Book Review: “La Reine Blanche” by Sarah Bryson

Of the two surviving sisters of Henry VIII, his younger sister Mary was by far his favorite. Nothing shows that more than when he forgave her for secretly marrying Charles Brandon before returning from France after the death of her first husband, King Louis XII of France.

When I heard that author Sarah Bryson was releasing a book about Mary Tudor I was excited to learn more about the Tudor princess and French queen. She has fascinated me since her amalgamation in Showtime’s “The Tudors”. I say amalgamation because the character on the series was a combination of both Mary and Margaret Tudor. If you’re not familiar with the actual history of Mary Tudor the show’s story line will utterly confuse you. The biggest fictionalization (in my opinion) was when Mary, at eighteen years old married the King of Portugal. I’m really not sure why the writers of the series chose Portugal and not the King of France. In all the reading I do on the Tudor dynasty I have never come across any mention of Manuel I of Portugal. What we didn’t learn from that series is what an amazing person Mary Tudor was.

With all this in mind I was eager to learn more facts about the life of Mary Tudor, Queen of France.

Description of book:

Mary Tudor’s childhood was overshadowed by the men in her life: her father, Henry VII, and her brothers Arthur, heir to the Tudor throne, and Henry VIII. These men and the beliefs held about women at the time helped to shape Mary’s life. She was trained to be a dutiful wife and at the age of eighteen Mary married the French king, Louis XII, thirty-four years her senior. When her husband died three months after the marriage, Mary took charge of her life and shaped her own destiny. As a young widow, Mary blossomed. This was the opportunity to show the world the strong, self-willed, determined woman she always had been. She remarried for love and at great personal risk to herself. She loved and respected Katherine of Aragon and despised Anne Boleyn – again, a dangerous position to take. Author Sarah Bryson has returned to primary sources, state papers and letters, to unearth the truth about this intelligent and passionate woman. This is the story of Mary Tudor, told through her own words for the first time.

I ordered this book directly through Amberley Publishing in England because it is not released in the U.S. until June 2018.

Review:

Sarah Bryson did a phenomenal job bringing to life one of the lesser written about women of Tudor court, Mary Tudor.  While many of us are aware of who Mary Tudor was we might not know very much about her life. Mary was beautiful, well-liked and smart.

La Reine Blanche: Mary Tudor, A Life in Letters is just that, a book about the life of Mary Tudor (sister of Henry VIII) supplemented by letters. Bryson did a lot of research to be able to show us the most comprehensive look at the beautiful English princess to date.

Katherine of Aragon, Henry VIII, Francis I, Cardinal Wolsey, Charles Brandon and a plethora of other Tudor figures make an appearance in this book. It’s interesting to see how they all interacted with Mary throughout her life. It’s also interesting to see how close Mary had become with the children of her husband’s from his marriage with Anne Browne – she was indeed a kind stepmother.

Mary’s life wasn’t without adversity and Bryson did a brilliant job bringing it all to life for the reader. I was moved at the loss of her son with Brandon. As a mother, my heart breaks every time a parent loses a child.

I was pleasantly surprised by Mary’s relationship with her first husband, King Louis XII of France. I had previously known that she went into the marriage with an open mind but had no idea of her feelings for the King until reading this book.

If you’re as obsessed with the Tudor period as I am then you’ll love this book. It’s also a great book to read if you’re interested in French traditions.

Interested in learning more? Here is Sarah Bryson’s guest post for my site: The Princess and the Knight

Buy This Book

Amazon.com (available June 1, 2018 – Pre-order today!)

Amazon.co.uk (available now)

Book Depository (available now)

Author Bio:

Sarah Bryson is a researcher, writer and educator who has a Bachelor of Early Childhood
Education with Honours. She currently works with children with disabilities. She is
passionate about Tudor history and has a deep interest in Mary Tudor, Charles Brandon,
Duke of Suffolk and the reign of Henry VIII and the people of his court. She has run a
website dedicated to Tudor history for many years and has written for various websites
including ‘On the Tudor Trail’ and ‘QueenAnneBoleyn’. She has been studying primary
sources to tell the story of Mary Tudor for a decade. Sarah lives in Australia, enjoys reading,
writing and Tudor costume enactment.

