On this day in Tudor history, 5th October 1518, two-year-old Princess Mary, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, became betrothed to François, the Dauphin of France, who was just a few months old.
This betrothal was part of a treaty agreed between England and France, Henry VIII and Francis I.
In today's talk, I share details of what happened at the betrothal ceremony at Greenwich Palace, as well as explaining what else the treaty involved, and what happened to this betrothal in the end.
Also on this day in history:
- 1528 – Death of Richard Foxe, Bishop of Winchester, founder of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and Lord Privy Seal in the reign of Henry VII and at the beginning of Henry VIII's.
- 1549 – Edward Seymour, Protector Somerset, ordered a gathering of men at Hampton Court Palace, where he was lodged with the young Edward VI due to tensions mounting between Somerset and John Dudley, Earl of Warwick.
- 1553 – Parliament met in Mary I’s reign – It repealed the “treason act” of Edward VI’s reign, passed an act declaring the legitimacy of Mary I, reinstated the Mass in Latin, celibacy of the clergy and ritual worship. It was as if the reformation of Edward’s reign had never happened.
- 1555 – Death of Edward Wotton, physician and naturalist. He was buried in St Alban Church, Cheapside, London. Wotton is known for starting the study of zoology and his works included De differentiis animalium libri decem which he dedicated to Edward VI.
- 1598 – Burial of Thomas Crooke, Church of England clergyman, at St Mary Woolchurch in the chancel.
- 1605 – Death of Sir Edward Lewkenor, politician and Puritan patron, at Denham Hall from smallpox. He was laid to rest at Denham church.
Mary was still a good marriage prospect because France and Spain didn’t recognise her as illegitimate and France tried more than once, even rejecting a proposal for Princess Elizabeth, insulting Queen Anne Boleyn and causing Henry to lose his temper. The only reason Mary wasn’t married was her father kept changing his mind and for three years promoting Elizabeth instead.
Mary was promised to or almost promised to..
The dauphan of France
The second son of Francis I
A cousin or nephew of Anne of Cleves
The dauphan of France
Prince Philip of Spain.
Marriage games, especially for girls were ruthless. There wasn’t any reason even as “illegitimate” that Mary should not be a good match . After all Elizabeth of York was betrothed to the future King of Portugal during the period that she was “illegitimate”. She was also “illegitimate” when it was decided she would marry Henry Tudor, should he win his forthcoming challenge to Richard iii. For years she had also been betrothed to the dauphan of France and was still the eldest “legitimate” daughter of King Edward iv when that was broken off. These Princesses were betrothed and unbetrothed all over the place. It was bad enough being a pawn on the international marriage alliance market without your legitimate status being questioned as well. Both Elizabeth and Mary should have been well and truly married off, Mary long before Henry died and the Council could easily have found a Count to take Elizabeth, whose value abroad was far less than that of Mary. That of course changed again when Mary became Queen, because even an “illegitimate” heir to the crown, is heir to the crown, by her father’s will and Parliament and Mary’s reluctance didn’t change that. Marriages were also revoked when couples came of age, not often but in some cases, although successful alliances could be nurtured from childhood, especially if the children grew up in the same household.