Mary (1496-1533) (DNB00)

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MARY (1496–1533), queen of Louis XII, king of France, third daughter of Henry VII by Elizabeth of York [q. v.], was born most probably in March 1496. A privy seal bill at Midsummer in that year authorises a payment of fifty shillings to her nurse, Anne Skeron, for a quarter's salary, and Erasmus describes her as four years old when he visited the royal nursery in the winter of 1499-1600 (Letter to Botzheim in Catalogue Erasmi Lucubrationum, Basle, 1523). Of the four daughters born to Henry V r II she and her elder sister Margaret, queen of Scots, alone grew to maturity, and after the death of Prince Arthur, when she was a child of five, she had but one brother, Henry, afterwards Henry VIII. At about six years of age she had a stall' of gentlewomen assigned to wait upon her, with a schoolmaster and a physician. She was carefully taught French and Latin, music, dancing, and embroidery. At seven she lost her mother, and from the frequent payments to her apothecary between 1504 and 1509 she appears to have been a delicate child.

In 1505, when she was nine years old, her father seems to have spread a report that she was sought in marriage by Emmanuel, king of Portugal, for his son, but this must have been mere diplomacy. At the reception given to Philip, King of Castile, at Windsor, in 1506, she danced and played the lute and clavicord. Next year, when Philip was dead, a match was proposed between her and his son Charles, prince of Castile (afterwards the Emperor Charles V), grandson of the Emperor Maximilian. Another match, proposed at the same time, was between Henry VII and Margaret of Savoy, regent of the Netherlands, Maximi- lian's daughter. Henry and Margaret were to have met at Calais in the spring to discuss both subjects, but a dangerous illness forbade Henry's going thither, and the match between Charles and Mary was left to be settled by commissioners later in the year. A treaty for the marriage was accordingly signed at Calais, 21 Dec. 1507, by which Charles was to send representatives to England to make the contract in his name before Easter following, and was to marry her afterwards, when he reached the age of fourteen. Heavy penalties were attached to the breach of the engagement on either side, and the leading towns and nobles, both of England and of Flanders, became security for their payment. Next year, however, owing to another illness of Henry's, the proxy marriage was deferred till late in the year. A splendid embassy from Maximilian arrived in England in December, and at Richmond, on the 17th, the Sieur de Bergues, as proxy for Prince Charles, went through the marriage ceremony with Mary. An account of the magnificent reception of the ambassadors and of the ceremonial was printed at the time, both in Latin and in English (see Archizologia, xviii. 33. The English version has been printed by the Roxburghe Club, and a copy of the Latin is in the Grenville Library in the British Museum, entered in the catalogue under the head 'Carmelianus, Petrus '). On 21 Dec. Toison d'Or, king of arms, on behalf of Maximilian, delivered to Henry a very precious jewel, called the riche jleur de lis, as security for a loan of one hundred thousand crowns, the main object, as Maximilian con- fessed to his daughter, which induced him to consent to the marriage.

In 1509 Mary's father died, and her brother, Henry VII I, became king. Her grandmother, Margaret Beaufort [q. v.J, also dying the same year, bequeathed to her, as ' my lady Mary, prynces of Castill,' ' a stonding cupp of gold covered, garnesshed with white hertes, perles, and stonys,' of twenty-one ounces weight (Cooper, Memoir of Margaret, Countess of Richmond and Derby, p. 133). For some years it seemed as if the match between her and Charles was to take effect. Henry sent aid to Flanders against Gueldres, and Maximilian was so cordial an ally that in the war against France in 1513 he was content to serve under Henry as a private soldier. Nevertheless, in July, before Henry had crossed the Channel, there were rumours of intrigues among the Flemish nobles for accommodation with France, and breaking off' the marriage with Mary. But on 15 Oct., when Henry and Margaret of Savoy met at Lille, a new treaty was made between England and the emperor, in which it was agreed that the marriage should take place at Calais before 15 May 1514, prior to a joint invasion of France in the following summer. As the time drew near, however, there seemed no disposition to complete the match, and it turned out that the emperor had made a separate truce. Henry had been quite sincere on his side, and complained of the expense he had been put to about the marriage, while Mary had treasured a bad portrait of Charles, and was said to have wished for his presence ten times a day.

