On Sunday 5th November 1514, Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII and the new wife of King Louis XII of France, was crowned Queen of France by the Bishop of Bayeux at the Abbey Church of Saint-Denis (Basilique Saint-Denis), just outside of Paris.
Louise of Savoy recorded:
“On the fifth day of November 1514, the Queen Mary was crowned at Saint-Denis between ten and eleven o’clock in the morning, and on the sixth day around four o’clock in the afternoon, she made her entry into Paris.”1
Chronicler Edward Hall recorded:
“[…] the lady Mary of England the. v. daye of Nouember then being Sondaye, was with great solempnitee crowned Quene of Fraunce in the monasterye of Sayncte Denyee, and the Dolphyn all the season held the croune ouer her hed, because it was of greate waight to her greuaunce, at whiche coronacyon were the lordes of England, and accordynge to ther degrees well enterteyned.”2
The “Dolphyn”, or Dauphin, referred to by Hall was Francis, Duke of Valois and Count of Angoulême, the future Francis I. Francis had become heir presumptive to the French throne in 1498 due to his second cousin the king not having a surviving son. Francis held Mary’s crown above her head during the ceremony because it was deemed too heavy for the eighteen year-old queen. Mary was invested with the ring, sceptre and rod of justice before hearing high mass and receiving the sacrament. I’m sure Francis’s arms must have ached after holding the crown all that time!
The coronation was attended by English gentlemen including Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset, and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, who would become Mary’s second husband.
Mary’s tenure as queen consort was to be short-lived. She had married Louis XII of France at Abbeville on 9th October 1514 but Louis died on 1st January 1515. Francis I became king with his wife Claude (Louis’ daughter) becoming queen. Mary married Charles Brandon in secret, and without her brother’s permission, on 3rd March 1515. Henry VIII was furious but his love for his favourite sister and his friendship with Brandon led to him forgiving the couple, and they were officially married at Greenwich Palace, 13th May 1515. Throughout the rest of her life, Mary was always referred to at the English court as the “French Queen”, rather than the Duchess of Suffolk.
Also, on this day in history, on the night of 4th/5th November 1605, Guy Fawkes was caught with thirty-six barrels of gunpowder in the cellars beneath Westminster. Click here to read more about the Gunpowder Plot.
Notes and Sources
- Mémoires de Martin et Guillaume Du Bellay, Tome Sixieme, p. 184, Journal de Louise de Savoye. Louis writes “Le 5 jour de Novembre 1514, la Reine Marie fut couronnée la reine à Saint Denys entre dix & unze heures avant midi, & le 6 jour environ quatre heures après-midi, elle fit son entrée à Paris.”
- Hall, Edward. Hall’s Chronicle, p. 571.