Links:

Website: https://sarah-bryson.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SarahBryson44/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarahBryson44

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The Princess and the Knight (Guest Post)

 

The Princess and the Knight

Guest post by Sarah Bryson

The story of Charles Brandon and Mary Tudor reads like a fairy tale. Born in 1496 she was the youngest surviving child of King Henry VII and his beautiful wife Queen Elizabeth. Mary was raised to be the perfect image of a princess. Mary was educated in all the necessities for royal women of the time including singing, dancing, embroidery, and playing a musical instrument. In fact Mary was an excellent player of the lute and clavichord (a type of stringed instrument). In addition, she received training in social etiquette including table manners, polite conversation and the importance of dressing and presenting herself as a daughter of the new Tudor king.

Mary was renowned throughout Europe for her great beauty. Philippe Sieur de Bergilies, ambassador to the Court of Margaret of Austria, Regent of the Netherlands, stated that ‘never man saw a more beautiful creature, nor one having so much grace and sweetness, in public or private.’ Less than three months later Derard de Pleine wrote to Margaret of Austria stating that ‘Madame the Princess [Mary], until I had seen her several times. I can assure you that she is one of the most beautiful girls that one would wish to see; it does not seem to me that I have ever seen one so beautiful. She has a good manner, and her deportment is perfect in conversation, dancing or anything else.’

Mary was in essence the perfect princess. The fairy tale of her life continued until when she was just eighteen years old, she was married to the fifty two year old King of France, Louis XII. Louis was an old man riddled with gout and the marriage was a condition of a peace treaty negotiated between England and France.

However, just three months after her marriage, Louis XII died on 1 January 1515. Mary, now the Dowager Queen of France as well as being an English princess, was trapped in a foreign country, her servants dismissed and she was sent to the Hotel de Cluny for forty days of mourning.

At eighteen years of age Mary was young, beautiful and as a widow she was once more a useful political tool. While she remained in France, Francis I could easily use her as a bargaining tool for his own purposes. He could organise a marriage between Mary and a French nobleman or even arrange a marriage with a member of the aristocracy from another country in order to secure a political alliance against England.

Francis I may have also been concerned that should Mary return to England the her brother, Henry VIII, would renege on the original treaty with France and seek a renewal of the English treaty with the Holy Roman Empire, seeking to revive the planned marriage between Mary and Prince Charles of Castile, to whom she had been betrothed to before her marriage to Louis XII. In addition, while Mary remained in France Francis I could retain Mary’s jewels and would not have to pay for her travelling expenses back to England.

That is when her knight in shining armour came to rescue her. Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk was one of Henry VIII’s closest friends. He was twenty nine years old, tall, athletic and known as one of the best jousters in England, but he was also a rogue. Already having two marriages under his belt, Brandon had a reputation as a ladies man, not just English women, but he even dared to steal a ring from Margaret of Austria, Duchess of Savoy and daughter of Maximillian I, the Holy Roman Emperor!

The fairy tale continues, and Brandon, under orders from King Henry VIII, was sent to France in order to bring Mary safely back to her homeland. Brandon scooped Mary up and falling for her great beauty and charm married her instantly – and without the English king’s permission. Fearing Henry VIII’s wrath both Mary and Charles threw themselves on the king’s mercy and because of his great love for the pair they were forgiven and allowed to return home.

On the face of it, this is a superb example of the chivalric romantic tale of a beautiful, helpless princess saved by her handsome knight. Yet the story is just that… a story. The truth about Mary Tudor and her marriage to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk is far more than a helpless woman seeking to be saved. In fact it was Mary who proposed marriage to Brandon and it was Mary who manoeuvred her way through a male dominated world to pave her own future.

Faced with such uncertainty, Mary Tudor did not sit back as the helpless, weak princess needing to be rescued. Instead she took matters into her own hands. Shortly after Brandon’s arrival in Paris Mary proposed marriage and the duke accepted. The couple were married in secret, without Henry VIII’s permission and also without the knowledge of the king of France.

While the exact date of the marriage is unknown it is probable that the couple married before ten witnesses in the Chapel in Cluny, between 31 January, when Brandon arrived in Paris, and 3rd February.

