Mary Tudor (1496–1533)

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Mary Tudor (1496–1533)

Queen of France and sister of Tudor king Henry VIII . Name variations: Mary of France; Duchess of Suffolk. Born Mary Tudor on March 18, 1496, in Richmond-upon-Thames, Surrey, England; died on June 26, 1533, in Westhorpe, Suffolk; buried at Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk; daughter of Henry VII, king of England (r. 1485–1509), and Elizabeth of York (1466–1503); sister of Henry VIII, king of England (r. 1509–1547); married Louis XII (1462–1515), king of France (r. 1498–1515), on October 9, 1514 (died January 1515); married Charles Brandon (1484–1545), 1st duke of Suffolk (r. 1514–1545), on May 13, 1515; children: Henry Brandon (1516–1534), earl of Lincoln; Frances Brandon (1517–1559, mother of Lady Jane Grey); Eleanor Brandon (c. 1520–1547). Charles Brandon was also married to Anne Browne (d.1511), Margaret Neville (b. 1466), and Catharine Bertie (1519–1580).

Married king of France (1514); widowed (1515); married the duke of Suffolk (1515); journeyed to Calais, France, with her brother, Henry VIII, for Field of the Cloth of Gold meeting (1520).

Mary Tudor, sometimes called Mary of France, was the daughter of King Henry VII of England. Her father created the Tudor dynasty when he married Elizabeth of York and united the Houses of York and Lancaster. Mary's brother would become the notorious Henry VIII, who sundered the Roman Catholic Church's influence from England as a result of his penchant for new wives. That same Henry's daughter—Mary Tudor's niece—would also come to be known as Mary Tudor or Mary I , and fared somewhat better than her namesake as the first woman to take the English throne by hereditary right.

Mary Tudor's father brokered marriages for his children that continued the legacy of his own union to Elizabeth of York and its political ramifications. At the age of 12, Mary was betrothed

to the prince of Castile, Charles (V), who would become Holy Roman emperor in 1519. The engagement was broken, however, by 1514, and she was married that same year to Louis XII of France of the Valois dynasty. He died on New Year's Day the following year, and Mary then wed in secret Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk, on May 13, 1515. This union, however, raised the ire of her brother, now king of England, and from France the couple sent large sums of money to Henry VIII to appease him.

In 1520, Mary Tudor joined her brother and Francis I of France near Calais in a place referred to as the Field of the Cloth of Gold for a lavish ceremonial alliance between the two longtime enemy nations. Little good came of it, and Henry VIII eventually allied with Mary's former fiancé, now Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Mary reportedly disliked Anne Boleyn , her brother's second wife; Henry VIII's determination to marry Boleyn and conceive a male heir eventually led England to a schism with Rome and to Henry being declared head of the Church of England, superior to the pope.

Brandon, Eleanor (c. 1520–1547)

Duchess of Cumberland . Born around 1520; died on November 1547 at Brougham Castle, Cumbria, England; buried at Skipton, North Yorkshire, England; daughter of Charles Brandon (1484–1545), 1st duke of Suffolk, and Mary Tudor (1496–1533); married Henry Clifford, 2nd earl of Cumberland, in June 1527; children: Margaret Clifford.

Mary Tudor died on June 26, 1533, in Westhorpe, Suffolk. With Charles Brandon, she had had one son, Henry Brandon, and two daughters, Eleanor Brandon and Frances Brandon; Frances would be the mother of Lady Jane Grey . In a power struggle between Mary I and anti-Catholic forces, 17-year-old Lady Jane Grey sat on the English throne for nine days in 1553 before meeting her death by beheading.

Carol Brennan , Grosse Pointe, Michigan

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Mary Tudor (1496–1533)

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