The Secret Marriage of Charles Brandon and Mary Tudor

On the 14th of January 1515 Henry VIII wrote to the new French King, Francis I, that he would be sending three of his men to acknowledge Francis’ accession to the throne and begin negotiations for Mary Tudor’s return to England. Thsee three men that Henry VIII selected were Sir Richard Wingfield, Nicholas West and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. Brandon would see to Mary’s safe return however she would not be a widow but a newly married woman.

To understand this story we must go back to the 13th of August 1514. On this day eighteen year old Mary Tudor was married via proxy to King Louis XII with the Duke of Longueville standing in for the French King. The wedding had been organised between Henry VIII and Louis XII to secure an alliance between France and England. However it was not until the 2nd of October that Mary would leave for France where she wed Louis XII in a lavish ceremony on the on the 9th October 1514 at nine o’clock in the morning in the great hall of the Hotel de la Gruthose.

Before Mary agreed to the marriage between herself and King Louis XII she extracted a promise from Henry VII that should the aging French King die before her she would be free to choose her second husband. She reminded Henry of this in a letter stating “that if I shulde fortune to survive the said late king I mygt with your good wil marye my self at my libertie withoute your displeasor.” Further in the letter she also stated that “as ye wel knowe I have always bornn good mynde towardes my lorde of Suffolk,”.

It may very well be that Mary, even before her marriage to the French King had an eye on Charles Brandon; after all Mary and Charles would have been familiar with one another. Mary was an ever present part of the pageantry and celebrations at court and Charles was an active member and participant in jousting and courtly dances. It is most likely at these events that Mary’s eyes turned to Charles. He was an extremely attractive man for the age, well built, strong, physically fit, well dressed and very handsome. Mary was said to be one of the most beautiful princesses in all of Christendom and it would not be a stretch to think that Charles’s eyes would have turned more than once to the young, beautiful Princess.

Less than three months after her marriage, on January 1st 1515, King Louis XII died. He had been sick for several weeks previously and his death came as no surprise although it was reported that when Mary was told she fainted. Mary was sent to Cluny where she wore white, the French colour of mourning. She was to stay in seclusion for forty days to see if she was pregnant. If she was pregnant and gave birth to a son he would be the next King of France. However no one really believed this and Francis, husband of Louis XII’s daughter Claude, was quickly accepted as the next King.

Once the news of the French King’s death reached England Brandon was sent to France to return the Dowager Queen and hopefully to retrieve as much as Mary’s coin, plate and jewels as possible. Before Brandon left Henry VIII made him swear not to act foolishly and marry the young Mary until after the pair had returned to England. It is interesting that Henry VIII should make Brandon make such a promise. Clearly the King was aware of either Brandon’s affections for his sister or quite likely that Henry was aware of his own sister’s affections towards the Duke. With the promise Mary made her brother swear Henry probably had a good idea that his sister would chose Brandon for her second husband. The King’s statement also suggests that he may have been willing to agree to the marriage but as long as it was on English soil and under his conditions.

It is also important to note that just before Brandon arrived in Paris to meet with Mary two friars met with the Dowager Queen in an attempt to turn her mind against Brandon. They informed Mary that the English council would never let her marry Brandon and worse that Brandon and Thomas Wolsey performed witchcraft to turn Henry VIII’s mind towards their will. They even went so far as to suggest that Brandon’s witchcraft caused a disease in William Compton’s leg, Henry VIII’s Groom of the Stool’s. When Brandon heard of this later he proposed that the Duke of Norfolk had been coaching the friars. It is poignant that if it was Norfolk that sent the friars to meet with Mary then Norfolk must have been aware of some feelings from Brandon towards Mary or visa versa. Clearly at this stage their feelings towards one another were becoming well known to those at court.

Brandon, Nicholas and West finally arrived in Paris on the 31st of January 1515. They met with Mary the same day and he reported that Mary was eager to return home so that she may see her brother. Mary was only eighteen years of age, young, beautiful and available to marry again. While in France she was left vulnerable as Francis I could use her as a bargaining tool. He could have her married to another French nobleman to continue the alliance with England or even have her married to another member of nobility from another country to form an alliance.

There was also speculation that Francis I worried that if Mary returned to England Henry VIII would once more seek a treaty with the Holy Roman Empire, and betroth Mary to Prince Charles with whom she had previously been betrothed. There was also the fact that if Mary remained in France Francis I could keep her jewels and other travelling expenses. It was rumoured that Francis I even had an interest in marrying the beautiful young Mary. However that seems unlikely has he would have had to divorce his current wife, the late King’s daughter, to do so.