Mary boldly wrote to her brother reminding him of the promise that he had made at Dover before she boarded the ship that took her to France, which was that should Louis die before her and there was no progeny of that marriage, she could take a second husband of her own choosing.

‘Sir, I beseech your grace that you will keep all the promises that you promised me when I took my leave of you by the w[ater s]ide. Sir, your grace knoweth well that I did marry for your pl[easure a]t this time, and now I trust that you will suffer me to [marry as] me l[iketh fo]r to do ; for, sir, I k[now that yo]u shall have . . . s that they . . . for I assure your grace that [my mi]nd is not there where they would have me, and I trust [your grace] will not do so to me that has always been so glad to fulfil your mind as I have been : wherefore I beseech your grace for to be good lord and brother to me; for, sir, an if your grace will have gran me married in any place, [sav]ing whereas my mind is, I will be there, whereas your grace nor no other shall have any joy of me : for, I promise your grace, you shall hear that I will be in some religious house, the which I think your grace would be very sorry of, and all your realm. Also, sir, I know well that the King, that is [my so]n, will send to your grace by his uncle the duke of . . . for to ma[rry me here, but I tru]st you[r grace … I sha]ll never be merry at my heart, (for an ever that I d[o marrjy while I live). I trow your grace knoweth as well as I do, and did before I came’ hither, and so I trust your grace will be contented, unless I would never marry while I live, but be there where never [no] man nor woman shall have joy of me ; wherefore I beseech your grace to be good lord to him and to me both, for I know well that he hath m[et ma]ny hindrances to your grace of him and me both. Wherefore, an your grace be good lord to us both, I will not care for all the world else, but beseech your grace to be good lord and brother to me, as you have been here aforetime, f[or in you] is all the trust that I have in this world after God. No m[ore from m]e at this [time].

God send your grace [long life an]d your heart’sde[sires].

By your humble and loving sister, Mary Queen of France.

To the King my brother this be delivered, in haste.’

Brandon’s letter to Henry VIII shows Mary’s determination not to be remarried to a foreign prince, but to take a husband of her own choosing.

‘Sir, so it is that when I came to Paris the Queen was in hand with me the first day I [came], and said she must be short with me and [open] to me her pleasure and mind; and so she b[egan] and show how good lady [she] was to me, and if I would be ordered by her she would never have none but me. … She showed me she had wyerelle und[erstood] as well by Friar Langglay and Friar Fr … dar that and yewar sche cam in Ynggyll[and she sho]uld newar have me; and ther for sche … wr that and I wold not marre her … have me nor never come to [England] When I heard her say so I showed … plied that but to prove me with, and she … would not you knew well that my coming … it was showed her … and I axsed her wat [it] was; and she said that the best in France had [said] unto her that, and she went into England, she should go into Flanders. To the which she said that she had rather to be torn in pieces than ever she should come there, and with that wept. Sir, I never saw woman so weep; and when I saw [that] I showed unto her grace that there was none such thing [upon] my faith, with the best words J could: but in none ways I could make her to believe it. And when I saw that, I showed her grace that, and her grace would be content to write unto your grace and to obtain your good will, I would be content; or else I durst not, because I had made unto your grace such a promise. Whereunto, in conclusion, she said, ‘If the King my brother is content and the French King both, the tone by his letters and the todar by his words, that I should have [y]ou, I will have the time after my desire, or else I may well think that the words of … in these parts and of them in England [be] true and that is that you are come to tyes me home (?) [to the in]tent that I may be married into Fland[ers], which I will never, to die for it; and so [I posse]ssed the French King ar you cam (?); and th[at if] you will not be content to follow [my] end, look never after this d[ay to have] the proffer again.’ And, Sir, I …  in that case and I thought … but rather to put me … than to lyes all, and so I gra … an too; and so she and I was ma[rried] … and but ten persons, of the which [neither Sir Richard] Wyngfyld nor Master Dyne (Dean) was not [present] on my faith; for she would that I should [not take] them on council, for she said and I did [so] … she thought they would give mo couns[el] to the contrary; and therefore they know not of it, nor that the writing of this letter, on my faith and truth.”’

