittany, where he spent most of the next fourteen
years, until 1485. There he learned the Breton language.
Roland de Vieilleville or Velville (1474 - 25 June 1535) was thought
to be an illegitimate son of King Henry VII of England by "a Breton lady".
In 1509, he was appointed Constable of Beaumaris Castle in Wales, a position he
held till his death. He was knighted in 1497
By his wife born Agnes Griffith,
he had a daughter, Jane Velville, who became the wife of Tudor ap Robert Vychan.
Jane Velville and her husband in turn were the parents of Katherine of Berain,
commonly referred to as "the mother of Wales".
future Henry VII was 28 when he arrived in France, Antoine Le Viste (the sponsor
of The Lady and the Unicorn) was about 15 years.
royales Tudor - 1486 - British Library
hold the coat of arms of Henry VII, bearing fleur-de-lys and lions and surmounted
by a crown.
The border is decorated with stylised representations of flowers.
The red and white roses represent the royal houses of York and Lancaster.
The white greyhound and red dragon are symbols of Henry VII.
From an elegiac
poem in Latin in praise of Henry VII and in celebration of the birth of Prince
of Tudor Coat of Arms
of Mary, our Lady, granted her the obstinate character of the Tudors. Her first
and only act of defiance was undoubtedly her marriage with Charles Brandon, Duke
of Suffolk, (perhaps) against the will of her brother Henry VIII. She applied
her motto : God's will is sufficient
Back in England, in
the shadow of History, she reappears in great ceremonies : at the Court receptions,
in The Field of Cloth of Gold. The painful episode of his granddaughter, Lady
Jane Grey, recalls her to the memory of the historians.
biographer Walter C. Richardson (Boyd Professor of History at Louisiana
State University), presents her as an honest, morally upright in all her actions
(Mary Tudor, The White Queen, published by Peter Owen, London, 1970).
Erasmus saw Mary child. To a friend, he relates in a letter his arrival
to the palace of Greenwich :
the royal nursery moved to Eltham, where Mary received most of her early education.
There in the late spring or early summer of 1499 her second memorable experience
occurred when she met Erasmus, later to be so intimately associated with the growing
humanism of the English Renaissance. He had been persuaded to come to England
by William Blount, Lord Mountjoy, a former pupil of his in Paris ; while staying
at Mountjoy's house in Greenwich he was visited by Thomas More, who took him to
Eltham Palace nearby to see the King's children. They were all there, Erasmus
writes, except Arthur, who by tint time had his own household elsewhere. His account
of the meeting is interesting in that he gives both his impression of the future
Henry VIII, and a definite assertion of Mary's age which must have come from More
When we carne into the hall, attendants not only of the palace, but also of Mountjoy's
household, were all assembled. In the midst stood Prince Henry, now nine years
old, and having already something of royalty in his demeanour in which there was
a certain dignity combined with singular courtesy. On his right was Margaret,
about eleven years of age, afterwards married to James, King of Scots ; and on
his left played Mary, a child of four. Edmund was an infant in arms
then went to London to write, at Prince Henry's request, a panegyrical poem in
praise of England, which he presented to the boy with a respectful dedication."
niuei tantum fastigia protulit oris,
Sensim at dehiscens turgidos rumpit
Here's another which reveals its snowy tip,
And slowly breaks his turgid calyx.
Frank Cadogan Cowper - The New Learning - v. 1910
and Thomas More visit the children of Henry VII at Greenwich in 1499.
of six paintings executed in 1910 for "The Houses of Parliament" in
Mary sings in Latin, in his Ode to tell the merits of England's King Henry
VII and the royal children of 1499, after his visit to the nursery of the
royal palace of Henry VII. A few distiches later, he continues :
quid Maria praeclari spondet ab ipso
Nunquam occidentis syderis cognomine.