With such uncertainty, stress and fear surrounding her Mary Tudor decided to take matters into her own hands. The Dowager Queen proposed marriage to Brandon, of which the Duke accepted. Weather this was a spontaneous decision to marry right then and there or was thought about for several days remains unknown. However it was clear that the pair had strong feelings towards one another.

Mary and Brandon married in secret without Henry VIII’s permission. While the exact date of the marriage is unknown it can be determined that the couple married before approximately ten witnesses  at the Chapel in Cluny, between 31 January, when Brandon arrived in Paris, and 3 February. We know this because in a letter dated the 3rd Brandon wrote to Wolsey regarding a meeting he had with the Francis I. During the meeting Francis told Brandon that he knew of the secret wedding because Mary had already informed him.

Brandon had just committed treason by marrying a member of the royal family without first gaining permission from the King. The penalty for such a crime was death. Both Brandon and Mary wrote to the King to confess what they had done. Brandon laid his soul bare to Henry VIII confessing what he had done and reminding the King of their long friendship and acknowledging that everything he had, every position he had gained, was because of the King. For her part Mary reminded Henry of his promise made to her before she left for France – that should the French King die she could chose a man of her own for her next marriage. After many letters back and forth and with Thomas Wolsey having to intervene to help smooth things over, Henry VIII consented to the marriage. Charles and Mary were married for a second time in a more public wedding in France on the 31st of March. They returned home to England on the 2nd of May 1514.

There has been a great deal of debate over the centuries as to just how angry Henry VIII was with Mary and Brandon. In return for the King’s blessing Brandon and Mary were ordered to not only return Mary’s full dowry, as well as all her plate and jewels but to also pay £24 000 in yearly instalments of £1000. Brandon was also required to give up the wardship of Lady Lisle, with whom he had previously been contracted to marry. While this was a staggering sum that would have certainly seen Brandon close to poverty, records show that by 1521, six years after their marriage the couple had only replied £1324. For a King who was so furious over the marriage he certainly did not try very hard to enforce the repayments! It would seem that the fine was more for show of the King’s displeasure than any actual resentment towards the couple.

In addition to this Brandon and Mary were formally married at Greenwich on the 13th of May in front of Henry VIII and Queen Katherine of Aragon. Having the wedding attended by the King and Queen was a public way to show those at court that the King gave his blessing for the marriage. Despite what stories have been created over Brandon’s marriage to Mary Tudor it would seem that Henry VIII did not hold any lasting anger towards his favourite sister and beloved friend.

While there is a train of thought that Brandon was banished from court after his marriage to the King’s sister there does not seem to be any basis for this. Brandon and Mary did remove themselves from court for a short time after their wedding but this appears only to be for them to spend some time together as a newly married couple. In fact it was during this time away Mary conceived her first child!  Both Brandon and Mary were very aware that their favour, especially Brandon’s, relied heavily upon the King and both were back at court by the end of 1515.

Despite committing treason Brandon remained high in the King’s favour. He continued to receive grants from the King and was a regular member of council meetings and even had the great honour of jousting against the King as his equal opponent.

Charles Brandon and Mary were married for eighteen years and had four children together. Their marriage only ended by Mary’s untimely death between seven and eight o’clock in the morning on the 25th of June 1533. Despite the great difference in rank, and all that was happening around them at the time, it would appear that the marriage of Charles Brandon and Mary Tudor was a true love match.

Charles Brandon and Mary Tudor

 

Sources:

Gunn, Steven 2015, Charles Brandon, Amberley Publishing, Gloucestershire, UK.

Harris, Barbara 1989, ‘Power, Profit, and Passion: Mary Tudor, Charles Brandon, and the Arranged Marriage in Early Tudor England’, Feminist Studies, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 59-88.

Hutchinson, Robert 2011, Young Henry The Rise of Henry VIII, Orion Books, London.

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 2012, Mary Rose, Amberley, Gloucestershire.

Perry, Maria 2002, Sisters to the King, Andre Deutsh, London.

Sadlack, Erin 2001, The French Queen’s Letters, Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

 

 

 

The Making of Two Dukes

On Candlemas eve, the 1st of February 1514, Henry VIII formally elevated two men to the tiles of Duke. Charles Brandon formally Viscount Lisle was created Duke of Suffolk. Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey was created 2nd Duke of Norfolk. The ceremony took place at Lambeth and was conducted by the King.