Brandon’s frantic letter to Henry VIII show’s that Mary took possession of the situation and was prepared to act in order to have what she wanted – her freedom of choice. She was determined to have her brother’s best friend for her second husband, rather than be used again as a bargaining tool for another political alliance with a foreign country.

Mary was not a helpless, meek princess needing to be rescued by a knight in shining armour. Instead she was a cunning woman who took her life into her own hands and forged her own destiny. Mary’s marriage to Brandon was calculated.  It stopped any chance that Francis I might have had of using her for his own political ends. It also stopped any potential marriages that Henry VIII may have planned for his sister. She gambled her brother’s love and ultimately came up winning. Mary was married to the handsome, greatly respected and beloved Duke of Suffolk, one of the most powerful men in England, as well as retaining her brother’s love and affection. If Mary’s marriage to Charles Brandon is written as a fairy tale then it must be regarded as the story that Mary wrote for herself.

You can find her book on Amazon:

Amazon – US

Amazon – UK

Sources:

Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII, 1509–47, ed. J. S. Brewer, James Gairdner and R. H. Brodie, (His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1862–1932).

Loades, David, Mary Rose (Gloucestershire: Amberley Publishing, 2012).

Mumby, F, The Youth of Henry VIII: A Narrative in Contemporary Letters (Boston New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1913).

Richardson, Walter C., Mary Tudor The White Queen (Great Britain: University of Washington Press, 1970).

Author Bio:

Sarah Bryson is a researcher, writer and educator who has a Bachelor of Early Childhood
Education with Honours. She currently works with children with disabilities. She is
passionate about Tudor history and has a deep interest in Mary Tudor, Charles Brandon,
Duke of Suffolk and the reign of Henry VIII and the people of his court. She has run a
website dedicated to Tudor history for many years and has written for various websites
including ‘On the Tudor Trail’ and ‘QueenAnneBoleyn’. She has been studying primary
sources to tell the story of Mary Tudor for a decade. Sarah lives in Australia, enjoys reading,
writing and Tudor costume enactment.

Links:

Website: https://sarah-bryson.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SarahBryson44/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarahBryson44

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Reine-Blanche-Mary-Tudor-Letters/dp/1445673886/ref=sr_1_19?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1503666367&sr=1-19&cn=bWVzc2FnZQ%3D%3D&refsrc=email

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Book Review: “Mary Tudor” by Tony Riches

Jane Seymour (10)

Last year I read all three books in the trilogy by author Tony Riches about the Tudor dynasty. Book One was about a Owen Tudor, second husband of Catherine of Valois and stepfather to King Henry VI. Book Two was about Jasper Tudor, half-brother of King Henry VI and uncle of the future Henry VII. The final book, Book Three was about Henry Tudor and his struggle to become King of England. After finishing the trilogy on the Tudor dynasty Riches decided to try his hand at Mary Tudor, Queen of France and sister to King Henry VIII.

The love story of Mary and Charles Brandon has always intrigued me. A man whose family had been mostly servants and who was raised to Duke of Suffolk married the sister of the King in a secret ceremony in France. This unauthorized act would by a subject of Henry would usually end with the participants locked in the Tower of London, or worse yet, executed. Luckily for Mary and Charles they were both favorites of Henry and he merely fined them.

When the couple were finally allowed to return to England, Henry VIII insisted that they have a public ceremony at Greenwich Palace. He did not wish for his favorite sister’s future children to be declared illegitimate – they would be, after all, in the line of succession.

This story is wonderfully told by Riches as the life of an English princess who only wished to do what was right. Mary was loyal to those close to her, none more than to Katherine of Aragon during the King’s Great Matter. Mary despised her former maid of honor, Anne Boleyn and wanted nothing more than to see her good friend regain her position.

Unfortunately for Mary her life wasn’t always rainbows and butterflies. She lost a son after a freak accident and then she herself became extremely ill and would be unable to see her daughters Frances and ELeanor give her grandchildren.

If you love to read about the women of the Tudor dynasty I highly recommend you buy this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and cannot wait for the author’s next book about Charles Brandon.

If you’d like to pick up a copy of the book it is available on Amazon.