I do not
know what Mary will do with her illustrious name
From a star that never goes
between Margaret and Henry
November, 1498, Mary received her first proposal of marriage. This offer came
from Milan, whose duke, Ludovico Sforza, Il Moro, requested her hand for his son,
Massimiliano, the Count of Pavia. An Anglo-Milanese alliance would then have been
most advantageous to Il Moro, since Italy was under threat of another French invasion
by Louis XII, who had just acceded to the throne and was preparing to make good
his claim to Milan. Henry's refusal was courteous but firm.
education was interrupted in 1508 by her betrothal and proxy marriage to Prince
Charles of Castile, son of Philip of Burgundy and Joanna of Spain, which took
place after over eight years of difficult bargaining. Owing to Charles's youth,
consummation of the union was postponed for another four years, after which the
Princess was to be delivered to her husband at the Court of his aunt Margaret,
Regent of the Netherlands.
1514, these long engagement to Mary with the future Charles V are interrupted
by Henry VIII. A separate peace treaty is signed with France in which the marriage
of Mary with Louis XII is stipulated.
to a Venetian account, calling for a young hawk to be brought to him the Prince
Charles began methodically to pluck it alive, feather by feather. When his startled
councilors remonstrated he answered bitterly : " Thou asketh me why I
plucked this hawk ! He is young you see, and has not yet been trained, and because
he is young he is held in small account, and because he is young he squeaked not
when I plucked him. Thus have you done by me : I am young, you have plucked me
at your good pleasure, and because I was young I knew not how to complain, but
bear in mind that for the future I shall pluck you. " Is the story true
or not ?
Louis XII wants a son more than anything ! Why does he not remarry for a third
Pope Leo X thinks that marriage to oppose the occupation of Italy and
the dismemberment of the Papal States by Austria and Spain. The
idea is to reconcile France and England through his legate Wolsey, Cardinal of
York, chaplain and councilor of Henry VIII.
Mary advantageously replace, for the gain of France, a war in alliance with the
Emperor Maximilian and King Ferdinand of Aragon-Castile ! England
would gain in security that France should "keep one foot in the boot of Italy"
.... and this marriage brought Thérouanne, Tournai and one million of ecus
to the English crown !
the five women selected, Louis XII chooses to marry Mary, especially after contemplating
the portrait of Mary painted by Jean Perréal !
and Mary TUDOR BRANDON
to Jean Perréal
Musée des Arts
Décoratifs - Paris
of Mary Tudor, 1514-1515
in mourning for Louis XII
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
Touch -The Tent
of the portrait of marriage
with Charles Brandon,
Duke of Suffolk
August 1514, Wolsey negotiates an alliance with France : England keeps the city
of Tournai, and the sister of Henry VIII, the lovely Mary, aged eighteen, becomes
the third wife of King of France, Louis XII.
England's former allies were trying to foresee her next move, the marriage by
proxy between Mary and Louis took place publicly at Greenwich on August 13, 1514,
in the presence of the King and Queen and all the Court. Wolsey and Suffolk were
there, with Norfolk, Dorset, Buckingham, and the principal earls of the realm.
For furthering the cause of France, Wolsey and Suffolk had been rewarded by Louis
with pensions, which Francis I continued to honor for the first five years of
his reign. Suffolk received 875 livres tournois per year, a substantial sum for
a young man without church, family, or social connections to recommend him. Wolsey,
who received three times this sum, had the backing of the Papacy from whom he
was soon to inveigle a cardinalate.
contemporaries are full of praise about her : for a Venetian ambassador, she
is a paradise ! She is tall, blonde, fair skin and colored, very affable,
gracious, "she looks like a nymph come down from
heaven". Her manners are delicious, both in conversation and in
dance. She can sing, play the lute and harpsichord.
Perréal painted her in England, where Louis XII sent him.