Along with the nearly created Dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk the other only Duke in the Kingdom was Edward Stafford the Duke of Buckingham. Buckingham was a descendent of Thomas Woodstock, youngest son of Edward III.  In addition to this his mother was Katherine Woodville, sister of the late Queen Elizabeth Woodville, wife of King Edward IV. At the time Buckingham was also the richest peer in England with an annual income of around £6000 per year (£2,902,620.00) as well as being High Steward of England and a Privy Councillor. These positions gave Stafford a great deal of power. With royal blood running through his veins and an arrogant attitude Buckingham was a regular member at court but it was reported that he often made those around him feel uncomfortable.

Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk was the second of his name and came from noble family. His father, Thomas Howard 1st Duke of Norfolk was head of Richard III’s vanguard at the Battle of Bosworth and was slain by an arrow through the brain defending his King. Thomas Howard also fought at the Battle of Bosworth but was injured and captured by Henry VII. Overtime Howard proved his loyalty to the new Tudor Monarch and was restored to his title of Earl of Surry.

Howard made an advantageous marriage for himself when he married Anne of York, daughter of the late King Edward IV in 1495. After her death in 1511 Howard married Elizabeth Stafford, oldest daughter of the Edward Stafford Duke of Buckingham. This made the newly created Duke of Norfolk the son in law of the Duke of Buckingham! Elizabeth and Norfolk had several children together, one of those being Mary Howard. Norfolk would seek to advance himself in the King’s favour and organised a marriage between his daughter Mary and the King’s illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy. The pair were married on the 26th November 1533, although due to their young ages (both were only fourteen) the marriage was never consummated. Norfolk was now related to the King yet Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk would go one step further in 1515 and become brother in law to the King!

Unlike the Dukes of Norfolk and Buckingham, Brandon did not come from royal blood nor did he come from a noble family. His father had fought valiantly for Henry VII at the Battle of Bosworth but there was no history of nobility – he had after all only been Knighted the day before the battle. Instead Brandon’s rise was due to his friendship with Henry VIII and his proven skills in military service. Born in 1485 Brandon was fourteen years older than the King but shared many common interests with him including jousting, hunting and archery. Brandon also shared a deep love of women and enjoyed participating in courtly dances and masquerades. Brandon would go one step further and in early 1515 he married Henry VIII’s younger sister Mary without the King’s permission. Although an act that was considered treason the King forgave Brandon and Mary and welcomed them back at court with only the threat of a fine. Brandon was now not only the Duke of Suffolk, the King’s greatest friend but he was also Henry VIII’s brother in law. In addition in the 1520’s with the King having no male heir it was Brandon’s son, Henry, that had a strong claim to the throne. An impressive feat for a man born of no royal blood!

The Duke of Buckingham was executed on the 17th of May 1521 upon Tower Hill. He had been charged with desiring the King’s death and seeing himself on the throne. With Buckingham’s execution it would leave only the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk who would rule as the two highest peers in the realm.

Over the decades the Duke of Norfolk would rise and fall in the King’s favour but it would be Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk that would always retain the King’s friendship as well as play an important part of the government of England at the time. He was appointed as President of the King’s council and in 1539 Brandon was appointed The Lord Grand Master/Lord Stewart of the Household. Brandon was now the first dignitary of court and was responsible for the household of the court below stairs.

Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk

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.

Hutchinson, Robert 2009, House of Treason The Rise & Fall of a Tudor Dynasty, Phoenix, London.

Weir, Alison 2008, Henry VIII King & Court, Vintage Books, London.

Wriothesley, C, Hamilton, W.D. (ed) 1875, A chronicle of England during the reigns of the Tudors, from A. D. 1485-1559, Camden Society, London.

