The Tudor Society
The Tudor Society
  • 13 May – Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon get married again

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th May 1515, Henry VIII's beloved sister, Mary Tudor, former Queen of France, married his best friend, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, at Greenwich Palace.

    Hear all about the couple's marriage in today's video from Claire Ridgway, author and founder of the Tudor Society.

    As Claire mentions, the couple had got married secretly in France and you can find out more about that in Claire's video at https://youtu.be/yPlUHeSNi40

    Also on this day in history:

    • 1536 – Queen Anne Boleyn’s royal household at Greenwich was broken up, even though she hadn't been tried yet. Click here to read more.
    • 1568 – Mary, Queen of Scots's forces were defeated at the Battle of Langside.
    • 1619 – Funeral of Anne (Anne of Denmark), consort of James VI and I. She was buried in Henry VII's Chapel in Westminster Abbey.
  • 18 March – The birth of Mary Tudor, Queen of France

    Henry VIII’s beloved sister, Mary Tudor, Queen of France, was born on this day in 1496 at Richmond Palace.

    In this video, I give a brief overview of Mary Tudor’s life.

    [Read More...]
  • 3 March – A secret marriage for Mary Tudor, Queen of France, and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk?

    3rd March 1515 is one of the dates given in the French contemporary sources for the secret marriage of Mary Tudor, Queen of France, and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, but did the couple really marry on this date?

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history”, I examine the English and French sources, such as letters and chronicles, to see which date they support for the couple’s secret marriage.

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  • The treatment of Mary Tudor (Mary I) Part 1

    I have very mixed feelings about Mary I, but I have to say that there is much to admire about her. Not only did she rally support against Wyatt’s Rebellion in 1554 and reign as the first official queen regnant; not only did she rally support for her claim to the throne in 1553, being prepared to give her life for it; but she also stood up to her father, King Henry VIII, and the bullies he got to do the king’s business, when she was just seventeen years old. She was a tough cookie.

    In today’s Claire Chats I talk about what happened to Mary from 1531 to 1534, what she went through.

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  • Margaret and Mary Tudor Quiz

    King Henry VII had two surviving daughters, Margaret and Mary, but how much do you know about these Tudor women? Grab a drink and snack, make yourself comfortable and let’s get that brain working! Good luck!

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  • Margaret or Mary?

    Showtime’s “The Tudors” TV series caused all kinds of confusion by amalgamating Henry VIII’s two sisters in one character named Margaret, and throwing in lots of inaccuracies too! So, how much do you know about these two women and do you know which woman did what?

    Grab a drink and snack, sit comfortably and get those little grey cells working with today’s fun history quiz. Good luck!

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  • 25 June 1533 – Mary Tudor, Queen of France, dies

    On this day in history, 25th June 1533, Mary Tudor, Queen of France, sister of King Henry VIII and wife of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, died at her home of Westhorpe Hall in Suffolk.

    Mary had been born on 18th March 1496 at Richmond Palace and was the youngest surviving child of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. She was renowned for her beauty, being described by the Venetian ambassador as “a Paradise – tall, slender, grey-eyed, possessing an extreme pallor”, and her motto was La volenté de Dieu me suffit (The will of God is sufficient for me). In 1507, Mary was betrothed to Charles of Castile (the future Charles V Holy Roman Emperor), and their wedding was planned for 1514. However, the betrothal was cancelled due to Henry VIII’s diplomatic dealings and, much to Mary’s horror, she was betrothed instead to the fifty-two-year-old King Louis XII of France, a man thirty-four years her senior, as part of Cardinal Wolsey’s peace treaty with France.

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  • What is Mary Tudor holding in the portrait of her and Charles Brandon? Is it an artichoke?

    Thank you to Simon for asking the question “What is Mary Tudor holding in the portrait of her and Charles Brandon? Is it an artichoke?”. I knew just the right person to send this question to! I sent it to art historian and author, Roland Hui, who has actually written a very detailed article on this painting (link at bottom). Thank you Roland!

    The object in Mary Tudor’s right hand is an artichoke, which interestingly enough is shaped like a royal orb. It is uncertain why Mary is pictured with one, but as artichokes were grown in the south of France, it may have been used to allude to her as France’s former Queen. As well, it might have been meant as a symbol of love and fecundity. Artichokes were said to be sacred to Venus/Aphrodite, the Classical goddess of love and beauty.

