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January 1, 1515 – Death of Louis XII of France

Louis XII from the workshop of Jean Perreal (public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Louis XII was King of France from 1498 to 1515. Born in 1462, he was a contemporary of Henry VII of England (who was born in 1457) – it was his successor (Francis I) who was the French counterpart to Henry VIII.

Louis had no sons, only daughters. While he had ensured a proper succession by marrying his daughter, Claude, to Francis d’Orleans (who already had a distant claim to the throne), he was still hoping to have a son himself. Therefore, when his second wife Anne of Brittany died in 1514 at the age of 37, the 52-year-old Louis went looking for an even younger bride. He found one in the beautiful nineteen-year-old Mary Tudor, sister to Henry VIII.

They were married by proxy on August 13, 1514 (you can read about that here), the wedding took place on October 9, 1514, and Mary’s coronation was held on November 4 (read about that here). Yep, you read the dates right: Louis died less than six months after the whole affair started, less than three months after the actual wedding, some say from his “marital exertions” but more likely of gout. Whatever the real cause, Mary was now free…and what she did with that freedom is a story for another blog post!

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