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The Tudor Society

Mary Tudor and Charles of Castile – A betrothal or proper marriage?

Carrying on from my recent Claire Chats talk on proxy marriages, I just wanted to look at the negotiations for a marriage between Mary Tudor, daughter of King Henry VII, and Charles of Castile (later Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor), and the end result, a ceremony that took place in December 1508.

What's interesting is that the service in 1508 was different to what had actually been agreed between Henry VII and Emperor Maximilian. Let me explain...

Notes and Sources

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  1. R /

    Thanks for a very interesting recap of this beautiful service but very complicated situations. Claire may I just point out that you said the marriage was called off in 1513 by Henry Vii. Did you perhaps mean Henry Viii?

    What a strange marriage? It was a bit of a weird habit these child marriages which obviously could not be consummated and I have just been watching a documentary on Robert the Bruce whose son David married Joan of England when he was four and she was six. How can a child give consent? Their marriage lasted. I suppose the way out was to say no consent had been given and if not consummated it wasn’t valid. The ceremony sounds like a proper wedding.

    Henry Viii lost patience with Maximilian and Spain because he felt betrayed over their promises to help him invade France. He went for an alliance with France instead with Mary being married to King Louis xii who was in his fifties and she was 18 when the marriage took place. Of course we all know that Princess Mary was delighted (not) with this and got a promise from brother Henry to allow her to marry whom she wished as a widow. She went on to force through a marriage with the man of her dreams, King’s best mate, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.

    Ironically Henry Viii had been negotiating with Charles of Castile during 1514 and in 1515 the question of ratification of the previous marriage arose with Charles who was now fifteen and who would become Holy Roman Emperor in 1519 and eventually King of Spain. Mary believed Henry intended to marry her properly to Charles and instead she married her rescuer, Brandon. But was she married to Charles of Castile all along? Henry Viii obviously found a way out of the treaty otherwise this marriage history would have become one big entangled web. Her husband of choice had a bad enough marriage record, one with his Aunt, Margaret Mortimer which came back to haunt him and Mary in 1528. In desperate need of money Margaret claimed that she was still the wife of Charles Brandon. Thomas Wolsey did his usual digging, found evidence that a decree of annulment had been issued and had the Pope issue a final decree. However, Charles still aided his ex misses in her quest to gain her inheritance and financial rights.
    What a minefield.

    You also mentioned, Claire, one Thomas Brandon. Is that the Uncle of Charles Brandon?

    1. < / Post Author

      Yes, I meant Henry VIII lol! I’m surprised I make any sense at the moment, my head is just not coping!

      Yes, that’s right, Thomas Brandon, the diplomat, was Charles Brandon’s paternam uncle.

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Mary Tudor and Charles of Castile – A betrothal or proper marriage?