August 13, 1514, takes place the betrothal ceremony. The dignitaries assembled
in the Great Banquet Hall at Greenwich early in the morning, three hours before
the royal party arrived. In silk and cloth of gold, the English lords waited ;
around them the walls were hung with arras of gold, laced with an embroidered
frieze emblazoning the royal arms of France and England.
and Catherine led the bridal group, Mary and her ladies immediately preceding
the French delegation. The King of France was represented by Louis d'Orléans,
Duc de Longueville, aided by two ministers especially sent to England for the
peace conference, John de Silva, President of Normandy, and the French general,
Thomas Boyer. Papal envoys were present but the Spanish ambassador, if invited,
disdained to come. The Archbishop of Canterbury, William Warham, presided, assisted
by Wolsey and the senior English lords.
ceremony opened with a Latin address by Warham, to which De Silva made the formal
reply that his master, the Most Christian King, was desirous of taking the Lady
Mary to wife. The French authorization for the proxy marriage, read by the Bishop
of Durham, was followed by the espousal per verba de praesenti ; holding
Mary's right hand in his, De Longueville spoke Louis's vows in French, to which
she replied in the same tongue ; the ring was placed on the fourth finger of her
right hand, the kiss given, and the marriage schedule signed. It was very reminiscent
of her first proxy marriage six years earlier, which the same Archbishop had pronounced
just as 'holy.'
symbolism, supposed to add irrevocability to the union was then enacted : Mary
changed from her wedding gown into an elaborate nightdress, while De Longueville,
clad in doublet and red hose to match her 'magnificent deshabillé', bared
one leg to the thigh ; theoretically prepared for sexual relations, they lay down
together long enough for him to touch her body with his naked leg, after which
Warham declared the marriage consummated."
thought of war was forgotten in the fever of preparation for Mary's departure,
and she was the distinguished guest at many entertainments and celebrations in
Her trousseau was again superb, though some of the clothing and
equipment bought for her abortive journey to the Netherlands must have been used.
For the second time in a few months Henry provided lavishly and deliberately for
his sister, the worth of her personal wardrobe being estimated at more than £43,300.
Several items suggest that, where possible support was given to home industry,
as the £10 13s. 4d. for hose and the £84 19s. 6 ½ d. paid to
John Ring, the royal skinner, for the furring of a dozen gowns by order of the
King's Council ; since English cloth was not esteemed because the colors were
poor, expensive imported fabrics were mostly used.
the beautiful hangings and tapestries from Brussels were seven special pieces
representing the story of Hercules. Sixteen of her gowns including the wedding
dress were in the French fashion, six were in Milanese style, and seven in English,
each with its own chemise, girdle, and accessories, Many of the accounts of workmen
employed in procuring and working up the raw materials have been preserved ; tailors,
embroiderers, hosiers, cordwainers, 'casemakers', chariot makers, bedmakers, saddlers,
painters, seamstresses, spangle workers, and gold-wire drawers all did their part
in making Mary's trousseau a fitting one for the Queen of France.
jewelry was of equally royal quality : gold chains and bracelets, carcanets of
diamonds and rubies, pearled aiguillettes, golden, gem-studded frontlets, brooches,
rings, medallions, and fleur-de-lis ornaments. Her servants' uniforms, her chapel
fixtures, and her great seal and privy seal all proclaimed her rank while painted
panels spelled out her motto in letters of gold : " La volonté de
Dieu me suffit ". Mary Tudor was sent forth with ail the trappings of royalty.
signature and seal - British Museum
the french quene"
of arms of Mary, Queen of France
XII, previously old and broken, tried, with gifts and loving care, to forget his
age to the princess. The day of the wedding,
he gave her a very beautiful diamond with a ruby over two inches long, estimated
at ten thousand "marcs", and the next day another ruby two and a half
inches long, large as a finger, suspended at each end to a chain of gold. The
next day he gave her a beautiful diamond from which hung a large round pearl.
He had of a gout attack which kept him several days in Abbeville, and Mary did
not leave him for a moment. "She
is always with him, told the ambassadors in their letter to the King of
England, and done for him what can a woman do to her husband."
a foreign country ...
Louis's previous queen had earlier undermined his authority with a household of
Breton attendants, and with this still rankling in his memory he summarily dismissed
almost all Mary's English staff, including Lady Guildford. Sister of Sir Nicholas
Vaux, Lord Vaux of Harrowden, Joan Guildford was the widow of Sir Richard Guildford,
controller of the household and trusted friend of Henry VII. As a "protégée"
of the Countess of Richmond she had served the family for a long time, first as
Mary's governess and now as her chief Lady of Honor. Affectionately called "Mother
Guildford", she was not only the senior of all the Queen's ladies-in-waiting
but her mentor and bosom companion as well. Her affection for and complete dependence
upon Lady Guildford, rather than anger at the King's initiative, were the real
reasons for Mary's alarm.