 

Anne Boleyn’s Miscarriage of 1536

On 29th January 1536, the same day that Katherine of Aragon was laid to rest at Peterborough Abbey (nowadays known as Peterborough Cathedral), Anne Boleyn tragically miscarried. There has been a great deal of speculation surrounding Anne’s final pregnancy and miscarriage. Some have suggested that the foetus was disfigured and malformed while others do not give any hint at anything wrong with the baby. Here is what Eustace Chapuys, ambassador to Charles V at the English Court, had to say about Anne’s miscarriage:

“On the day of the interment the Concubine had an abortion which seemed to be a male child which she had not borne 3½ months, at which the King has shown great distress. The said concubine wished to lay the blame on the duke of Norfolk, whom she hates, saying he frightened her by bringing the news of the fall the King had six days before. But it is well known that is not the cause, for it was told her in a way that she should not be alarmed or attach much importance to it. Some think it was owing to her own incapacity to bear children, others to a fear that the King would treat her like the late Queen, especially considering the treatment shown to a lady of the Court, named Mistress Semel, to whom, as many say, he has lately made great presents.” (L&P x. 282)

Keeping in mind that Chapuys was loyal to Katherine of Aragon, aunt of Charles V his master and no friend at all to Anne Boleyn, he does not make any mention of the foetus being deformed. He only states that the child was three and a half months of gestation and male.

Charles Wriothesley who chronicled the reign of the Tudors from 1485 to 1559 stated that:

“This yeare also, three daies before Candlemas, Queene Anne was brought a bedd and delivered of a man chield, as it was said, afore her lyme, for she said that she had reckoned herself at that tyme but fiftene weekes gonne with chield; it was said she tooke a fright, for the King ranne that tjrme at the ring and had a fall from his horse, but he had no hurt; and she tooke such a fright withall that it caused her to fall in travaile,” and so was delivered afore her full tyme, which was a great discompfort to all this realme”(Wriothesley 1894).

Once again there is no mention of any malformations or disfigurements of the foetus only that Anne Boleyn gave birth to a male child before it was due to be born and that it was approximately fifteen weeks in gestation.

Nicholas Sander, a Catholic writing almost fifty years later in the time of Anne Boleyn’s daughter Elizabeth I wrote that:

“The time had now come when Anne was to be again a mother, but she brought forth only a shapeless mass of flesh” (Sander 1877).

Nicholas Sander is the only person to have written that the foetus that Anne Boleyn miscarried was malformed, in fact so much so that it was nothing but a shapeless mass of flesh. One must keep in mind that Sander was a Catholic and no friend of the Protestant Elizabeth I. In addition to this statement Sander also wrote that Anne Boleyn had six fingers, suffered from jaundice, had a projecting tooth under her upper lip and a large wen under her chin! With such blatant lies regarding Anne Boleyn’s appearance it is clear that Sander wrote of a disfigurement of Anne’s final miscarriage in an attempt to discredit her and in turn her daughter Elizabeth I.

Yet what exactly would the three and a half month old foetus have looked like and just how developed would it have been? I have a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education with Honours and I have been fortunate enough as part of my degree to study child development, including the development of the baby inside the womb.

According to Laura E. Berk, a well-known and highly respected professor a fetus at approximately three and a half months of age would have started to develop:

“organs, muscles, and nervous system start to become organized and connected. The brain signals, and in response, the fetus kicks, bends its arms, forms a fist, curls its toes, opens its mouth, and even sucks its thumb. The tiny lungs begin to expand and contract in an early rehearsal of breathing movements can be detected with ultrasound.” (Berk p. 93, 2000).

Berk also goes on to state that at around twelve weeks: “External genitals are well formed, and the fetus’s sex is evident.”(Berk p. 103, 1999). She also states that the length of the child would have been approximately 3 to 4 inches (7 to 10 cm). It is clear from this that the sex of Anne Boleyn’s child would have been known and that the limbs and overall body structure would have been formed, that is it would have been clear that the foetus was a small baby. While the head of the foetus may still somewhat be large compared to the rest of the body it would in no way have been abnormal.

There is no evidence to suggest that the foetus Anne Boleyn miscarried on January 29th 1536 was, as Sander put it, “a shapeless mass of flesh”. The child would have appeared to the eye as a normal, although extremely small, baby, the sex organs clearly evident.
Losing a child, especially a male child and possible heir to the English throne must have been absolutely devastating for Anne Boleyn. To suggest that the child was in anyway deformed and misshapen surely would have added greatly to Anne’s distress.

Anne Boleyn

Sources:

‘Henry VIII: February 1536, 6-10’, in Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 10, January-June 1536, ed. James Gairdner (London, 1887), pp. 98-108 http://www.british-history.ac.uk/letters-papers-hen8/vol10/pp98-108 [accessed 14 March 2015].

Wriothesly, C A Chronicle of England during the reigns of the Tudors, from A.D. 1485 to 1559. by

Nicholas Sander, Rise and Growth of the Anglican Schism (Burns and Oates, 1887)

Berk, E 1999, Infants, Children, and Adolescents, Allyn and Bacon, Boston.

