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Mary Tudor

(1495—1533) queen of France, consort of Louis XII.


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Queen of France and duchess of Suffolk, b. Mar. 1496, 3rd da. of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York; m. (1) Louis XII of France, 9 Oct. 1514; (2) Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk, 13 May 1515; issue: Henry, Frances, Eleanor; d. Westhope, Suffolk, 25 June 1533; bur. Bury St Edmunds.

Younger sister of the future Henry VIII and of queen Margaret of Scotland, Mary had inherited her mother's delicate fair beauty, which added a further dimension to the diplomatic marriages that would inevitably be proposed. She was contracted first to prince Charles of Austria and Castile, grandson of emperor Maximilian, in 1508, but despite some mutual affection, the marriage was never finalized because of political realignments; she was then married, at eighteen, to the far older Louis XII of France. Widowed after three months, Mary took advantage of brother Henry's promise that she might freely choose her next husband, and very promptly, while still in France, married his lifelong intimate, Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk. Henry's wrath was eventually placated by gifts of her French jewels and gold, and the Suffolks were always in debt until the arrears of her dowry were paid off and Henry eased their repayments to him. Affectionate relations between brother and sister were regained—his flagship Mary Rose had been named in her honour—though later strained by Mary's support of Catherine of Aragon in the divorce crisis. For a while second lady in both England and France, her son was created earl of Lincoln (d. 1527), and her daughter Frances became the mother of Lady Jane Grey, whose claim to the throne in 1553 was brief.

Subjects: British History.


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