18 February 1516 – The birth of a fair princess

Feb18,2016 #birth of Mary I #Mary I

Mary IIn the early hours of 18th February 1516, at Greenwich Palace, “was borne a fayre prynces and christened with great solempnitie, and named Mary.”1 This little girl was the future Queen Mary I.

Mary was Catherine of Aragon’s fifth pregnancy and although King Henry VIII must have wanted a living son, when Sebastian Giustinian, the Venetian Ambassador, congratulated him on the birth and commented that “the State would have been yet more pleased had the child been a son”, Henry did not speak of his disappointment but, instead, expressed hope for the future, saying, “We are both young; if it was a daughter this time, by the grace of God the sons will follow.”2 Unfortunately, sons did not follow. Catherine’s final pregnancy ended in the premature birth of a stillborn daughter in November 1518.

You can read more about Catherine’s pregnancies in my article The Pregnancies of Anne Boleyn and Catherine of Aragon

Mary was baptised on 20th February 1516 in the Church of the Observant Friars at Greenwich. The little princess was carried to the font by the Countess of Surrey and her godparents were Catherine Courtenay, Countess of Devon and daughter of Edward IV; Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury and daughter of George, Duke of Clarence; the Duchess of Norfolk, and Cardinal Thomas Wolsey.

Also on this day in history…

  • 1503 – Henry Tudor, the future Henry VIII, was created Prince of Wales.

Notes and Sources

  1. Hall, Edward (1809) Hall’s chronicle: containing the history of England, during the reign of Henry the Fourth, and the succeeding monarchs, to the end of the reign of Henry the Eighth, in which are particularly described the manners and customs of those periods. Carefully collated with the editions of 1548 and 1550, printed for J. Johnson; F.C. and J. Rivington; T. Payne; Wilkie and Robinson; Longman, Hurst, Rees and Orme; Cadell and Davies; and J. Mawman; London. p.584.
  2. Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 2: 1509-1519, 691, p285.
  3. Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume II, 1573.

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