The Tudor Society

Happy New Year and the death of a king

Happy New Year!

In this video that I did for the YouTube channel, I talk about King Louis XII of France, first husband of Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII, and his death on this day in history, 1st January 1515.


On New Year’s Day 1515, King Louis XII of France died. He was just fifty-two years old and he died less than three months after his marriage to eighteen-year-old Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII.

Let me give you a few facts about this French king…

• Louis was born on 27th June 1462 at the Chateau de Blois in the Loire Valley in France. He was the son of Charles, Duke of Orléans, and his third wife, Maria of Cleves.
• Louis inherited the title Duke of Orléans in 1465 following the death of his father.
• In 1476, Louis to married twelve-year-old Joan, or Jeanne, of France, daughter of the then king, Louis XI. Joan was a sickly girl and appears to have had a curvature of the spine, ad Louis did not want to marry her. The marriage was, however, forced by the king, who died in 1483, leaving the throne to Joan’s brother, Charles, with his older sister, Anne, acting as regent.
• In July 1488, Louis fought at the Battle of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier on the side of the Duke of Brittany against the forces of King Charles VIII. The royal forces were victorious and Louis was captured. Fortunately, he was pardoned and released by the king and went on to serve the king as a military commander in the First Italian War.
• Charles VIII died in 1498 after hitting his head on a lintel at the Chateau d’Amboise. He had no surviving children so Louis, as the great-grandson of King Charles V, became his heir. Charles died on 7th April 1498 and Louis became King Louis XII of France.
• In December 1498, Pope Alexander VI annulled Louis’ marriage to Joan on the grounds that Louis had been forced into it. Louis had claimed that it had been unconsummated due to Joan’s deformity. Joan had opposed the annulment but eventually submitted and became a nun. Louis then married the former king’s widow, Anne of Brittany, to maintain the union of France and Brittany. Anne had several pregnancies resulting in only two surviving daughters, Claude and Renée.
• While he was King of France, Louis conquered Milan and Naples, but couldn’t hold either.
• Anne died in January 1514 and the couple’s eldest daughter, Claude, became Duchess of Brittany.
• On 9th October 1514, at Abbeville, Louis married Mary Tudor, youngest daughter of the late King Henry VII and sister of King Henry VIII. Mary had previously been betrothed to Charles, the future Holy Roman Emperor, but the betrothal had been broken off in 1513 and Cardinal Thomas Wolsey negotiated a peace treaty and marriage agreement between England and France. Mary was not keen on the idea of marrying a much older man, but was able to get her brother to promise that when Louis died, she’d be able to marry a man of her choosing.
• And Louis died less than three months after the wedding! He’d been recorded as suffering from a severe case of gout over Christmas 1514 and he died on the evening of New Year’s Day 1515. He was laid to rest in the Basilica of Saint-Denis, just outside of Paris, with his late wife, Anne of Brittany. Mary was kept confined to the Hotel de Cluny to see if she was pregnant with Louis’ heir.
• Salic Law prevented Louis’ daughter, Claude, from inheriting the throne of France, but Claude did become queen consort. Claude had married Francis, son of Charles Count of Angouleme, and Louise of Savoy, in May 1514. Francis was Louis’ closest male relation and so became King Francis I of France following Louis’ death and when it was clear that Louis’ widow, Mary, was not pregnant. Mary went on to secretly marry her brother’s best friend, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.
• Although his campaigns in Italy were a disaster, Louis was proclaimed Father of the People by the Estates General for the peace be brought to the country, his defence of his country, his reforms and his reduction of tax.

You can find out more about Mary Tudor's marriage to Louis XII in this video:

And here are a couple more 1st January videos from the archives:

There are 3 comments Go To Comment

  1. R

    Happy New Year.

    We all know what Louis xii died off. Lucky devil.

  2. R

    The account by Hall and the German accounts say he stayed for a few days and they dined together so the account by Anthony Brown is nonsense.
    It’s suspicious that Anthony Brown should make such a deposition at the convenience of Henry just in time for his now politically awkward marriage to be annulled.
    In other words Henry made it up.

  3. M

    Happy New Year, Claire and Tim! Looking forward to a great year. Michelle t

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Happy New Year and the death of a king