Sunday, 26 August 2012

Tudor marriage; love will out

Margaret Tudor and Archibald Douglas
The usual practice for royal marriages was that they were arrangements made by the monarch, or a higher family member, in order to create political alliances. The majority of marriages were planned for many years before the actual ceremony, and often the couple who were betrothed did not meet until their wedding day. For many women, their position or royal blood was played upon to ensure a marriage among other royal families in Europe to create and cement an alliance without needing a war, as well as the dowry that was provided with the bride.
Henry VIII and Jane Seymour

The Tudor dynasty, perhaps more than any other, was founded in marriages made for love not politics. This dynasty were a family in which women outnumbered men in numbers, and these women were not known for their obedience to orders which therefore may give us a reason as to why many of them boldly chose their own husbands rather than be given them through tactical political arrangements.

1396 John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford
1428 Dowager Queen Katherine of Valois and Owen Tudor
1464 Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville
1515 Princess Mary Rose and Charles Brandon
Princess Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland and Archibald Douglas (1514), Henry Stewart (1528)
Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville
1536 Margaret Douglas and Thomas Howard
1554 Princess Mary Tudor and King Philip of Spain
1555  Lady Frances Brandon Grey and Adrian Stokes
1560 Lady Katherine Grey and Edward Seymour
1563 Lady Mary Grey and Thomas Keyes
Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn (1533), Jane Seymour (1536), Katherine Howard (1540) and Katheryn Parr (1543)
1565 Mary, Queen of Scots and Henry Stuart
1610 Arbella Stuart and William Seymour
Elizabeth I made the ultimate choice of not marrying, which can be considered the bravest choice of all.

Mary Rose Tudor and Charles Brandon
A number of these royal women had been firstly married according to arrangements in order to provide England with an alliance abroad, however after those marriages ended, usually due to the death of the husband, they would look to marry again, for example this was the case for Princess Mary Rose Tudor. However, instead of continuing to be a pawn in the marriage game, these women chose their own husbands and married those they loved rather than who they were told to. This action required a lot of courage as they were acting against their sovereign and could be, and were, punished severely. In some ways this action can be interpreted as them gaining their freedom or independence, as they had been told who they were marrying without a choice in the matter and by making the active decision as to their husband they were in control of their own life to the extent that women could in those centuries.
Mary QOS and Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley
The Tudor family tree is filled with individuals who were passionate about the things and people that they loved, and the fact that they often married who they pleased is a testament to their willful, strong and determined nature, or was it their capacity for love that gave them this strength to defy royal will?
There seems to have been something in the Tudor blood which is synonymous for love.


  1. Here's a few more: Jacquetta of Luxemburg & Richard Woodville, Lord Rivers (parents of Elizabeth Woodville)
    Queen Katherine Parr & Thomas Seymour, Lord Sudeley
    Margaret Douglas (daughter of Margaret Tudor) & 2 Howard men: Thomas Howard
    nephew Charles Howard
    Edward Seymour, Lord Beauchamp (son of Katherine Grey & Edward Seymur and
    Honora Rogers

    1. Also Mary, Queen of Scots and James Hepburn, Lord Bothwell