The marriage of Mary Tudor and Louis XII

On the 9th of October 1514 Princess Mary Tudor married King Louis XII of France at Abbeville. Just before dawn Mary and her ladies woke and after a light meal they began to dress and prepare for the ceremony. At seven o’clock Mary left her lodgings as part of a grand procession. At the head of the procession were twenty six knights marching in pairs, followed by musicians and heralds. Next came Mary wearing a French gown made from gold brocade, trimmed with ermine and dripping in expensive jewels showing off the wealth of England. Mary wore a coronet studded with jewels and her red hair cascaded down over back as a sign of her virginity.  Walking beside Mary were the Duke of Norfolk, the Marquis of Dorset, the Bishop of Durham, the Earl of Surrey, and Lord Monteagle. Each man was dressed in his most expensive clothing, including cloth of gold, damask and silk and wearing heavy golden chains in order to show their wealth. Behind Mary walked noble men and twenty four ladies wearing cloth of gold and beautiful jewellery. Lastly came thirteen women of Mary’s personal staff, each accompanied by a gentleman on either side.

Louis XII wore an outfit of gold and ermine designed to match Mary’s gown. Despite his clothing the French king was not as lavishly dressed as other members of his nobility who were each trying to outdo the English.

When Mary entered the hall Louis XII doffed his bonnet and in response Mary curtsied. The king stepped forward and gently kissed Mary before he led her to a seat beside his, under a canopy held by four French noblemen. Florimond Robertet, the King’s Treasurer, stepped forward and presented Louis XII with a necklace with a diamond and ruby worth around 10,000 marks to give to Mary.

Cardinal Rene de Prie, Bishop of Bayeux conducted the wedding service. First the nuptial mass was sung before the consecrated wafter was broken and shared between Mary and Louis XII; each kissed the wafer before consuming it. French tradition dictated that the king’s son, or nearest male relative, in this case Francis d’Angoulême, Louis XII’s son-in-law, serve the king throughout the marriage ceremony while Mary was attended by her daughter-in-law, Claude.

After the ceremony Mary stood, curtseyed to her husband and then kissed him. She then left the hall and returned to her apartments where she dined with her ladies. Mary was now a married woman.

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