The Tudor Society

2 October – Mary Tudor, Henry VIII’s sister, sets sail for France

On this day in Tudor history, 2nd October 1514, eighteen-year-old Mary Tudor, sister of King Henry VIII, set off from Dover to sail to France to marry fifty-two-year-old King Louis XII of France.

Things hadn't gone to plan with the scheduled sailing, due to bad weather, and Mary encountered rough seas on her journey too.

Find out about the arrangements for the journey, who was at Dover, Mary's crossing to Boulogne, and what happened next, in today's talk.

Find out about Mary's entry into Abbeville and her wedding in this video:

Also on this day in Tudor history, 2nd October 1528, reformer and Bible translator William Tyndale’s book "The Obedience of a Christian Man" was published in Antwerp.

A copy of this book owned by Anne Boleyn ended up being a catalyst of the English Reformation when it was confiscated from the suitor of one of Anne's ladies as a heretical book. Henry VIII ended up reading it and proclaiming that "This Book is for me and all Kings to read.” It set him on his path to the break with Rome and saw him marrying Anne Boleyn as his second wife. Find out more in last year’s video:

Also on this day in history:


On this day in Tudor history, 2nd October 1514, eighteen-year-old Mary Tudor, sister of King Henry VIII, set off from Dover to sail to France to marry fifty-two-year-old King Louis XII of France.

Mary Croom Brown, in her book “Mary Tudor, Queen of France”, writes of how the royal court set off for Dover on 19th September and quotes an eye-witness, a Venetian merchant writing to his brother, saying “There would be about a thousand palfreys, and a hundred women's carriages… There were so many gowns of woven gold, and with gold grounds, housings for the horses and palfreys of the same material, and chains and jewels, that they were 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 proposed going to Dover to see this fine sight.”

It surely must have been a wonderful sight.

Chronicler Edward Hall records that Mary was meant to set off much earlier than she did, but that the royal party “tarried” at Dover “for the wind was troublous and the weather foul”, so much so that a ship was run aground and many were hurt in the wreck. When the weather cleared, Hall records how Mary’s wardrobe, stable and riches were then “shipped”, and members of the royal court, including the Duke of Norfolk, Marquess of Dorset, Bishop of Durham, Earl of Surrey, Lord Delaware, Lord Barnes, Lord Monteagle, Sir Maurice Berkeley, Sir William Sandys, and Sir Thomas Boleyn, were appointed to attend her on her journey, along with other knights, squires, gentlemen and ladies, and boarded the ship.

Hall records the departure of Mary’s fleet. The king had wanted to sail out into the channel on board the “Harry, Grace a Dieu”, to give his sister an official farewell, but the inclement weather made this impossible. Hall records:

“The said lady took her leave of the queen in the castle of Dover and the king brought her to the seaside, and kissed her and betook her to GOD and the fortune of the sea, and to the governance of the French king her husband. Thus the. ii. day of October at the hour of four of the clocks in the morning, this fair lady took her ship with all her noble company: and when they had sailed a quarter of the sea, the wind rose and severed some of the ships to Calais, and some in Flanders and her ship with great difficulty was brought to Boulogne, and with great jeopardy at the entering of the haven, for the master ran the ship hard on shore, but the boats were ready and received this noble lady, and at the landing Sir Christopher Garnyshe stood in the water and took her in his arms, and so carried her to land, where the Duke of Vandome and a Cardinal with many estates received her, and her ladies, and welcomed all the noble men into that country and so the Queen and all her train came to Boulogne.”

Mary then rested there awhile before continuing her journey on to Abbeville. You can find out more about Mary’s lavish entry into Abbeville on 8th October 1514, and her wedding, which took place the following day, in last year’s video.

Mary’s marriage to the French king was short-lived as Louis died in January 1515. Mary went on to marry Charles Brandon, the Duke of Suffolk, on the 3rd March 1515.

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