Amazon – US

Amazon – UK

Book Cover of Mary ~ Tudor Princess

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Secret Marriage: Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon

 

When Mary Tudor arrived in France she experience a French court that was reasonably well ordered and steadily developing as the trend-setter in French material culture. Louis most definitely spoiled his new, young bride and Mary appears to have done her duty as an English Princess and made the King of France, her husband, very happy. As he said himself, “I can sufficiently praise and express my delight in her.

Nearly three months into their marriage, on 1 January 1515, King Louis XII of France died – he was 52 years old. He had been afflicted with gout for some time and just before his death had suffered a severe case of it.

After the King’s death, Mary was required to stay in France for awhile to ensure she was not carrying the late King’s heir. She was isolated from men for six weeks at Palais de Cluny until it was determined she was not with child.

Charles Brandon, newly titled Duke of Suffolk, was sent to France to escort marry back to England on the order of King Henry VIII. Charles was Mary’s true love – she secretly wished to marry him instead of Louis but had to abide by the order of her brother, the King. Henry was aware that his sister did not want to marry the elderly French King. She had informed Henry that she would gladly marry Louis if he agreed to allow Mary to marry whomever she wanted if she were to outlive her elderly husband. Henry undoubtedly agreed, but whether he meant it was a whole other story. He most likely just agreed to get his sister to leave for France and fulfill his own agenda.

Unfortunately, it seems that Henry never really meant what he said, as you’ll see from the below letters.

In our first letter, written a month and a half after the death of her husband, we see Mary discussing the new French king, Francis I, and his desire to arrange a new marriage for her. The new French King asked her if she had ever made a promise of marriage and she confessed that she wished to wed Charles, Duke of Suffolk. Francis seems to have encouraged the marriage. The French King’s motives are unknown.

According to Jean Perréal, Mary Tudor Brandon Florence, Uffizi, Cabinet of Drawings and Prints, inv. 3911 F.

Mary Queen-Dowager of France to Henry VIII
[Letters of Royal and Illustrious Ladies]
Paris, February 15, 1515

Pleaseth it your grace, the French king, on Tuesday night last past, came to visit me, and had with me many diverse discoursing, among the which he demanded me whether I had ever made any promise of marriage in any place, assuring me upon his honour, and upon the word of a prince, that in case I would be plain with him in that affair, that he would do for me therein to the best of his power, whether it were in his realm or out of the same. Whereunto I answered, that I would disclose unto him the secret of my heart in humility, as unto the prince of the world after your grace in whom I had most trust, and so declared unto him the good mind which for divers considerations I bear to my lord of Suffolk, asking him not only to grant me his favour and consent thereunto, but also that he would of his own hand write unto your grace, and to pray you to bear your like favour unto me, and to be content with the same; the which he granted me to do, and so hath done, according as shall appear unto your grace by his said letters. And, sir, I most humbly beseech you to take this answer which I have made unto the French king in good part, the which I did only to be discharged of the extreme pain and annoyance I was in, by reason of such suit as the French king made unto me not according with mine honour, the which he hath clearly left off. Also, sir, I feared greatly lest, in case that I had kept the matter from his knowledge, that he might have not well entreated my said lord of Suffolk, and the rather for to have returned to his former malfantasy and suits. Wherefore, sir, since it hath pleased the said king to desire and pray you of your favour and consent, I most humbly and heartily beseech you that it may like your grace to bear your favour and consent to the same, and to advertise the said king by your writing of your own hand of your pleasure, and in that he hath acted after mine opinion in his letter of request, it shall be to your great honour….to content with all your counsel and with all the other nobles of the realm, and agree thereto for your grace and for all the world; and therefore I eftsoon require you, for all the love that it liked your grace to bear me, that you do not refuse but grant me your favour and consent in form before rehearsed, the which if you shall deny me, I am well assured to lead as desolate a life as ever had creature, the which I know well shall be mine end. Always praying your grace to have compassion of me, my most loving and sovereign lord and brother, whereunto I have entreated you, beseeching God always to preserve your most royal estate.

I most humbly beseech your grace to consider, in case that you make difficulty to condescend to the promises as I wish, the French king will take new courage to renew his suits to me; assuring you that I had rather to be out of the world than it so should happen; and how he shall entreat my lord of Suffolk, God knoweth, with many other inconvenience, which might ensue of the same, the which I pray our Lord that I may never have life to see.

by your loving sister and true servant,

Mary Queen of France

untitled-design-9

In the next letter it appears that Mary heard from her brother and was aware that he was not happy with her and Charles.