    The staff emerging from the artichoke is a winged caduceus. This was the magical wand associated with the god Mercury/Hermes. There was an old legend that Mercury had come upon two battling snakes. To make peace between them, the god separated the two with a stick. The serpents then wrapped themselves around it. This uniting of opposites was a fitting representation of Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon’s marriage – the merger of ‘cloth of gold’ and ‘cloth of frieze’ as the couple were described in an inscription on the Yarnborough version of the painting. However, to make the caduceus (and the artichoke) appear less ‘pagan’, the wand is also in the form of a Christian tau-shaped cross.

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  • 13 May 1515 – The marriage of Mary Tudor, Queen of France, and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk

    On this day in history, Sunday 13th May 1515, Mary Tudor, dowager queen of France and sister of King Henry VIII, married Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, at Greenwich Palace, following their secret marriage in France. They were married in the presence of the king, Queen Catherine and the court.

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  • 18 March 1496 – Birth of Mary Tudor, Queen of France

    On this day in 1496, Henry VIII’s beloved sister, Princess Mary Tudor, was born at Richmond Palace. She was the youngest of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York’s children to survive infancy and was sister to Prince Arthur, Princess Margaret and Prince Henry.

    Mary was renowned for her beauty, being described as “a Paradise – tall, slender, grey-eyed, possessing an extreme pallor” by the Venetian ambassador, and her motto was “La volenté de Dieu me suffit” (The will of God is sufficient for me).

    [Read More...]
  • Mary Tudor, Queen of France

    This week’s video is by Sarah Bryson and is on Mary Tudor, Queen of France, daughter of King Henry VII and sister of King Henry VIII.

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  • Mary Tudor, Queen of France, Quiz

    How much do you know about Mary Tudor, Queen of France, daughter of Henry VII and sister of Henry VIII? Test those little grey cells over your morning coffee with this fun quiz.

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  • Mary Tudor, Queen of France, by Sarah Bryson

    On 18th March 1496, Queen Elizabeth of York, wife of King Henry VII, gave birth to a healthy baby girl at Richmond Palace. The little girl was named Mary and her birth was recorded by Elizabeth in her Psalter. Lady Margaret Beaufort, the King’s mother, also recorded Mary’s birth in her Book of Hours. On 18th March, Margaret recorded: “Hodie nata Maria tertia filia Henricis VII 1495”, or “Today, ws born Mary, the third daughter of Henry VII 1495.” Although Margaret recorded the date as 1495, this is because the new calendar year did not start in Tudor times until Lady Day, 25th March, so we’d say that she was born in 1496.

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  • Mary Tudor, Queen of France Quiz

    Test your knowledge on Mary Tudor, Queen of France and sister of King Henry VIII in this fun quiz.

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  • The Marriage of Mary Tudor, Queen of France, and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk

    In today’s Claire Chats I talk about the secret marriage of Mary Tudor, dowager Queen of France, and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, in 1515.

    [Read More...]
  • The Marriage of Charles Brandon and Mary Tudor by Sarah Bryson

    On 14th January 1515, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, was sent to France under orders from Henry VIII to bring back Henry’s sister, the newly widowed Mary Tudor. Brandon would see to Mary’s safe return, but she would not be a widow on her return but, instead, a newly married woman.

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  • 25 June 1533 – The death of Mary Tudor, Queen of France

    Mary Tudor, Queen of France, and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.[/caption]Mary Tudor, Queen of France, was the younger sister of King Henry VIII. Born to King Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth of York in 1496, Mary was one of eight children and one of only three to survive to adulthood. Tragedy struck Mary at just seven years of age when her older brother and heir to the throne, Arthur, died in 1502. Less than a year later, Mary’s mother Elizabeth of York died trying to give Henry VII another son. Then, when Mary was eight years old, her older sister Margaret, then fourteen, left England for Scotland to marry King James IV. Mary and her older brother Henry were the only two siblings left in England and it has been suggested that during this time, growing up together, they formed a close bond which survived until Mary’s death.

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  • The Basilica of Saint-Denis Video

    In this week’s Claire Chats I talk about my visit to the necropolis at the Basilica of Saint-Denis in Paris.

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  • February 1516 – Birth and Christening of Mary I

    An article about Mary I’s birth and christening in February 1516.

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  • Mary I Books

    A list of recommended biographies and books on Mary I.

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