Holbein the Younger - Mary, Lady Guildford
1527 - Art Museum of Saint
first related to Henry and Wolsey, this action had the appearance of a personal
affront to Mary, and if such were really so was grounds for formal protest to
be lodged. Mary herself was both indignant and frightened. Visions of being in
a foreign country attended by no mature woman whom she could trust appalled her.
Understandably she spilled out her grief to Henry, the appeal not of a queen but
of a lonely, homesick sister :
My good Brother, as heartily as I can I recommend me unto your Grace, marvelling
much that I never heard from you since our departing, so often as I have sent
and written unto you. And now am I left most alone in effect, for on the morn
after marriage my chamberlain and all other men servants were discharged, and
in like wise my mother Guildford with other my women and maidens, except such
as never had experience nor knowledge how to advertise or give me counsel in any
time of need, which is to be feared more shortly than your grace thought at the
time of my departing, as my mother Guildford can more plainly shew your Grace
than I can write, to whom I beseech you to give credence. And if it may be by
any mean possible I humbly require you to cause my said mother Guildford to repair
hither once again. For else if any chance hap other than weal I shall not know
where for by whom to ask any good counsel to your pleasure nor yet to mine own
I marvel much that my lord
of Norfolk would at all times so lightly grant everything at their request here.
I am well assured that when you know the truth of everything as my mother Guildford
can shew you, ye would full little have thought I should have been thus intreated
; that would God my lord of York [Wolsey] had come with me in the room of Norfolk
; for then I am sure I should have been left much more at my heartsease than I
am now. And thus I bid your Grace farewell with . . . [letter mutilated] as ever
had Prince : and more heartsease than I have now. [I beseech] give credence to
my mother Guildford.
By your loving sister,
Mary, Queen of France
October 12, 1514]
Obviously Mary was
afraid that Louis might die unexpectedly, leaving her stranded in France at the
mercy of Louise of Savoy and Francis, both of whom she was soon to have every
reason to distrust."
Virgini pariturae, the Virgin who must give birth. The
king wanted a son ! At the entrance of Mary in Paris, the last show before the
door of the royal castle represented France as a garden where were sitting the
king and the queen ; above included a scene of the Annunciation.
: ... ecce concipies
in utero et paries filium ... Mary :
... ecce ancilla Domini fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.
Some presences of lilies on
clothing or objects belonging to the Lady
Rapid death of Louis XII and
her decision to marry (and getting married by) Charles Brandon in Cluny even be
saved her from premature death due to multiple pregnancies and difficult childbirth.
However, after having given birth to three children, she died in 1533 at age 37.
Very young !
Widow, she has not played
a prominent political role as Margaret of Austria and Louise of Savoy, but she
did not have the tragic end of Crazy Jane, Catherine of Aragon, Isabella of Austria
and Marie Stuart.
from Mary to Henry VIII of March 6, 1515
On the death of Louis XII, Mary refused to be again "sacrificed for reasons
of state", that many princesses have accepted "without apparent revolt".
Her tenacity, her courage and insight, love of a brother yet ruthless, have allowed
her to escape the fate thus invoked by Bartolome Bennassar : "among women
of past centuries, queens and princesses often counted among the victims more
pitiful. " (Le Lit, le Pouvoir et la Mort, Reines et Princesses d'Europe
de la Renaissance aux Lumières, Editions de Fallois, 2006)
the solitude and the darkness of her quarantine at Cluny, the example of her sister
in law, Catherine of Aragon, (rootlessness far from her native country, remarriage
to his brother Henry after Arthur's death, three stillbirths and premature deaths
of two infants from 1510 to 1514), showed her the way of salvation. " But
only a few young women found themselves in a position to really rebuild their
Jean Perréal, Mary Tudor Brandon
Cabinet des Dessins et Estampes, inv. 3911 F.