Mary Queen-Dowager of France to Henry VIII
[Letters of Royal and Illustrious Ladies]

Pleaseth it your grace, to my greatest discomfort, sorrow, and disconsolation, but lately I have been advertised of the great and high displeasure which your highness beareth unto me and my lord of Suffolk for the marriage between us. Sir, I will not in any wise deny but that I have offended your grace, for the which I do put myself most humbly in your clemency and mercy. Nevertheless, to the intent that your highness should not think that I had simply, carnally, or of any sensual appetite done the same, I having no regard to fall in your grace’s displeasure, I assure your grace that I had never done against your ordinance and consent, but by the reason of the great despair wherein I was put by the two friars…which hath certified me in case I come to England your counsel would never consent to the marriage between the said lord and me, with many other sayings concerning the same promise, so that I verily thought that the said friars would never have offered to have made me like overture unless they might have had charge from some of your council, the which put me in such consternation, fear and doubt of the obtaining of the thing which I desired most in this world, that I rather chose to put me in your mercy accomplishing the marriage than to put me in the order of your council knowing them to be otherwise minded. Whereupon, sir, I put my lord of Suffolk in choice whether he would accomplish the marriage within four days, or else that he should never have enjoyed me; whereby I know well that I constrained him to break such promises as he made your grace, as well for fear of losing of me as also that I ascertained him that by their consent I would never come into England. And now that our grace knoweth the both offences, of the which I have been the only occasion. I most humbly and as your most sorrowful sister require you to have compassion upon us both and to pardon our offences, and that it will please your grace to write to me and to my lord of Suffolk some comfortable words, for it should be greatest comfort for us both.

By your loving and most humble sister,

Mary

believed to be Princess Mary Tudor by unknown artist

It’s possible that this letter was sent from Calais, a stop on their way back to England. In the letter she mentions that it was all her idea and that Charles had not provoked the matter. Mary had set her mind to marrying Charles and so she did. When Henry VIII sent his friend to France to escort marry back he made Charles promise he would not marry his sister (also mentioned in the above letter)- Henry knew how much Mary liked Charles and must have recalled the promise he had made his sister.

Mary Queen-Dowager of France to Henry VIII
[Letters of Royal and Illustrious Ladies]

My most dear and entirely beloved brother,

In most humble manner, I recommend me to your grace.

Dearest brother, I doubt not but that you have in  your good remembrance that whereas for the good of peace and for the furtherance of your affairs you moved me to marry with my lord and late husband, king Louis of France, whose soul God pardon. Though I understood that he was very aged and sickly, yet for advancement of the said peace and for the furtherance of your causes. I was contented to conform myself to your said motion, so that if I should fortune to survive the said late king I might have affixed and clearly determined myself to marry with him; and the same [I] assure you hath proceeded only of mine own mind, without any request or labour of my said lord Suffolk, or of any other person. And to be plain with your grace, I have so bound myself unto him that for no cause earthly I will or may vary or change from the same. Wherefore my good and most kind brother, I now beseech your grace to take this matter in good part, and to give unto me and to my said lord of Suffolk your good will herein. Ascertaining you, that upon the trust and comfort which I have, for that you have always honourably regarded your promise, I am now come out of the realm of France, and have put myself within your jurisdiction in this your town of Calais, where I intend to remain till such time as I shall have answer from you of your good and loving mind herein; which I would not have done but upon the faithful trust that I have in your said promise. Humbly beseeching your grace, for the great and tender love which ever hath been and shall be between you and me, to bear your gracious mind and show yourself to be agreeable thereunto, and to certify me by your most loving letters of the same till which time I will make mine abode here, and no farther enter your realm. And to the intent it may please you the rather to condescend to this my most hearty desire, I am contended and expressly promise and bind me to you, by these presents, to give you all the whole dote which delivered with me, and also all such plate of gold and jewels as I shall have of my said late husband’s. Over and besides this I shall, rather than fail, give  you as much yearly part of my dower, to as great a sum as shall stand with your will and pleasure; and of all the premises I promise, upon knowledge of your good mind, to make unto you sufficient bonds. Trusting, verily, that in fulfilling of your said promise to me made, you will show your brotherly love, affection, and good mind to me in this behalf, which to hear of I abide with most desire; and not to be miscontented with my said lord of Suffolk, whom of mine inward good mind and affection to him I have in manner enforced to be agreeable to the same, without any request by him made; as knoweth our Lord, whom I beseech to have your grace in his merciful governance.

