November 5 – The coronation of Mary Tudor, Queen of France

Posted By on November 5, 2022

On this day in Tudor history, Sunday 5th November 1514, in the reign of King Henry VIII, the king’s sister, eighteen-year-old Mary Tudor, was crowned Queen of France at the Basilica of Saint-Denis, just outside of Paris.

Mary had married King Louis XII on 9th October 1514.

Let me tell you more about Mary Tudor’s coronation…

Transcript:

On this day in Tudor history, Sunday 5th November 1514, Mary Tudor, sister of King Henry VIII and daughter of the late King Henry VII, was crowned Queen of France by the Bishop of Bayeux at the Abbey Church of Saint-Denis just outside of Paris.

The eighteen-year-old Mary had married the fifty-two-year-old King Louis XII on 9th October 1514, the feast day of Saint Denis, in Abbeville.

Louise of Savoy, whose late husband was Louis’ cousin, 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.”

English chronicler Edward Hall recorded:
“[…] the lady Mary of England the fifth day of Nouember then being Sunday, was with great solemnity crowned Queen of Fraunce in the monastery of Saynte Denee, and the dolphin all the season held the crown over her head, because it was of greate weight to her grievance, at whiche coronation were the lords of England, and according to their degrees well entertained.”

The “Dolphyn”, or rather, 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. As Hall says, 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 in just a few months’ time.

Mary’s tenure as queen consort was to be short-lived because 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 before returning to England. 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.

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