Tag Archives: Mary Rose

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

On this day in 1512 – The Battle of Saint-Mathieu

The Battle of Saint-Mathieu took place on 10th August 1512; the battle was part of the War of the League of Cambrai and happened near Brest, France. The battle was between 25 English ships commanded by Sir Edward Howard and a Franco-Breton fleet that comprised of 22 ships led by René de Clermont.

The English navy controlled the majority of the English Channel and heard of movement with the Franco-Breton navy and took the decision to attack first. Howard was able to surprise the opposition whilst they were still anchored. In a panic the ships in port cut their anchors and set off. At the time of the attack 300 guests were aboard the Breton flagship Marie la Cordelière and were still aboard when the anchor was cut free, the captain Hervé de Portzmoguer was unable to get them off the ship in time. Therefore were forced to sit out the battle on board.

The Marie la Cordelière and Petite Louise, the flag ships of the Franco-Breton navy covered the rest of the navy to help them retreat. Whilst the Marie la Cordelière faced off against the English ship, The Regent, as well as the Sovereign and Mary James. In the mean time the Petite Louise was badly damaged by the Mary Rose.

De Portzmoguer ordered the Marie la Cordelière to attack the Regent and they were able to throw grappling hooks over to tie the two ships together and the crew of the Marie la Cordelière boarded the Regent. Reinforcements were sent from the English to help the Regent. Fighting continued on board the Regent when an explosion ripped through the Marie la Cordelière and sank both ships including the captain of the Regent, Thomas Knyvet.

Over the next two days the English fleet either captured or destroyed 32 enemy ships. As a result of the successful mission Sir Edward Howard was made Lord High Admiral by King Henry VIII.

This battle was just one of two naval battles that were fought by King Henry VIII’s navy.

Cordeliere_and_RegentThe Marie la Cordelière and the Regent ablaze

On this day in 1545 – French troops invaded the Isle of Wight

The Italian War of 1542 – 1546 was a series of wars in the larger Italian Wars that saw England, France, Italy, Spain and the Low Counties fight one another.

France attempted to invade the Isle of Wight for the last time after a series of attempts to capture the island. The French, led by Claude d’Annebault, outnumbered the English but they met twice in battle once in the Solent and then at Bonchurch.

During the Battle of the Solent the English lost their flagship vessel, Mary Rose on 19th July. The English retreated in the hope that they could draw the French into the shallow waters of Spithead. The French would not be drawn into this and instead drew up a plan to bring the English to them and abandon their defensive position by invading the Isle of Wight.

On 21st July the French landed on the Isle of Wight, the plan was that the French would land at Whitecliff Bay and cross Bembridge Down in order to attack Sandown, another landing was planned at Bonchurch with the plan to march across and meet the rest of the troops at Sandown. However, the northern troops were intercepted and had to fight their way to the rendezvous point.

Every man that lived on the Isle of Wight was required to have military training and therefore Sir Richard Worsley led the residents of the Island out to defend their homes

Martin Du Bellay, a French chronicler, wrote about the invasion;

…To keep the enemy’s forces separated, a simultaneous descent was made in three different places. On one side Seigneur Pierre Strosse was bidden to land below a little fort where the enemy had mounted some guns with which they assailed our galleys in flank, and within which a number of Island infantry had retired. These, seeing the boldness of our men, abandoned the fort and fled southwards to the shelter of a copse. Our men pursued and killed some of them and burned the surrounding habitations…”

Despite the French attempts to surprise the English by landing at different undefended points the English were prepared for the attacks and reached the high points of the to oppose them. At Bonchurch the French landed at Monk’s Bay but found it difficult to climb the slopes of St Boniface and Bonchurch Downs before they were met at the top by the waiting English.

François van der Delft, the Imperial Ambassador wrote to the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles ;

On Tuesday [21st] the French landed in the Isle of Wight and burnt 10 or 12 small houses; but they were ultimately driven to take refuge in a small earthwork fort, and a large force, 8000, is now opposed to them. Yesterday, Wednesday, and the previous night, nothing could be heard but artillery firing, and it was rumoured that the French would land elsewhere.”

There is no comprehensive record of the battle of Bonchurch but many sources have the English as winning the battle.

AMH4XG Battle of Bonchurch Isle of Wight Italian War  French invasion  landing Kingdom England France regular soldier English militiame

The Battle of Bonchurch