Friday, October 9, 2009

On This Day in Tudor History:

On October 9, 1514, Mary Tudor (sister of King Henry VIII) marries King Louis XII of France. This marriage set in motion several important relationships in Tudor History.

Mary Tudor, known as the most beautiful princess in Europe of the time, was very close to her brother, Henry, when they were children—he named his daughter and the warship, Mary Rose, in her honour.

Cardinal Wolsey negotiated a peace treaty with France, and at the age of 18, Mary was married 52-year-old King Louis XII at Abbeville.

Despite two previous marriages, the king had no living sons and sought to produce an heir; but Louis died less than three months after the wedding, reputedly worn out by his exertions in the bedchamber! Their union produced no children. Following Louis's death, King Francis I made attempts to arrange a second marriage for the beautiful widow. Mary was almost certainly already in love with Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. When her brother sent Brandon to bring her back to England, he made Brandon promise not to propose to her because he wanted to marry her off to his advantage again. It didn't work: the couple went against Henry's orders and married in secret. Although this is treason, Wolsey intervened on their behalf and got them off with a heavy fine.

Mary Tudor's first marriage also put into motion the famous French education of Anne Boleyn. Anne was sent to France to attend Mary as one of her Maids of Honor and stayed to serve at the court of King Francis and Queen Claude when the Dowager Queen returned to England.

It has often been stated that it was the charms learned in France with which Anne was able to beguile King Henry.

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