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Tudor Minute May 13: Mary and Charles marry a Third Time

Today in 1515 we celebrate the third marriage of Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon. The reason they were married three times was thanks to the drama and secret nature of their wedding. When Mary was left a widow after her much older husband, the French king died after just a few months of marriage, her future was very uncertain. She was the Dowager Queen of France, but she was also in French custody, and could be used as a French bargaining chip on the marriage market. There was also the possibility that she could be sent off for an alliance with the Holy Roman Empire. And so, when Charles Brandon was sent to collect her, she decided to secure her own destiny, and chose him for her husband, proposing marriage, which he accepted. They married in secret sometime between the 15th and 20th of February. They wrote to Henry confessing what they had done, and secured his permission to marry after the fact, and were again married publicly on the 31st of March. They returned home in early May, and then had a final public wedding in Greenwich today, May 13.

That’s your Tudor Minute for today. Remember you can dive deeper into life in 16th century England through the Renaissance English History Podcast at englandcast.com where there are several episodes about Mary Tudor including one with author Tony Riches discussing Mary and Charles.

Author Tony Riches on Charles Brandon