Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon

On this day in history, 25th June 1533, Henry VIII’s sister, Mary Tudor, died at her home, Westhorpe Hall, Suffolk at the age of just 37. She was laid to rest at the local abbey in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, but her body was later moved to St Mary’s Church, Bury St Edmunds, when the abbey was dissolved.

You can read all about Mary Tudor, Queen of France and Duchess of Suffolk, in my article “Princess Mary Tudor” and I would also highly recommend the article Mary Tudor – Romantic Rebel at the Scandalous Women blog, but here are a few facts about Henry’s favourite sister:-

  • Henry’s named his daughter, the future Mary I, and his favourite warship, “The Mary Rose”, after her.
  • At the age of 18 she was forced to marry the 52 year old Louis XII of France but he died just under 3 months later.
  • Mary defied her brother, Henry VIII, by marrying the man she loved, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, secretly in March 1515 in France before she could be used as a pawn and married off to another prince or king for diplomatic reasons.

  • Mary was the grandmother of Lady Jane Grey.
  • She was a beauty – the Venetian ambassador called her “A Paradise”.
  • Mary supported Catherine of Aragon during the King’s Great Matter and resented Anne Boleyn.
  • Her motto was “La volenté De Dieu me suffit” – The will of God is sufficient for me.
  • In England, she was known as the Dowager Queen of France or the French Queen, rather than the Duchess of Suffolk.
  • Mary and Charles Brandon had four children, two boys and two girls, but both of their sons died in childhood.
  • She is sometimes confused with Mary Tudor, Queen of England (Mary I), and so is referred to as Mary Tudor, Queen of France.

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12 thoughts on “Death of Mary Tudor, Queen of France”
  1. She must have had a lot of courage to defy Henry and marry the man she wanted – way to go Mary! I really like that portrait of the two of them. They look like a happy couple.

  2. I think she knew deep down Henry would forgive the two people he loved. And he did! They were suppposed to pay this huge fee but never did. Also, I think they were only sent from court for a few months. He did forgive them rather easily. I wonder if they were happy–I think Brandon was quite the womanizer.

  3. I’ve always loved that portrait, and Mary Rose was always one of my favorite Tudors. I figure anyone, especially a woman, who would defy Henry VIII and live to tell got a huge thumbs up in my book! I do hope that she and Brandon were relatively happy together. (I’m a hopeless romantic).

  4. Mary Queen of France is my favorite historical figure. I love her vitality and the absolute love she and her brother had for each other- if she had not died so young i wonder how differently Henry VIII would have been because its said that Mary had a huge influence on him.
    I have no doubt that Mary and Brandon were absolutely happy together and regardless of the rumors i almost guarantee that he was faithful with her. I don’t think a man could handle more than Mary Rose; she seemed to be plenty to fulfill any man and then some, however, she would have never been unfaithful to Charles Brandon. She knew what she wanted, and that was him and she was ready to die for him. How could you ever be unfaithful in love like that?
    She lived almost a fairy tale life in my mind except it is a shame she died so young.

    1. I believe Charles and Mary were in love but I don’t think we should make out that it was deep and passionate love because I don’t believe it was. It was deeper and stronger than that and their marriage was a huge risk for Brandon. He could have been executed by Francis for the audacity he caused in his realm or by Henry for disobedience and treason. Norfolk was pushing snd and so were others on the Council. Had this happened 20 years later that would have been a distinct possibility. By then Henry had become capricious. I have to disagree that Brandon was faithful as he had an illegitimate son during this period. He was a decent husband but Mary wasn’t exactly easy to live with. She was still a Tudor born from fire. The marriage was a success, it had its moments but was mostly one of contentment. It also almost ruined Brandon financially because of the huge fine he had to pay Henry as punishment for his daring.

  5. She was really amazing and i wish they could have captured her true persona on “Tudors” Her character was very weak. THEY KILLED HER IN THE FIRST SEASON!! I was really disapointed with that! Anyway, Great article, i really enjoyed it! She was AMAZING

    1. I would love to know how she died. I’m tudors the series they say she died of consumption. Does anybody know what that is? She did seem like a very strong character but this was not put out on the series which annoys me. I would love to know if Charles Brandon really did love & respect her. In the series they portray him as a man who can not love. I must do more research. Thank you for sharing this article. The facts are very interesting. But please anyone tell me how she died. 37 is very young even back then.

  6. My main beef with her portrayal on ” The Tudors” is that the writer presented her as a murderess. They show here killing her husband the King of Portugal by suffocation with a pillow on the show. This is so not right. I only like the Tudors show because of the costumes and the characters of Queen Catherine and Princess Mary and Sir Thomas More. I wish they had portrayed Mary Tudor historically accurate.

      1. Because “The Tudors” is a work of fiction.
        If you remember, they also called her Margaret (basically combining the older sister Margaret with Henry’s younger sister Mary. They also killed off his illegitimate son Fitzroy as a child, instead of his real age of seventeen. There are many descrepensies of that show, designed purely for entertainment purposes, and to make the history even more dramatic, for the common everyday viewer. *sighs*

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