The Coronation of Mary Tudor, Queen of France

On Sunday 5th November 1514 eighteen year old Mary Tudor, sister of King Henry VIII, was crowned Queen of France at the Abbey Church of Saint-Denis.

Early in morning the English Ambassadors were informed by Monsieur de Montmorency that they needed to make their way to the cathedral of St. Denis so they could take their seats before other, less important people arrived. At ten o’clock there was a great blast of trumpets signalling Mary’s arrival. A few moments later the French members of nobility arrived including the Ducs d’Alençon, Bourbon, Longueville and Albany, the Count de Vaundosme, and the Count de Saint-Pol.

After them came Mary. There are no accounts of what Mary wore for her coronation; for such a momentous occasion it surely must have been a gown of the most dazzling design and material. Mary was led by the hand through the cathedral by Francis d’Angoulême to a cushion in front of the high altar. Mary knelt and the Cardinal de Brie stepped forward anointing Mary with the sacred oil before placing the royal sceptre in her right hand and the rod of justice in her left. The Cardinal then placed a ring on Mary’s finger and the matrimonial crown of France on her head.

After this Francis stepped forward and helped Mary to her feet before guiding her to the chair of state beneath a canopy on the left side of the altar. The crown was so heavy that Francis had to move to stand behind where Mary sat so that he could hold the crown symbolically above the new queen’s head. High mass was then sung by Cardinal de Brie before Mary once more approached the altar. She made an offering before receiving the sacrament. Once this was done the ceremony was officially over and Mary left the cathedral of St Denis with her ladies and other nobles to return to her apartments where she was joined by Louis XII, who had been secretly watching the coronation.

Mary’s reign as Queen of France would last a little under two months, ending when King Louis XII died on the evening of the 1st January 1515. From that time forward Mary would regularly style herself as Mary Tudor, Dowager Queen of France.

Mary Tudor and Louis XII

Mary Tudor and Louis XII


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

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).

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