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Mary Tudor married Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, at Greenwich Palace

Following Mary the French Queen's marriage to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, at Greenwich Palace in 1515, they used Suffolk Place, in Southwark, as their London residence.

Mary the French Queen, younger sister of Henry VIII, married Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, at Greenwich Palace on 13 May 1515. It was Mary’s second marriage, the first to Louis XII of France, being of less than three month’s duration. Mary and Charles had four children together, the most notable of whom, Frances Brandon, was the mother of Lady Jane Grey, who was Queen of England for a matter of days in 1553.

It was their second wedding ceremony, as Mary and Charles were married in France, in secret, some time in February 1515. This news was not initially well received by the King but his attendance at their Greenwich wedding with his wife, Katharine of Aragon, was considered a blessing of the marriage.

Greenwich Palace

18th century engraving of Greenwich Palace facing the River Thames © Alamy

The manor of Greenwich had been in royal ownership during the medieval period, but it was during the reign of Mary’s father, Henry VII, that it was turned into one of the finest royal palaces in England. The first royal palace to be built and decorated so extensively in brick, it became Henry VIII’s principal residence between 1512, when the Palace of Westminster was damaged by fire and 1532 when the Palace of Whitehall was built. Henry VIII expanded his father’s palace, building stables, an armoury and a tiltyard for jousting, with an adjacent four-storey permanent viewing grandstand.

Read our in-depth feature on the Lost Palace of Greenwich in Issue 10.

Suffolk Place

Suffolk Place was built on the south side of the river Thames in Southwark as a London residence for Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and his new bride, Mary. Their first child, Henry Brandon, was christened in an impressive ceremony held in its great hall in March 1516. Charles Brandon sold Suffolk Place to Henry VIII in 1536 and the king granted it to his third wife, Jane Seymour.

Briefly one of the most magnificent houses in the city, sadly, nothing remains above ground on the site of this splendid, short-lived palace.

19th century engraving of a panorama of Southwark featuring Suffolk Place on the west side of Southwark High Street © Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

"From the drawings and a few surviving fragments, we can reconstruct something of Suffolk Place. It was built of brick, with four corner towers topped with domes. A fifth, larger tower was also capped with an onion shaped dome. As well as a grand gatehouse, stepped back slightly from the street, the house’s principal buildings were arranged around an outer courtyard, with the higher status rooms the furthest from the noise and mess of the street."

Read our in-depth feature on The Lost Suffolk Place in Issue 8.

Read more about the places associated with Mary, the French Queen, here.

You can explore both Greenwich Palace and Suffolk Place, along with eight other palaces, in our special issue, The Lost Palaces of Henry VIII.



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