Berk, E 2000, Child Development Fifth Edition, Allyn and Bacon, Boston.

Tudor Christmas Food

During the Tudor period the four weeks leading up to Christmas was known as Advent and consisted of fasting and a limited range of foods which were allowed to be eaten; a tradition that is still practiced by some today. Christmas Eve was particularly strict and people were not allowed to eat eggs, cheese or meat. However when Christmas day came around the Tudors were allowed to cast off the food restrictions and enjoy a lavish feast!

Lavish feasts were generally only held by the wealthy and may have consisted of a rather extraordinary meal which was a pastry pie containing a turkey stuffed with a goose which was stuffed with a chicken which was stuffed with a partridge which was then stuffed with a pigeon!! In addition to this the pie would be served with hare, wild fowl and game birds… as well as a range of other delicious dishes! (No wonder only Royalty and the wealthy could afford such a lavish and expensive feast!!) Another tradition was to skin a peacock, cook it and then insert it back into its skin. The peacock was then presented in all its stunning feathers but inside it was ready to eat! Wild Boar was also a popular choice and the cooked head was often used as a table presentation. Other meats consumed consisted of goose and swan. Turkey not brought to England from Europe until 1523 and would soon become a regular at Christmas meals.

On Twelfth Night, the last day of The Twelve Days of Christmas a fruitcake would have been shared amongst the guests. Inside a coin or a dried bean was hidden and whoever found the object would become the King or Queen of the celebrations for the night. This tradition is still carried on in many homes on Christmas Eve or Christmas day and often consists of a coin hidden in the fruitcake.

Another popular tradition during The Twelve Days of Christmas was the “minced pye” (minced pie). The Tudor’s minced pies were not small and round as they are today but rather rectangular or crib shaped to represent the crib of Jesus. They contained meat and included thirteen ingredients which represented Jesus and the twelve apostles. The 1545 cookbook ‘A Proper newe Booke of Cokerye’ instructed the reader how to make minced pyes:

“To make Pyes – Pyes of mutton or beif must be fyne mynced and ceasoned wyth pepper and salte, and a lyttle saffron to coloure it, suet or marrow a good quantite, a lyttle vyneger, prumes, greate raysins and dates, take thefattest of the broathe of powdred beyfe, and yf you wyll have paest royall, take butter and yolkes of egges and so tempre the flowre to make the paeste.”

It was also common during The Twelve Days of Christmas for family and members of the community to visit one another and the minced pie was a delicious, filling meal to share.

Wassailing and the Wassail bowl was also a common drink and tradition during The Twelve Days of Christmas. There is not a great deal of information about this tradition but it is believed that the word came from the Anglo-Saxon period and means “your good health” or “be whole”. The Wassail bowl was a communal wooden bowl which could be filled with up to a gallon of hot ale, apples, spices and sugar. At the bottom of the bowl was a crust of bread. People would take turns drinking from the Wassail bowl and then when finished the crust of bread was presented to the highest ranking person at the meal. This may be where our modern day tradition “to toast” comes from.

After eating such lavish and filling food, as in today’s modern times, many Tudors did not feel like participating in physical activities. (I certainly know after a large Christmas meal I can barely move let alone think about playing sport!) So in 1541 Henry VIII introduced the Unlawful Games Act which forbade any sports being played on Christmas day except the traditional sport of archery.

Food and drink was an important part of the Tudor’s Twelve Days of Christmas and although some traditions may have died out over the centuries many, such as minced pieces, can still be seen in some form in today’s modern Christmas celebrations.

minced-pies-seren01

(Image from http://b-c-ing-u.com)

Sources:

Grueninger, Natalie Tudor Christmas and New Year Celebrations, On The Tudor Trail, viewed 28 November 2015, <http://onthetudortrail.com/Blog/resources/life-in-tudor-england/tudor-christmas-and-new-year/&gt;.

Johnson, Ben A Tudor Christmas, Historic UK, viewed 28 November, < http://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofEngland/A-Tudor-Christmas/&gt;.

Trueman, C. N. Tudor Christmas, History Learning Site, viewed 28 November 2015, <http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/tudor-england/tudor-christmas/&gt;.

The History of the Mince Pie, Mince Pie Club, viewed 28 November 2045, <http://www.mincepieclub.co.uk/mince-pie-history/the-history-of-the-mince-pie/#more-112&gt;.

