October 9 – Mary Tudor gets married

On this day in Tudor history, 9th October 1514, Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII and daughter of the late Henry VII, married King Louis XII of France at Abbeville in France

Mary was eighteen years of age and Louis was fifty-two.

Let me share contemporary accounts of Mary’s lavish entry into Abbeville on 8th October and the wedding on 9th October, including descriptions of Mary and her apparel…


On this day in Tudor history, 9th October 1514, eighteen-year-old Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII and daughter of the late Henry VII, married fifty-two year-old King Louis XII of France at Abbeville in France.

Chronicler Edward Hall recorded Mary’s entry into Abbeville on 8th October and then the marriage on 9th:
“[…she was with great triumph, procession and pageants received into the town of Abbeville the 8th day of October by the Dauphin, which received her with great honour. She was apparelled in cloth of silver, her horse was trapped in goldsmith’s work very richly. After her, followed 36 ladies, all their palfreys trapped with crimson velvet, embroidered. After them, followed one chariot of cloth of tissue, the second cloth of gold, and the third crimson velvet embroidered with the king’s arms & hers, full of roses. After them, followed a great number of archers, and then wagons laden with their stuff. Great was the riches in plate, jewels, money, apparel, and hangings that this lady brought into France.
The Monday being the day of Saint Denis, the same King Louis married the lady Mary in the great church of Abbeville, both apparelled in goldsmith’s work. After the mass was done, there was a great banquet and feast and the ladies of England highly entertained.”

The Venetian ambassador gives another account of Mary’s arrival at Abbeville and the wedding:
“Then followed the Queen, under a white canopy, above and around which were the roses, supported by two porcupines. She was alone beneath it, and Monseigneur [d’Angoulême] on her left hand, but outside. She rode a white palfrey, with rich trappings, and was herself clad in very handsome stiff brocade.

Next came her litter, very beautiful, adorned with lilies; then five of the principal English ladies, very well dressed; then a carriage of brocade, on which were four ladies, followed by a second carriage with as many more ladies. Next came six ladies on horseback; and then a third carriage, of purple and crimson velvet, with four ladies; after which a crowd of ladies, some twenty in number; then 150 archers in three liveries. In this order they went to the Queen’s house, which was near that of the King. It was a sumptuous entry, and these noblemen of England have very large chains, and are otherwise in good array.

Before the entry there was a heavy shower, which drenched them all, especially the ladies. The Queen was dressed in the English fashion. In the evening, “Madame,” the King’s daughter, wife of Monseigneur d’Angoulême, went to visit her, and they gave a ball. This morning the King had preparation made for the mass in his own hall, whither the Queen came, preceded by 73 (sic) English barons and gentlemen; the King doffed his bonnet, and the Queen curtseyed to the ground, whereupon his Majesty kissed her. The treasurer Robertet then presented to the King a necklace, in which were set two beautiful jewels, and his Majesty placed it round the Queen’s neck; after which mass was performed.
The two candles were held, the one by Monseigneur de Vendôme and the other by the Prince de Vendôme. After the King had kissed the “1 pax” at the mass, he kissed the Queen. At the offertory Monseigneur gave the money to the King, and Madame to the Queen.

The mass by the Cardinal de Bayeux being ended, he gave the consecrated wafer, one half to the King and the other to the Queen, who kissed and then swallowed it; and after making a graceful curtsey she departed, the King and Queen going each to their own apartments to dine. In the evening the Queen arrayed herself in the French fashion, and there was dancing; the whole Court banqueting, dancing, and making good cheer; and thus, at the eighth hour before midnight, the Queen was taken away from the entertainment by Madame to go and sleep with the King.

I promise you that she is very handsome, and of sufficiently tall stature. She appears to me rather pale, though this I believe proceeds from the tossing of the sea and from her fright. She does not seem a whit more than 16 years old, and looks very well in the French costume. She is extremely courteous and well mannered, and has come in very sumptuous array …”

Another account in the Venetian Archives describes Mary as “handsome and well favoured, were not her eyes and eyebrows too light” and “slight, rather than defective from corpulence”. It goes on to say that she “conducts herself with so much grace, and has such good manners, that for her age of 18 years – and she does not look more – she is a paradise.”

This royal marriage did not last long, for Louis died on 1st January 1515. Mary went on to marry Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, her brother’s good friend.

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