the house of cavill

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A historic love: Charles Brandon & Mary Tudor

She was a young princess from the House of Tudor, born on the 18th of March 1496 as youngest surviving daughter to Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. A great beauty with fair pale skin, grey eyes and reddish golden hair, she loved dancing, music, masquerade balls and was a beloved figure at both her father’s and her brother’s court.

He was a lowborn, orphaned boy, whose father died fighting side by side with her father in the Battle of Bosworth. To honour this loyal sacrifice, King Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth took the young boy in when he was only 7 and he was raised along with the royal children.  

While she was her brother’s most beloved sister, he was one of his closest friends and certainly a charming, chivalry man. Throughout the years they grew closer and closer.

To their great misfortune, Henry VIII arranged for his sister to be married to King Louis XII of France, a man 34 years her senior. Mary begged her brother to reconsider and declared her love for Charles. But the King would not hear it, he needed his sister for political aspects and although Brandon was a Duke, he was lowborn and no fit for a royal princess.

At last, Mary gave in to her brother’s demand but only under one condition. If the old King Louis would come to pass, she would be allow to choose her second husband. Henry agreed though he may have not have intended to keep his promise.

On October 9th 1514, Mary married the French King and accepted her fate with the grace of a true Queen. Their union did not last long, for Louis XII died New year’s eve that same year. To ensure Mary was not carrying the King’s heir, she was locked in seclusion without any of her English ladies-in-waiting. This was a French custom every Reine Blache ( = Dowager Queen)  had to endure.

By the end of January, Henry had commanded Charles Brandon to bring Mary back to England but he had to promise not to marry her.

A few days later Charles arrived in France and found a deeply emotional Mary locked away in isolation. This month had been both lonesome and terrifying for her, and being reunited with her beloved Charles must have awoken many feelings in her.

To prevent herself from another loveless marriage that would most likely separate her from Charles yet again, Mary beseeched him to take her as his wife. Brandon was torn between his loyalty to his King and friend and his love and affection for his lovely Mary. With the promise he made to Henry in his mind, he knew he had to refuse her.

But Mary was determined so she proposed to him an ultimatum. Either marry me now, or I shall join a nunnery so that ‘never no man shall joy of me.’

Charles could no longer deny her nor his feelings and thus somewhere in February, in a small chapel near Palais de Cluny, they were married.

King Henry was furious when he heard the news, there was no way to reason with him. Fortunately Marry knew her brother well, and she send him some of the most beautiful jewels King Louis had given her. Eventually Henry forgave both of them although he did fine them to pay Mary’s dowry to

Some council-members disapproved for it was unimaginable for a princess to marry a for nothing else but love. But Charles was ever the charming man and Mary the beloved, gracious princess, so they were soon forgiven.

And who doesn’t enjoy a story about a love that conquered all?