The Proxy wedding of Mary Tudor and Archduke Charles

On Saturday the 17th of December 1508 at just twelve years of age, Mary Tudor, youngest surviving daughter of King Henry VII, was married by proxy to Archduke Charles, grandson of Maximillian I and the future Charles V.

The lavish ceremony took place at Richmond Palace, just before midday. For the occasion no expense was spared. The great hall of Richmond was draped with silk and decorated with expensive plate and ornaments. In the chapel, where the mass was to be held, the altar was decorated with gold and silver guilt statues of saints all studded with gems. To prepare for the proxy wedding Mary was allocated a chamber in which cloth of gold was hung and expensive furniture was set out.

The entire event was recorded by Pietro Carmeliano, the king’s Latin Secretary, in his work ‘The spousells of the Princess Mary, daughter of Henry VII, to Charles Prince of Castile, A.D. 1508’,

‘And thus, the kinges highnes beyng under his clothe of estate, the Ambassadoure of Aragon and the lordes spirituell sy ttynge on his right hande downewarde, and my lorde the Prynce with other  Lordes temporall syttynge in like wyse on the lefte hande, and the sayd Ambassadours syttynge also directely before his grace, the president of Flaundres purposed a proposicion contaignynge the cause of their commynge ; which was for the parfect accomplissement of all thynges passed and concluded for the sayde amitie and Mariage at the towne of Calays.’

Mary arrived escorted by her former sister-in-law Katherine of Aragon and followed by other noble ladies. She was led up to an elevated dais where she stood under a canopy of cloth of gold. Katherine stood close by on a lower platform.

An attendant of the wedding recorded of Mary,

‘Now to declare and announce in words the splendid beauty of this princess, the modesty and gravity with which she bore herself , the laudable and princely gestures, befitting no great a princess, which, at that time, were found in her, would be out of my power to make comprehensible by any word or page. I will pass it by therefore, only saying that never could there be any, or only the most splendid, comparison with any other virgin princess, in so tender an age; for she was about eleven years old; her regal courtesy, and noble and truly paternal gravity were shown before all. Such was the composure of her dress, habit, and manners, that I may truly affirm that no princess, exercised in these great mysteries, would show so many splendid and royal virtues. Whatever in short of reverence, or humble subjection, of gravity, and respect was due to her most serene father, whatever of courtesy and affability to the orators, that she showed forth, like a most wise princess.’

Standing in for Archduke Charles was Sieur de Berghes. After an address by the Archbishop of Canterbury in Latin, both Mary and de Berghes exchanged vows under the canopy of cloth of gold. De Berghes recited the vows on behalf of Charles and then placed a ring on the middle finger of Mary’s right hand. Mary did likewise, taking de Berghes by the hand and reciting her wedding vows,

‘I, Mary, by you, John, Lord of Berghes, commissary and procurator of the most high and puissant Prince Charles, by the grace of God Prince of Spain, Archduke of Austria, and Duke of Burgundy, herby through his commission and special procuration presently read, explained and announced, sufficiently constituted and ordained, through your mediation and signifying this to me, do accept the said Lord Charles to be my husband and spouse, and consent to receive him as my husband and spouse. And to him and to you for him, I promise that henceforth, during my natural life, I will have, hold, and repute him as my husband and spouse; and herby I plight by troth to him and to you for him.’

After this Berghes stepped forward and pressed a kiss to Mary’s lips. With the wedding now performed all that was left to do was to ratify the marriage. This ratification was signed by both Berghes and Mary was well as a number of foreign dignitaries whom had attended the wedding, the Archbishop of Canterbury, four bishops, one duke (either the Duke of Norfolk or Buckingham), nine earls and eleven barons.

Following this the members of the party went to the Chapel Royal where they attended high mass performed by the Bishop of London. Afterwards a lavish and expensive feast was held and once again Henry VII spared no expense. Meals were served on plates of gold and silver gilt. Other dining items were made of precious metals and encrusted with pearls and fine stones. Wine flowed and it was reported that ‘delicate and sumptuous’ meats were served.

Sources:

Carmelianus, P. ed Gardiner , James, “The spousells” of the Princess Mary, daughter of Henry VII, to Charles Prince of Castile, A.D. 1508 (London: The Camden Society, 1893).

Everett Green, Mary Anne, Lives of the Princesses of England, from the Norman Conquest (Loondon: Longman, Brown, Green, Longman, & Roberts, 1857).

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