are poems dedicated to Mary, written by Friar Loys Du Bois or Silvius, a Benedictine
monk of Le Mans, of the abbey of La Couture. He called himself "Philologus",
as unusual in the early sixteenth century. He had to travel, he wrote in Latin,
Italian and Spanish. He died in 1517.
messer Lodovico Silvio Mauro, philologo di Cenomanese, alla regina Maria Anglesche,
vidua, in la lingua italica toscana.
el consortio d'ogni altro animale,
Di fede armata e cincta di pietà,
La tortora che perso el compagno ha,
Nè al verde ramo più
stende sua ale.
a natura quanto fede cale
Se un cor sanza razon solitar sta
piacer, Amor che fa
Che'l nodo conjugal poi morte vale ?
in generoso pecto geme el core
Qual deste ad un che tene priva morte,
l'onesto e sacro amore
viver comme vol tua dura sorte,
Non si da palma mai sanza labore.
sal Lucretia forte.
Molte altre troverai. Lege questa opra
Che tua viduità
di virtù copra.
de la muy alta Maria Inglese, reyina de Francia,
; fecha e compuesta en lengua castellana o espágnola.
Muerte perversa, dy por quales leyies
Pudiste y quisiste biuda dexar
tam noble y tan singular,
Hija y muger y hermana de rreyies ?
grave dolor ! O tristes tricteczas !
O Muerte maligna, dexaras segura
sublime rreyina de tanta hermozura,
De tan gran linage, de tantas riqueczas
Altas caidas no suelen
Si no a altas personas y grandes estados ;
Mas los coraczones modestos
Con patientia suelon sus males sufrir.
esso, muy linda, muy noble, excellente,
Magnifica, bella, casta, benigna,
Infelice, reyna soys de mas bien digna,
Quanto biuda os monstrais mas
PICOT, Les Français italianisants au XVIè siècle,
Tome 1, Burt Franklin, New York, 1968)
Tudor as Queen of France
drawn in late 1514 by an unknown artist
Ashmolean Museum - Oxford
Tapestry in Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent.
"Hever Castle tapestry depicting the marriage of Louis XII of France and Mary Tudor" on website Pinterest.
"Flemish 16th century tapestry of the weddding of Mary Tudor" on website delcampe.net
of Mary of England in October - Décember 1514
ms. fr. n. a. 9175 - folios 365-366)
Caroline zum Kolk, La Maison des reines de France au 16e siècle.
Nobles, officiers et domestiques (1494-1590), Paris, Cour de France.fr, 2007.
Base de données mise en ligne le 19 décembre.
Jacques de|| Chaplain
Jeanne||Ladies and misses|
Sr de la Poissoniere
Marie||Ladies and misses|
Sr de la Rivière
Thomas||Valet for cutting|
Anthoine de, |
dit le Poulain
Jean de, |
Sr de Jussy, chevalier
Jeanne||Ladies and misses|
sur du marquis d'Angleterre
frère du marquis d'Angleterre
Riviere, Jeanne de||Ladies
Tour, Anne de, |
vicomtesse de Turenne
Vallée, Anne de||Ladies
Françoise de, |
of the Queen|
Sr de Concressault
duke of SUFFOLK
Born around 1484, Charles Brandon is a "managed" whose father, William
Brandon, was killed during the War of the Roses, at the battle of Bosworth in
1485, according to the chronicle by Richard III himself.
Around 1494, an orphan,
he became the companion of Prince Arthur and Henry, both sharing their mutual
passion for hunting, horseback riding, the jousting, the game of tennis and all
physical activities of future warriors.
From 1515, Charles Brandon was, after
Wolsey, the most influential politician in England. His career was the prototype
of the new aristocracy that emerged through greater social mobility; his ascension,
like that of many companions of Henry VIII, was rapid, favors arriving almost
automatically and frequently without being solicited.
an unknown artist
of Henry VIII, he was created Duke of Suffolk in 1514 by inheriting title and
lands confiscated from Edmund de la Pole, "White Rose", imprisoned for
seven years at the Tower of London and executed in 1513 for Yorkists sympathies
of the family. Charles Brandon became one of the most important three peers and
one of the richest landowners in the country.
