On the 13th May 1515 Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk and The Dowager Queen of France, Mary Tudor was officially married at Greenwich Palace. The wedding was attended by Mary’s brother King Henry VIII and Queen Katherine of Aragon. The couple had married in secret several months after Mary’s first husband, King Louis XII, died on January 1st 1515. They were then married in a second, more public wedding, in France on the 31st of March. The couple had married without consent of King Henry VIII and Brandon risked death for such a marriage!

Of the marriage Andrea Badoer and Sebastian Giustinian, the Venetian ambassadors in the English court wrote home stating that…

“On the 13th instant the espousals (le sponsalitie) of Queen Mary to the Duke of Suffolk at length took place; there were no public demonstrations, because the kingdom did not approve of the marriage. Wishing to ascertain whether this marriage had been concluded with the King’s consent, were assured by great personages that it had first been arranged between the bride and bridegroom, after which they asked the consent of King Henry, who, however, had maintained his former friendship for the Duke, which would appear incredible, but is affirmed by the nobility at the Court. Have, therefore, abstained from paying any compliments either to the King or to the bride and bridegroom, but have determined to visit his Majesty in a day or two, and congratulate him on his sister’s arrival. Should they understand that the great personages of the Court intend to make public mention of the event, and that it was celebrated, they would then offer congratulations in the Signory’s name on the marriage, but not seeing it solemnized as becoming, would keep silence, to avoid giving offence.(Calendar of State Papers Venice Vol 2, 618).

Despite gaining Henry VIII’s blessing for their marriage Mary and Brandon were required to return Mary’s Dowry which included her jewels and plate. Brandon was instructed to relinquish his wardship of Lady Lisle and all rights to her inheritance and property. In addition to this the couple also had to pay £24 000 (£11,610,480.00) in yearly instalments of £1000 (£483,770.00). This may have seem to be a massive sum however records showed that six years after the marriage, in 1521, Mary and Brandon had only repaid £1324 (£640,511.48) Clearly the king was more interested in making a show rather than actually enforcing regular repayments!

The couple were married for 18 years and had four children together before Mary’s death at aged 37 on June 25th 1533.

Charles Brandon and Mary Tudor

(Image from Wikipedia)


Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, London, 1871.

Carroll, L 2010, Notorious Royal Marriages: A Juicy Journey Through Nine Centuries of Dynasty, and Desire, New American Library, New York.

Currency Converter, The National Archives, <http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/currency/default0.asp#mid&gt;.

Loades, David 2012, Mary Rose, Amberley, Gloucestershire.


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