Master of the Brandon Portrait (fl. circa 1510-1540) - Christie's
Master of the Brandon Portrait (fl. circa 1510-1540) – Christie’s

The Duke of Suffolk to Henry VIII
[Calendar, Henry VIII, Vol. II, Preface XXXI.]
Montrruil, April 22, 1515

Most gracious Sovereign Lord, – So it is that I am informed divers (many) ways that all your whole council, my Lord of York excepted, with many other, are clearly determined to “tympe” your grace that I may either be put to death or put in prison, and so to be destroyed. Alas, Sir, I may say that I have a hard fortune, seeing that there was never none of them in trouble but I was glad to help them to my power, and that your grace knows best. And now that I am in this none little trouble and sorrow, now they are ready to help to destroy me. But, Sir, I can no more but God forgive them whatsoever comes to me; for I am determined. For, Sir, your grace is he that is my sovereign lord and master, and he that hath brought me up out of nought; and I am your subject and servant, and he that hath offended your grace in breaking my promise that I made your grace touching the queen your sister; for the which I, with most humble heart, will yield myself into your grace’s hands to do with my poor body your gracious pleasure, not fearing the malice of them; for I  know your grace of such nature that it cannot lie in their powers to cause you to destroy me for their malice. But what punishment I have I shall thank God and your grace of it, and think that I have well deserved it both to God and your grace; as knows our Lord who send your grace your most honourable heart’s desire with long life, and me most sorrowful wretch your gracious favour, what sorrow soever I endure therefore.

At Mottryll, the 22nd day of April, by your most humble subject and servant,

Charles Suffolke

Mary’s Signature: mary-tudor-signature

Source:

Mumby, Frank Arthur; “The Youth of Henry VIII – A Narrative in Contemporary Letters

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The King’s Delight: Marriage of Mary Tudor to Louis XII



the-kings-delight

Mary Tudor, Queen of France was the title she earned when she married Louis XII of France. The marriage was one that was arranged by her brother, King Henry VIII of England and not a love match.

On 9 October 1514, at the age of 18, Mary Tudor married 52-year-old King Louis XII of France.

The below letter was written by the King of France to his brother-in-law, Henry VIII. In the letter he describes his delight with his new wife only a few months after their wedding.

Louis’ description of her made it seem that Mary had indeed done her duty as Princess of England. There is no indication in the letter that Mary pined for another – Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.

Artist Unknown; http://www.luminarium.org/encyclopedia/louismary.jpg
Artist Unknown; http://www.luminarium.org/encyclopedia/louismary.jpg



Louis XII to Henry VIII
[Ellis’ “Original Letters,” Second Series, Vol. I.]
Paris, December 28, 1514

My good Brother, Cousin, and Comrade, with all my heart I commend myself unto you very affectionately. I have by this bearer, your Officer of Arms, received the letters written by you to me on the ninth of this month, and have heard by the said bearer of the joy you had in hearing from my Cousin, the Duke of Suffolk, of my news, and the content which I have in the Queen, my wife, your good sister, who has so conducted herself towards me, and continues so to do daily, that I know not how I can sufficiently praise and express my delight in her. More and more I love, honour and hold her dear; therefore you may be certain that she is, and ever will continue to be, treated in such a manner as shall content her, and you likewise.

And as touching the reception and good cheer which my Cousin of Suffolk has told you I have made him, there is no need, my good Brother, Cousin, and Comrade, to give me thanks; for I beseech you to believe that besides what I know of the place he holds about you and the the love you bear him, his virtues, honesty, and good qualities merit that he should be honoured and received as much for what he is, as for your own honour; so I have made him the best cheer that was min my power.

