2 October – Anne Boleyn, Mary Tudor and William Tyndale
Posted By Claire on October 2, 2020
On this day in Tudor history, 2nd October 1514, Henry VIII’s beloved youngest sister, eighteen-year-old Mary Tudor, set sail from Dover. She was on her way to France to marry fifty-two-year-old King Louis XII of France. She wasn’t keen on the idea, but her brother had promised that when Louis died, she could marry a man of her choosing.
Things didn’t go to plan with the journey though, and Mary encounter rough seas – not good in a Tudor ship!
You can find out more about her departure and journey in the video below.
Why have I shared this with you today? Well, it’s because Anne Boleyn was recalled from serving at Margaret of Austria’s court because she had been appointed to serve Mary Tudor in France. You can read all about it in my article Anne Boleyn and the French Court 1514-1521.
2nd October also has another “on this day” event linked to Anne Boleyn, for it was on 2nd October 1528 that reformer and Bible translator William Tyndale’s book “The Obedience of a Christian Man” was published in Antwerp.
Anne owned a copy of this book and it ended up in Henry VIII’s hands. What Henry read in that book set him on his path to breaking with Rome. How? What happened? I explain in this video:
5 thoughts on “2 October – Anne Boleyn, Mary Tudor and William Tyndale”
Poor Mary young beautiful and in love with another man forced to go through this marriage to a much older monarch simply for expediency’s sake, the description of her and her entourages journey from Dover to when she first set foot on French soil is well documented it must have been a lavish affair, the portrait of her elderly bridegroom the King of France shows a man with heavy ponderous features, he was not considered handsome but he was King of France and Mary, whilst pining for her lost love must have rather enjoyed the adulation of being queen of that powerful country, yet she must have longed for her freedom and it came rather sooner than she probably expected, sniggering gossip said Mary must have worn out her husband but the truth is that she probably found sleeping with him distasteful, if a woman is in love with another man she does not enjoy the act of love with anyone else, unless she’s rather attracted to that person, after he died the court waited with bated breath to see if she was pregnant, something which caused his heir apparent Francois and his ambitious mother Louise of Savoy much consternation, there was no child no heir to unsettle Francois, and he took the throne which under his reign became the most licentious the most and decadent court in Europe, one of Princess Mary’s entourage a young girl named Madamoiselle Boleyn grew up in this very atmosphere of polish and charm and immorality, and became one of the most learned and and glamorous women to leave it many years later, Princess Mary meanwhile left the country she had so briefly been queen of and in great secrecy married her lover Charles Brandon a good friend and companion of her brother King Henry V111, the king was furious at the match as Mary being a royal princess had to seek permission to wed but her and Brandon were soon forgiven, not for nothing was she Henry’s favourite sister! After her marriage she fades into obscurity a little, she had several children and appears to have been happy, she sided with Katherine of Aragon over the divorce as many women did, something which caused a rift between her and her brother, she died comparatively young, tuberculosis or consumption as it was called then has been suggested as her cause of death, the sweating sickness also but she could have died from anything, the Tudors were not long lived, she was a child when her eldest brother Arthur died and closer in age to Prince Henry, they had shared a nursery together and were probably more similar in character and looks than their older siblings, both considered immensely attractive people, Mary was also said to be feisty, the portraits of Mary show a delicate featured girl with the red hair of the Tudors yet her colouring appears darker than Henrys’s, her eyes were described as clear grey and she was called a paradise by one contemporary, obviously she inherited her looks from her mother the serenely beautiful Elizabeth of York, she became the grandmother of the ill fated nine day queen Lady Jane Grey, and her other grandchildren were viewed with suspicion and treated quite harshly by her great niece Queen Elizabeth, her royal blood was a curse therefore to her descendants whose legitimacy was never in question.
I love the story, which is probably the real story, not the nonsense that Anne took the book to Henry Viii directly and marked the pages.
Its much more likely that Anne had read it, leant it to a lady, that it was confiscated and Anne asked Henry get it back. That would open up the door to bring the book to the King, otherwise Anne would have taken a dangerous risk. Henry must have been curious about the fuss it was making and Anne no doubt battered her eyelashes and asked Henry to read this very useful book. Henry of course found the bit which helped, one of those bits marked by Anne, and made his declaration. However, despite Tyndale having some protection and his Bible being smuggled in and in fact one copy was kept by Anne open in her study, after her execution, his protection was lifted and because he opposed the divorce of Henry and Katherine of Aragon. The story really rings true. Two sources is pretty good evidence.
Ha ha yes all Anne had to do was batt her eyelashes and Henry was so desperate to find a way out of his marriage that he found the book very useful, was that not the book that Anne requested her household to read as well?