But the king, with Wolsey's aid, knew how to punish such duplicity. Peace was secretly arranged with France, and Louis XII, who had lost his queen in January, engaged to marry Mary. Sne was eighteen, and by all accounts exquisitely beautiful and graceful, while he was a broken-down man of fifty-two. Nevertheless, she solemnly renounced her contract with Charles on 30 July at the royal manor of Wanstead, and on 13 Aug. at Greenwich she allowed the Duke of Longueville, then a prisoner of war, to make a new one for her as proxy for Louis XII. The treaty for her marriage to the French king had been already signed at London on the 7th. On the 18th the proxy marriage took place, when the Duke of Longueviile represented her husband. On the 22nd she appointed the Earl of Worcester as her own proxv, to complete the contract in France, which he accordingly did at Paris on 14 Sept. (Rymer, xiii. 445, 1st edit.) Then, in that very month, she herself left London, and was accompanied by the king and court to Dover, where a considerable squadron was appointed to convey her across the Channel. Four of the chief lords of England, with four hundred barons and knights and two hundred gentlemen, and a train of eighty ladies, went along with her. She embarked at four in the morning on the 2nd. The fleet met with rough weather on the passage, and one of the vessels actually foundered, with some loss of life and valuables. Even her own ship ran aground in entering Boulogne harbour. Boats were lowered, and a gentleman named Sir Christopher Garnish had to wade in the water and carry her ashore in his arms. But Louis, who awaited her arrival at Abbeville, heard of her landing on the 3rd. She joined him there on the 8th, and the marriage was celebrated on the 9th, with a splendour which was only impaired by persistent rain (Venetian Calendar, ii. 208). The very next aay the whole of her English servants were dismissed, by order, as she suspected, of the Duke of Norfolk. She wrote to complain of this to Wolsey, who countermanded the return of her chief attendant, Lady Guilford. But the act was her husband's doing, and she was obliged to be content. On 5 Nov. she was crowned as queen at St. Denis, and on the following day she entered Paris, where jousts were held in her honour during the greater part of the month. But her queenly state was brief. On 1 Jan. 1515 her husband died. Anticipating the event, Wolsey had written to urge upon her the necessity of extreme discretion if she were left a widow in a foreign land, and especially to listen to no new offers of marriage. To this, if not even to a worse danger, she was exposed by the pressing attentions of young Francis I, which she was only able to repel by confessing to him her attachment to Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk [q. v.], now sent in embassy to congratulate the new king on his accession. The attachment had existed before her marriage with Louis, whom she had agreed to accept, in spite of his age and infirmity, on being promised that if she survived him she should have her own choice next time. Nor was her brother Henry unwilling, for his part, to redeem the pledge, but several of his council thought the match with Suffolk unbecoming, while in France rumour gave her to the Duke of Savoy or to the Duke of Lorraine. One Friar Langley, too, at Paris, warned her to beware of Suffolk, for he had traffickings with the devil. Another friar backed up these admonitions, and made her despair of the fulfilment of the king's promise, so she induced Suffolk, in violation of a pledge he had given to Henry, to marry her at once in France.

The king was intensely displeased, and was only made placable in the end by a bond given by her and the duke to pay him, for is expenses in connection with her first marriage and return from France, 24,000l., in half-yearly instalments of 1,000l. each, and to resign to him a sum of two hundred thousand crowns, which Francis was induced to allow her as the moiety of her dower, with all the plate and jewellery given her by Louis XII. There was some difficulty, however, in getting back the jewels from Francis, who did not admit her claim to them, but was willing to give her half, or half their value, amounting to fifty thousand crowns, as a free gift, though, he said, they were not nearly sufficient to pay her late husband's debts. There was great discussion on this subject with the English ambassadors, which only caused Francis to regret having given her already a jewel of special value, called the Mirror of Naples, and the parting gift which he had promised her on her leaving for England was but four rings of little value. She left Paris, however, with Suffolk, on 16 April, and they were married openly at Greenwich on 13 May, in presence of the king and court, but with no public rejoicings, as the match was generally unpopular.

