On this day in 1514 – Princess Mary Tudor was married by proxy to King Louis XII

When King Henry VIII ascended the throne he worked on ensuring his alliances were secure for the future. The King arranged for his sister, Princess Mary, to marry his nephew in law the future Holy Roman Emperor, Charles. However, after a series of diplomatic delays and secret talks between Spain and France Henry called off the betrothal. It is believed that Mary was pleased with her brother’s decision as she did not wish to marry someone four years younger than herself.

With Henry’s decision Mary was once again available and marriage negotiations began once again. If Mary was unpleased with her brother’s first choice of someone four year younger then his next choice would be would really displease her! Henry had negotiated for his sister to marry the King of France, King Louis XII, who was 34 years older than Mary.

Mary upon learning the news that she was to be married to a King who had been described as ‘feeble and pocky’ wept and begged to marry Charles. Mary reluctantly agreed to marry the aged King but on the condition that when she was widowed she could choose her next husband and it would be a marriage based on love. Henry agreed to this in order to send his sister off to France quickly and peaceful but also because he knew who it was that she loved, his best friend, Charles Brandon.

On 13th August 1514 a proxy marriage took place at Greenwich Palace with the Duc de Longueville standing in for the aged King. The marriage was even declared consummated and therefore legal when Mary lay down on a bed with the Duc de Longueville and he touched her body with his naked leg. A wedding feast took place after the ceremony and Mary was gifted jewels and a trousseau that befitted a Queen of France.

Mary set sail for France on 2nd October after bad weather delayed the voyage. Four ships of the 14 that set sail landed in Boulogne and the party continued on towards Abbeville. It was recorded that she wore an outfit made from cloth of gold on crimson with tight sleeves and in the English fashion. She also wore a crimson hat that was worn at a slant over one eye. Mary would meet her new husband in an arranged accident just outside of Abbeville and they were officially married within the city.

Mary became the Queen of France. However, just 82 days later on 31st December 1514 King Louis XII abruptly died. It is believed that his marital activities put a strain on his weakened body. Mary was now a Queen dowager but was put into seclusion for 40 days until it was known whether or not she was carrying the future King of France. Mary was not pregnant and sent to the Hotel De Cluny to see out the mourning period. From here she wrote to her brother back in England begging to return to her home country and that he upheld his promise.

Mary was visited by the new King Francis who hoped to keep the English French alliance that was rapidly breaking down. With some careful words Mary was frightened about her future and confessed to the King her love for Charles Brandon. Upon hearing this he promised to do all that he could to help the Queen dowager. When Brandon arrived to escort Mary home Francis called him into a private meeting and declared that he would do all he could to help Brandon marry Mary. With that Mary and Charles Brandon married in February 1515 in a small chapel of the Palais De Cluny.

Mary TudorPrincess Mary Tudor

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