2- Margaret Mortimer
3- Anne Browne (? - 1511)
5- Catherine Willoughby (1533-1545)
In the Oxford
Dictionary of National Biography, at the entrance "Brandon", Steven
Gunn writes : "In early 1508, he secretly married Anne Browne in the church
of Stepney, and then publicly in St. Michael Cornhill. Between 1506 and 1509,
they had a daughter, Anne, whose legitimacy was questioned later depending on
the accuracy of events. Iin the summer of 1510, their second daughter, Mary, undeniably
legitimate, was born. Anne Browne died shortly after. At that time or later, Brandon
was also the father of three "bastards", Charles, later Sir Charles
Brandon Sigston (d. 1551), Mary, who married Robert Ball of Scottow, and Frances,
who married successively William and Andrew Sandon Bilsby. "
With Anne Browne
1. Anne Brandon (c.1506/1509
2. Mary Brandon (1510
Lady Monteagle - daughter of Charles Brandon
and Anne Browne
She married Sir Thomas Stanley, 2nd Lord Monteagle.
Various sources suggest that Charles Brandon had "illegitimate" children
1. Charles, married
Elizabeth, widow of Sir James Strangways (1410-1480)
2. Frances married
h William Sandon, then Andrew Bilsby
3. Mary, married Robert Ball of
With Mary of England, Queen Dowager of France
Henry Brandon (March 11, 1516 to 1522)
2. Frances Brandon
(July 16, 1517 - November 20, 1559), who married Henry Grey, 3rd Marquess of Dorset
and Duke of Suffolk, and Adrian Stokes as his second wife. She is the mother of
Lady Jane Grey.
3. Eleanor Brandon (1519 - September 27, 1547),
who married Henry Clifford, 2nd Earl of Cumberland.
4. Henry Brandon (1522
- March 1, 1534) created the first Earl of Lincoln in 1525.
With Catherine Willoughby (c. 1519 - 1580)
the death of Charles Brandon, she married, about 1553, Richard Bertie, son of
Thomas and Bertie Aline Say.
Henry Brandon, 2nd Duke of Suffolk (18 September 1535 - 14 July 1551)
2. Charles Brandon, 3rd Duke of Suffolk (1537 - 14 July 1551)
Baroness Willoughby de Eresby
2nd duke of Suffolk
Hans Holbein - 1541
Royal Collection - Windsor Castle
3rd duke of Suffolk
Hans Holbein - 1541
Royal Collection - Windsor Castle
Brandon's life is told in the book of Steven J. Gunn,
Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1988.
Tudor and Francis of Angoulême
relationship between Francis of Angouleme (which is not yet king) and Mary were
highly colored by fantasies based only on the rumor of the Court and on contemporary
Walter Richardson categorically rejects the allegation (repeated
ad nauseam since Brantome talked about of them) that Mary wished at any price
a male child and she was ready to take a lover to do. The charge is neither logical
nor realistic nor supported by the facts, but only explained by the jealous zeal
of Louise of Savoy, who wants to protect the throne promised to her son.