She might have done but we do have a recorded speech somewhere in which she told her household to have morals and not to go to brothels and she told them to read the Bible, well New Testament open in her Chambers. I can imagine Anne and her friends as reformers getting into all kinds of hot water and then Anne loving up to Henry to get out of it. I think telling them to read Tyndale books was too dangerous. Officially they were still banned but the Bible was under another name, Miles Coverdale and she could get around it somehow. Its quite a saga but for Henry the Obedience of a Christian Man had some convenient and helpful information. Just what a King needs to hear, he is the sole authority in all matters temporal and spiritual in his realm and the authority of God is in him. Not going to harm his ego.
Mary was the beautiful eighteen years old favourite sister of the twenty five years old King Henry Viii and she was the bargaining chip which saw England making peace with the old enemies, France and ended England’s involvement in the Holy League against France. Louis xii was 52 and he had lost his wife, Anne of Brittany and had only two surving children, daughters, Claude and Renee. Claude was married to the King’s relative, Francis, who would eventually succeed him and Louis was probably hoping a son would be born to his bonnie young wife, Mary Rose Tudor. So to France came to the beautiful English rose and to the pageantry which awaited her, lavish parties and tableaux and crowds and the welcome for her was lavish. Anne was a revered Queen, as Claude would be but France needed a son and this was the last chance for the old warrior King. Louis was now old and in poor health but he enjoyed the company of his young bride. Mary partied and Louis hunted and she did wear him out, probably not with sexual contact but the renewed energies he found at the joy of having such a lively young wife. We don’t know how Mary felt about Louis only that he treated her well. Louis received Suffolk on one visit in bed, with Mary sat at his bedside and Suffolk wrote how gracious he was. He also took part in the jousting to celebrate the wedding and her coronation.
However, Mary was in love with Charles Brandon and couldn’t wait to see him. Henry sent Suffolk over to bring Mary home and negotiate with King Louis on trade deals and her dowry being returned. She begged him to marry him, which of course he couldn’t as he had given Henry his word and Henry had another bridegroom in mind, sixteen years old, Charles of Castile, better known as the future Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V and what Brandon did could have been interpreted as treason, a commoner marrying a sister of the King without permission created a rival to the throne. Any children Charles and Mary had would be in line for the throne and without any living children as yet for Henry and Katherine, this was a perfect opportunity for one of his family to give birth to the future heir. The Council certainly tried to persuade Henry that Brandon should be executed but he wasn’t buying it. Mary cried and Brandon gave in, the couple wed sometime between the end of February 1515 and mid March 1515 and begged forgiveness rather than asking permission. Henry negotiated their return and besides the huge fine they paid, £24,000 at £6000 a year, little changed between them. Louise of Savoy was one of the witnesses and once in England Henry held a public wedding before the whole Court. The marriage was a success and the couple had three or four children, depending on interpretation of the sources. Most modern historians believe their original son Henry born 1516 died in 1522_based on no other evidence than the remarks by the Ambassador there that he looked about two years old when he was made Earl of Lincoln in 1524. However, there isn’t any record of his death, burial or the birth of a second Henry in 1520 to 1522. I strongly disagree because nobody has ever proved otherwise. Its based on nothing more than an observation and because no historians want to look stupid by questioning it. That’s the problem with academic authority, someone makes a claim but they don’t necessarily back it up. Everyone follows along and claim the same thing. Unless someone can provide me with a reliable source showing when Henry original died, where he died, how, is buried, the date and place of birth or more than the observation of how small the “second” Henry looked, or which confirmed the older son died and the birth of a second, I am remaining sceptical and sorry, I won’t accept it. As far as I am concerned Charles and Mary had three children, Henry March 1516, Frances 1517 and Eleanor 1519. However, the marriage was a success, his two daughters from Anne Browne, his first wife, Anne and Mary moved in, he had a number of wards, including for a time, Catherine Parr, then his future wife, Catherine Willoughby. The latter girl was brought to marry his son Henry who died in 1534. Whether one accepts the orthodox line that young Henry was eleven at the time or seventeen, he didn’t die of a broken heart but more likely of the Tudor family disease his mother sadly passed from aged 37 in July 1533.
Charles and Mary may have found their relationship strained in the late 1520s and early 1530s over the royal divorce, but neither were supporters of Anne Boleyn. Charles accepted Henry’s choice because he wasn’t daft enough to risk losing his head. Charles was the King’s man and remained so until his own death in Guildford on 22nd August 1545. Henry was distraught and paid for a lavish funeral for his old jousting, cavorting, drinking and gambling partner, in Windsor, not far from his own burial place. Henry was buried there with his favourite wife, Jane Seymour, in 1547.