Tapestry depicting the marriage of Mary Tudor and Louis XII, photo by Tim Ridgway
Tapestry depicting the marriage of Mary Tudor and Louis XII, photo by Tim Ridgway

On 9th October 1514, the feast day of St Denis, the eighteen year-old Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII, married the fifty-two year-old King Louis XII of France in the great hall of the Hôtel de la Gruthuse, the King’s residence in Abbeville.

The bride wore a French-style gown of gold brocade trimmed with ermine and the groom also wore gold and ermine. Mary was given away by the Duke of Norfolk and the Marquis of Dorset in the name of her brother, Henry VIII, and the ceremony was performed by the Bishop of Bayeux. David Loades writes that Mary “was overloaded with jewels”, not only because it was the French style but also to emphasise her brother’s wealth. If that wasn’t enough, Louis presented her with a diamond and ruby necklace during the wedding ceremony!1

You can read more about the wedding, including some primary source accounts, in my article “Mary Tudor Marries Louis XII of France”.

Is Anne Boleyn one of the ladies depicted in the tapestry you see here? Well, we don’t know. We know that Anne was appointed to serve Mary Tudor in France, but we don’t know when Anne arrived in France. She had been serving Margaret of Austria at Mechelen and we don’t know when she left there and whether she left in time to accompany Mary on her voyage from England to France or whether she went directly to France for Mechelen. You can read more about this in my article The Early Life of Anne Boleyn Part Three – Anne Boleyn Goes to France.

Notes and Sources

  1. Loades, David (2012) Mary Rose, p82-3

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2 thoughts on “9 October 1514 – Marriage of Louis XII of France and Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII”
  1. Well, at least Henry had the good taste to NOT have Mary given away, in his name, by Charles Brandon, the Duke of Suffolk!

    I am trying to imagine how awful that must have seemed to Mary, to be madly in love with her brother’s best friend, who was at least somewhat closer to her own age, and instead, married off to a sickly, homely man old enough to be her grandfather (??).

    At least Louis treated Mary VERY well during her time as his wife. He pampered and spoiled her rotten, much like Henry had done since becoming King himself. I wonder if she had real affection, or even the beginnings of love for him, for treating her so well. According to what I have read, here and elsewhere, Mary was unfailingly kind and polite to King Louis.

    I wonder if Henry didn’t send Charles to France to collect Mary after she was widowed on purpose, knowing what was likely to happen. After all, Mary’s dowry cost him a fortune, and marrying her off to other European royalty (Spanish or other) would cost ANOTHER fortune. If Charles gave in to temptation to marry the woman he loved – foregone conclusion? – then Henry would have a reason to “rage” at his best friend, showing his supremacy as King, to impress everyone that even his friends had to obey him, but it would also keep his favorite sister in England, and NOT have to pay a huge sum to dower her. In fact, she was kept beholden to him, by having to pay back her royal French dowry.

  2. A magnificent affair and marriage ceremonial as well as arrival in Paris! A very beautiful affair indeed! It was also rumoured that Mary, who of course was only 18 wore the old King Louis out. He may have been a warrior in his time and I am sure an active and very handsome man, but by now he was about 55 or 56 and was not very good on his feet. Mary was a live wire and loved dancing; Louis must have gotten dizzy just watching her; let alone even joining in or with any of the celebrations it must have exhausted him. But Louis treated Mary with great respect and honour in the short few weeks she was Queen and she was duitiful by all accounts and constantly paid him attention. And then suddenly it was all over and Mary was a widow and a prisioner at Cluny in case she was pregnant with Louis child and as a widow she was meant to be in seclusion. It was no wonder her secret marriage to Charles Brandon caused such a scandle not only in England but also in France.

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