Richardson writes pages 138-139 :
Mary herself was probably unaware of the diplomatic implications of her relationship
with Francis ; she only knew that his attitude toward her was different. While
publicly as courteous and urbane as ever, still calling her his "belle mere",
privately his behavior had changed. Professing his loyalty to her and his intention
of paying her dower in full, he promised Henry complete fidelity, "that he
would neither do her wrong, nor suffer her to take wrong of any other person,
and to be to her as a loving son should be to his mother" ; to Mary he pledged
continued friendship, asking her to write to her brother "how lovingly he
had behaved to her." Just how loving he was Mary never divulged, though she
does refer to his frequent visits to Cluny. When asked about his treatment of
her since Louis's death, she replied "that he had been in hand with her of
many matters", but that on hearing of Suffolk's arrival he bad promised "that
he would trouble her no more with no such matter", begging her to tell neither
the ambassador for her brother of his proposals, lest Henry should take "unkindness
there in". She gave this explanation to the English ministers on the fifth
of February, 1515, during their first conversation with her after reaching Paris,
later telling Suffolk privately that "from the first the King was importunate
with her in divers matters not to her honour". The statements are Suffolk's
version of what she said, and reveal less than do her own words written to Henry
ten days later :
your Grace, the French King on Tuesday night last [past] came to visit me, and
[had] with me many divers [discours]ing among the which he demanded me whether
I had [ever] made any promise of marriage in any place, assuring me upon his honour,
upon the word of a prince, that in case I would be plain [with] him in that affair
he would do for me therein to the best of his power, whether it were in his realm
or out of the same. Whereunto I answered that I would disclose unto him the [sec]ret
of my heart in hu[mility] as unto the prince of the world after your Grace in
which I m[ost trust], and so de[clared into him] the good mind [which] for divers
consi[derations I] bear to my lord of Suffolk, asking him not only [to grant]
me his favour and consent thereunto, but [also] that he would of his [own] hand
write unto your Grace and pray you to bear your like favour unto me and to be
content with the same. The which he granted me to do, and so hath done
I most humbly beseech you to take this answer which I have [made u]nto the French
King in good part, the which I [did] only to be discharge[ed of th]e extreme pain
and annoyance I was in [by reason] of such suit as [the French Ki]ng made unt[o
me not accord]ing with mine honour, [the wi]ch he hath clearly left [off]. Also,
Sir, I feared greatly [lest in] case that I had kept the matter from his knowledge
that he might not have well entreated my said lord Suffolk, and the rather [for]
to have returned to his [former] malfantasy and suits.
added in a postscript that if Henry refused her request of a choice of husband,
Francis might "renew his suits". Her extreme distaste for such an eventuality
was near despair : "I would rather be out of the world than it should so
For his part, Francis,
although he could think (some claim) of divorce Claude already pregnant and married
Mary, could only encourage Mary to marry Brandon, removing the possibility to
Henry VIII of concluding an alliance with a potential adversary of France.
marriage of Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon
documents have been fairly silent on the relationship between Mary and Charles
before her departure for France. Charles's name was linked to other women, but
not that of Mary. The only records of any relationship are vague references to
an attachment between them they confessed in their retrospect letters written
to Wolsey and Henry from Paris.
That Mary knew how to handle her brother, her letters show, though occasionally
she overdid the flattery or overstepped the bounds of propriety in addressing
him, so that Wolsey, who read most of her correspondence before it reached Henry,
was forced to tone down some of her remarks. Mostly, however, her story supplemented
Brandon's and was an appeal not so much for herself as for her husband, whose
very life was at stake.
the King for sending her such able agents as Suffolk and his associates to comfort
her "in her heaviness" and assist her in obtaining her dower. To them
she was the soul of meekness and cooperation. "She said she was an unkind
sister if she should not follow your mind and pleasure in every behalf",
they reported to Henry, "for there was never princess so much beholden to
her sovereign and brother as she is to your Grace." She had no desire to
stay in France ; rather every day seemed to her like an eternity until she could
get back to England and her brother. As for marrying a foreigner without his approval
"she never would [but rather] suffer the extremity of death." To Henry
she kept reverting to his promise to her, on the word of a king, when they parted
at Dover. The responsibility for their hasty action, she persisted in saying,
was all hers and owed nothing to any persuasion on Brandon's part, her letters
reflecting a natural impulse to shield the man she loved. The restraint and sincerity
of her explanation are marked :
Sir, I will not in any wise deny but that I have offended your Grace, for the
which I do put myself most humbly in your clemency and mercy. Nevertheless to
the intent that your Highness should not think that I had simply, carnally or
of any sensual appetite done the same, I having no regard to fall in your Grace's
displeasure, I assure your Grace that I have never done [without your] ordinance
and consent, but by the reason of the great despair wherein I was put
Sir, I put my Lord of Suffolk in choice whether he would accomplish the marriage
within four days or else that he should never have enjoyed me. Whereby I know
well that I constrained him to break such promises as he had made to your Grace,
as well for fear of loosing me as also that I ascertained him that I
would never come into England."
