Mary Tudor, Queen of France

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Mary Tudor (18 March 1496 – 25 June 1533) was the younger sister of King Henry VIII of England and queen consort of France through her marriage to Louis XII. The latter was more than 30 years her senior; following his death, which had occurred less than two months after her coronation, she married Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. She was his third wife. This marriage produced four children; and through her eldest daughter, Frances, Mary was the maternal grandmother of Lady Jane Grey, who was the de facto monarch of England for a little over a week in July 1553.

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First marriage: Queen of France

Mary was the fifth child of Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York, and the youngest to survive infancy. She was born at Richmond Palace. She and her brother, Henry, were close when they were children—he named his daughter, the future Queen Mary I, after her. The warship Mary Rose was also named in her honour.

When she was a young girl the Duke of Milan attempted to arrange a marriage between her and his young son Massimiliano Sforza as a way to get Henry VII to help his father against the French. Henry rejected this as he was at peace with France having no wish to be involved in the Italian Wars.

Known in her youth as one of the most beautiful princesses in Europe,[1] Mary was betrothed in December 1507 to Charles of Castile, later Holy Roman Emperor. However, changes in the political alliances of the European powers meant this wedding did not take place.[2] Instead, Cardinal Wolsey negotiated a peace treaty with France, and on 9 October 1514, at the age of 18, Mary married its 52-year-old King Louis XII at Abbeville. One of her Maids of Honour who attended her in France was Anne Boleyn. Mary was described by the Venetian Ambassador as "a Paradise—tall, slender, grey-eyed, possessing an extreme pallor". She wore her glorious silken red-gold hair flowing loose to her waist.[3] Despite two previous marriages, the king had no living sons and sought to produce an heir; but Louis died on 1 January 1515, less than three months after he married Mary, reputedly worn out by his exertions in the bedchamber.[citation needed] Their union produced no children. Following Louis's death, the new King Francis I made attempts to arrange a second marriage for the beautiful widow.[4]

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