Sunday 10 October 2010

October 9th, 1514: The Marriage of Princess Mary Tudor to Louis XII, King of France

On her wonderful website The Anne Boleyn Files, Claire Ridgeway marks the anniversary of the marriage of Henry VIII's youngest sister, the teenage Princess Mary, to the middle-aged widower King Louis XII of France. Commenting on the young princess's arrival, His Grace the Bishop of Asti, then the Ambassador of the Republic of Venice to France, commented: -
"I promise you that she is very handsome, and of sufficiently tall stature (de statura honestamente granda). She appears to me rather pale, though this [I] believe proceeds from the tossing of the sea and from her fright. She does not seem a whit more than 16 years old, and looks very well in the French costume. She is extremely courteous and well mannered, and has come in very sumptuous array…"
Amongst the new Queen of France's retinue was one of the daughters of England's most accomplished diplomat, Sir Thomas Boleyn, the heir-apparent to the Earl of Ormonde. Claire, who is currently writing a series on Anne Boleyn's early life, reasonably hypothesises that the "Mademoiselle Boleyn" mentioned in the household accounts was Sir Thomas's youngest daughter, Anne, although other historians have suggested that it was in fact Anne's elder sister, Mary, and that Anne joined the French Royal Household slightly later. As with everything pertaining to Anne Boleyn's childhood, the sources are less complete than we would like.

The marriage of Louis XII and Mary Tudor lasted less than three months, with the King dying (allegedly of exhaustion) on New Year's Day, 1515. Mary seduced and then eloped her brother's best friend, Charles, Duke of Suffolk and the two returned to England, to try and face down the scandal. Mary was back in London for the birth and christening of her niece, the much more famous of the two Mary Tudors. Mary and Charles's daughter, Frances, was to become the mother of Lady Jane Grey, another iconic and tragic member of the English Royal Family.

To read more on the brief marriage of Louis and Mary, click here to see Claire's account.

1 comment:

  1. It is sad that not more is known about Anne Boleyn's early life. She was a vivacious figure in English history.

    I also find Mary Tudor and her marriage to Norfolk fascinating. She become of interest after my friend discovered she was related to her granddaughter Lady Jane Grey. Royal woman seemed to have always gotten the 'shaft' so to speak. Kings had the youngest and prettiest wives, while their sisters sometimes had to marry middle aged men and live in a strange land.


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