Mary, Queen of France

Life Story

Eighteen year old Mary was obliged to marry the ageing Louis XII of France to cement an international alliance, but before she accepted him, she made her brother Henry VIII promise she could choose for herself if she outlived Louis. After a glittering three months as a queen, she was widowed, and secretly married the Duke of Suffolk, before Henry could prevent it. Eventually forgiven, Mary was a leading light at the English court four nearly ten years, before ill – health and the advent of Anne Boleyn drove her into retirement.

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Following in the Footsteps

Other than her time in France, Mary lived in the palaces around London, and then on her estates in Suffolk and Norfolk.

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The high point of ceremony in Mary’s life was her coronation in St Denis. As Queen she was surrounded with luxury jewels, carriages, dresses of cloth of gold and fabulous tapestries. Although the Lady and the Unicorn tapestry cycle was not made for Mary, they are reminiscent of the type of hangings she would have had.

Book Reviews

Mary’s life was chronicled in detail by the eminent Victorian historian, Mary Everett Green, and later by Hester Chapman in 1969. Maria Perry wrote a joint biography of Mary and her sister, Margaret, Queen of Scots, 'Sisters to the King', reviewed below, and Sarah Bryson has recently published a new work, ‘La Reine Blanche’, based on Mary’s letters. A novel by Tony Riches ‘Mary, Tudor Princess’ was also published in early 2018.