Howbeit as touching the secret matters which my Cousin of Suffolk has spoken to me, and on which I have made such reply as he has declared to you by my ambassadors whom I have dispatched and sent to you, you have little more to hear; therefore I entreat you very affectionately after you have heard them to take resolution thereon, and to advertise me of the same as early as it be possible, that I may dispose and order myself accordingly in following what you command me in your said letters. I will keep things in suspense without taking any conclusion thereon, advising you that in good or evil fortune I will live with you, and not only preserve the good friendship and alliance which is made and sworn betwixt us, but keep the said inviolably, watching rather to augment and increase than to diminish it, and hoping that you, on your part, will do likewise. Praying God, my good Brother, Cousin, and Comrade, that He may have you in His holy keeping.

Your loyal Brother, Cousin, and good Comrade,

Louis

Source:

Mumby, Frank Arthur; The Youth of Henry VIII, A Narrative in Contemporary Letters; page 305-306

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Description of Departure of the King’s Sister: 1514



the-new-you

Princess Mary Tudor was the younger sister of King Henry VIII. She was said to be the King’s favorite sister. Henry arranged for Mary to wed the King of France – as always, a political alliance for England. To have France as an ally instead of an enemy was definitely a benefit to the country after years of fighting.

This letter is written by a Venetian merchant in England who wrote this letter to his brothers including this one about Princess Mary’s departure from England to France where she became Queen.

Description of Departure of the King’s Sister

Lorenzo Pasqualigo to his Brothers
[Venetian Calendar, Vol. II]

London, September 23, 1514

According to Jean Perréal, Mary Tudor Brandon Florence, Uffizi, Cabinet of Drawings and Prints, inv. 3911 F.

…Entertainment, banquets, and jousts are being held for the departure of the Queen, who left for Dover four days ago, accompanied by four of the chief lords of England, namely, the Treasurer, the Lord Chamberlain, the Chancellor and Lord Stanley [Edward Stanley, Lord Mounteagle], besides 400 knights and barons, and 200 gentlemen and other squires, with their horses. The lords, knights, and barons were all accompanied by their wives, attended by their damsels. There would be about 1,000 palfreys, and 100 women’s carriages. There are so many gowns of woven gold and with gold grounds, housings for the palfreys and horses of the same materials, and chains and jewels, that they are worth a vast amount of treasure; and some of the noblemen in this company, to do themselves honour, had spent as much as 200,000 crowns each. Many of the merchants purposed going to Dover to see this fine sight, and about a week ago all the merchants of every nation went to the court. The Queen [of France] desired to see them all, and gave her hand to each of them. She wore a gown in the French fashion, of wove gold, very costly. She is very beautiful, and has not her match in all England, is a young women of 16 years old, tall, fair, and of a light complexion, with a colour, and most affable and graceful. On her neck was a jewelled diamond, as large and as broad as a full-sized finger, with a pear-shaped pearl beneath it, the size of a pigeon’s egg, which jewel had been sent her as a present by the King of France, and the jewellers of “the Row,” whom the King desired to value it, estimated its worth at 60,000 crowns. It was marvellous that the existence of this diamond and pearl should never been known; it was believed they had belonged to the late King of France, or to the Duke of Brittany, the father of the late Queen.

According to the report of the courtiers, the Queen was to cross over to Boulogne, and the King of France would come as far as Abbeville, it was said, to meet her, and there consummate his marriage with this “nymph from heaven,” her beauty and affability warranting the expression. On bidding farewell to the merchants, she made them all many offers, speaking a few words in French, and delighting everybody. The whole court now speaks both French and English, as in the time of the late King…

 

Mary was in the care of Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk on her trip and on the 2nd of October they launched for France. Her voyage was not without problems, a very strong wind pick up merely an hour after they launched. This scattered all the ships in their fleet in several directions. One of the ships called, ‘The Great Elizabeth‘ succumbed to the weather and sunk with a loss of 400 men. Mary’s own ship ran ashore near the entrance to Boulogne harbor – Sir Christopher Garneys, an ambassador to King Louis XII ran through the breakers and carried the soaked and frightened Mary to safety.

Her marriage to King Louis did not last long. After his death, less than a year after being married, Mary secretly married Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.

Source:

Mumby, Frank Arthur; The Youth of Henry VIII in Contemporary Letters

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