direct and honest appeal for forgiveness with which she concluded this letter
was likely to be effective with Henry, if not with the Council :
And now that your Grace knoweth the both offences of the which I have been the
only occasion, I most humbly and as your most [sorrow]ful sister requiring you
to have compassion upon us both and to pardon our offences, and that it will please
your Grace to write to me and to my Lord of Suffolk some comfortable words, for
it shall be greatest comfort for us both. By your loving and most humble sister,
are certain :
1 - the promise
of Henry VIII to Mary to let her marry whom she wants after the death of Louis
2- the promise of Brandon
to Henry VIII made at Eltham in early January 1515, clearly demonstrated,
he would make no personal advance to Mary during the time of his first embassy
Henry's answer was long
in coming. Intrigues of the Council in London : some demanded his dismissal, others
his head. Henry's response came in the writings of Wolsey who reported the royal
decision : "you have put yourself in the greatest danger as never man
was, but there is a remedy", financial of course : a fine of 4,000 pounds
of annuities cash, the full marriage of Mary, the return to Henry all her English
silver, jewelery received from Louis XII. The price of pardon was measured in
It seems, from reading the letters
exchanged between all parties in this "secret affair" that neither Wolsey
nor Henry were surprised by the marriage of Mary and Charles Brandon. Henry was
primarily angry that it was done secretly and without the formal agreement. Neither
Henry nor Wolsey did not attach much importance to the social condition of Brandon.
The true love of Mary to Brandon when she married him at Cluny. What began
as hero worship of a young girl had become a deep and sincere affection, especially
in these times of fear and loneliness. Maybe in love with Charles Brandon, Mary
had accepted in "good princess", to marry the Archduke Charles of Austria,
the future Charles V. But marry the old king of fifty-two years on the edge of
the grave was both surprised and distressed that young girl.
Before leaving England, his brother agreed as she remarries she would like when
she would be a widow. But will he hold his promise ?
Even if they had been lovers before marriage of Mary and Louis XII, Suffolk certainly
did not expect to marry Mary in January-February 1515. The disgrace and death
seemed promised to him if Henry wished.
A second public marriage, approved by a bishop, took place the last Saturday of
March according to the Journal of Louise of Savoy. She was 19 and he 31.
She effectively receive her dower until her death in 1533. It consisted of an
annuity of 55,000 "livres" income assigned domain of Saintonge, La Rochelle,
Saint-Jean d'Angely, Rochefort, Chinon, Loudon County and Pezenas ; 10 "livres"
more on each quintal of salt sold in the Languedoc. In
1518, the pension is assigned to 60 950 "livres" ; and in 1523, the
60 250 "livres" which were to return her are not assigned because of
the war with England.
in 1509-1510, the Mary Rose was the emblem ship of the Tudor.
It was sunk
in a battle against the French fleet on July 19, 1545
our lovers could leave Paris April 16, 1515. Francois 1st escorted them to St.
Denis and gave Mary four rings. In Calais, they awaited permission to Henry VIII.
They sailed to Dover on May 2. Mary had left England for exactly seven months.
A third marriage took place officially
on May 13, 1515 in Saint Alfege Church of Greenwich, in the presence of the whole
court. But Suffolk was a bigamist : his first wife, Anne Browne, was still alive.
It was not until 1528 that a papal bull of Clement VII declared invalid the first
union and canonical the union with Mary.
Mary and Charles had three children : Henry, in honor of the brother-king (1516-1534),
Earl of Lincoln ; Frances, born it seems the day of St. Francis (1517-1559), wife
of Henry Grey, Marquess of Dorset, and Adrian Stokes, mother of Lady Jane Grey
who had a fatal destiny ; and Eleanor (1519-1547), wife of Henry Clifford, Earl
She raised the two girls that Brandon had his first marriage
to Anne Browne : Anne (b. 1507) who married Edward, Lord Grey of Powis (1503-1551)
and Mary (b. 1510) who married Thomas Stanley, Lord Monteagle (1507-1570).