Monday, June 15, 2009

Question from Vanessa - Dismissal of Mary's ladies in France

I'm wondering about Henry's sister Mary's marriage to Louis of France. In one of David Starkey's books he mentions a row between king Louis and Lady Guilford who was Princess Mary's Head Lady, which resulted in all of the queens retinue being sent home. Does anyone know anything more about this?

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Louis dismissed all of Mary's ladies-in-waiting including Lady Joan Guildford who was in charge of her attendants almost immediately after their formal wedding in Abbeville and replaced them with French attendants. Mary had come to France with a very large entourage of English attendants that Louis might have distrusted. Also there is some speculation that he was reacting more to a previous wife who came with a large contingent of Bretan attendants that he did not like and could not get along with.

In any case, Mary was extremely upset by this as many of her attendants including Lady Guildford had made financial sacrifices to go to France with her. She wrote to her brother requesting that he try to help the dismissed attendants as well as he could. And she seems to have negotiated with Louis to retain as many as possible. Though she couldn't save Joan Guildford, she did manage to save Anne and Mary Boleyn who remained in her service

I think the most interesting part of this is that she blamed the Duke of Norfolk, who had been in charge of her entourage on he trip to France, for acquiescing so readily to Louis's dismissal of her retinue. I don't think she ever forgave him and her distrust might have played a part in later bad feelings between her future husband, the Duke of Suffolk, and Norfolk as they frequently clashed in council meetings.

Interestingly enough, when Mary was widowed a few short weeks later and forced to live in relative seclusion at the Cluny, she was given a staff of French attendants. By then she had gained more knowledge in the ways of ruling. When the new king, Francis I, returned from his coronation, it was to find that Mary had dismissed all her French attendants and replaced them with English attendants!