For some time Mary and her husband retired into the country. She came up with him to London, however, early in 1516, and was delivered of a son at Bath Place on 11 March, but in May they both withdrew again into Norfolk, and spent the following winter on the duke's estates, avoiding unpleasant remarks at court. In March 1517 she and Suffolk met the queen (Catherine of Aragon), while on pilgrimage, and conducted her to Walsingham. In the summer following she came up to London, and was present at the betrothal of the Princess Mary to the dauphin at Greenwich on 7 July; immediately after which she withdrew to Bishop's Hatfield (as it was then called), now the well-known seat of the Marquis of Salisbury, where on the 16th she gave birth to a daughter, Frances, who became the mother of Lady Jane (trey [q. v.] In the spring of 1518 she and her husband visited the court at Woodstock, where she was seized with a severe ague. She was attended by the king's physicians, and Henry showed her much kindness. On 5 Oct. following she was present at Greenwich at the espousal of the Princess Mary to the dauphin, and after the banquet given by Wolsey to the French ambassadors on the occasion she and the king led the dance in disguise. On 7 March 1519 she took part in a similar disguising, also at Greenwich, when the king gave an entertainment to the gentlemen left as hostages for the French king's payments. In March 1520, having been apparently summoned up to London with the duke to make preparations for crossing the sea to the great interview with Francis I, she was again taken very ill at Croydon with a disease in her side, and had several physicians attending her. Nevertheless, in May she was present at the Emperor Charles V's reception in England; immediately after which she did cross the Channel, and took a prominent part in the maskings at the Field of the Cloth of Gold. Three large chambers were set apart for her use in the gorgeous temporary palace built for the occasion, next to the three chambers allotted to Queen Catherine (Chronicle of Calais, p. 80, Camden Soc.) In 1525 her only son, Henry, was created Earl of Lincoln. That same year, by the treaty of the Moor, France at last conceded the demands of England touching her dower, the arrears of which were paid up, and next year Henry so far mitigated the terms of the hard bargain he had driven with her and Suffolk as to accept half-yearly instalments of 500l. instead of 1,000l. in payment of their debt to him. On 6 May 1526 she was the king's principal guest at a great banquet at Greenwich. About this time she and Suffolk had a household of forty-four men and seven gentlewomen taxed to the subsidy.

During the next two or three years she paid some agreeable summer visits to Ely, and to the monasteries of Butley and Eye in Suffolk. In 1528, when Clement VII was at Orvieto, Suffolk obtained from him a bull to protect his marriage with her from being impugned on account of his previous invalid marriage with Margaret Mortimer [Brandon, Charles, Duke of Suffolk], which bull he got attested before the Bishop of Norwich in the following year. Perhaps this matter drew Mary's sympathy all the more warmly to Catherine of Aragon, against whom Henry VIII was then proceeding before the legates for a divorce. Certainly Mary hated Catherine's rival, Anne Boleyn, whose marriage with the king she and Suffolk would have openly opposed if they had dared, and she flatly refused to go over with her and Henry to the meeting with Francis I between Calais and Boulogne in 1532. She died at Westhorpe in Suffolk on 24 June 1533, and was interred with much heraldic ceremony in the abbey of Bury St. Edmunds; when that monastery was dissolved, five years later, her body was removed to St. Mary's Church in the same town. The remains were disturbed and the coffin opened in 1784, when Horace Walpole, the Duchess-dowager of Portland, and many others obtained locks of her hair. A marble tablet with an inscription in her memory was placed in the church in 1751, and a painted window representing scenes in Mary's life was presented by Queen Victoria in 1881. Besides the two children already mentioned she had a daughter named Eleanor.

Several portraits of Mary are extant, all testifying to her remarkable beauty. One painted when she was thirty-four years of age (which would be in 1530, not 1532 as it has been erroneously reckoned) is described by Mr. Scharf in the ‘Archæologia,’ xxxix. 48. There is also the celebrated picture of her and Charles Brandon together, which Horace Walpole purchased at Lord Granville's sale. It is now the property of the Duke of Bedford, and is described in Mr. Scharf's ‘Catalogue of the Woburn Abbey Pictures.’ The Earl of Yarborough possesses a somewhat similar portrait of Mary and Brandon ascribed to Mabuse; it is reproduced in Mr. Francis Ford's ‘Mary Tudor.’ In the library of Queen's College, Oxford, is a finely illuminated book of hours, once the property of Mary.

[Hall's Chronicle; Memorials of Henry VII, and Letters and Papers of Richard III and Henry VII, both in Rolls Ser.; Calendar of Henry VIII; Spanish Calendar, vols. i. ii. and Suppl.; Venetian Calendar, vols. i–iv.; Lettres de Louis XII et du Cardinal George d'Amboise; Green's Princesses of England, vol. v.; Mary Tudor, a Retrospective Sketch, with an Account of Mary Tudor's Funeral, by Francis Ford (Bury St. Edmunds, 1882).]

J. G.