Thursday, February 11, 2016

Mary Tudor - Perfection on Two Feet, She Played Beauty in 1522 Shrove Tuesday Pageant



Mary Tudor played the part of the Virtue of Beauty during the March 1, 1522 Shrove Tuesday event for the King's entertainment at York Place. 
Mary Tudor was Henry VIII's youngest sister.
Henry, raised in the soft(ish) nest of a female-dominated household knew a thing or two about a pretty girl.
His little sister was all of that, and she was his bestie sibling. 
He and Catherine of Aragon named their daughter after this vision of loveliness who was the King's baby sister.

As for her playing the part of Beauty - nepotism and favoritism aside, She. 
Was. 
A. 
Babe.

Look at this drawing of her and feel the royalty, the perfection:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ec/MaryTudorQueenFrance.jpg/220px-MaryTudorQueenFrance.jpg
Mary Tudor, born an English princess, became - but of course! - a queen of France.
Daughter of the King of England, she was Queen of France at the time of this drawing. 
Mary Tudor was royal from the top of her titian-haired head to the tips of her perfect little pink toes. 
Blood color? 
Blue, of course.

Interesting fact: Anne Boleyn served her in the French Queen's court and the two seemed to be on friendly terms at the time of the Shrove Tuesday celebration.
Later, when Henry VIII jettisoned Catherine of Aragon in order to pursue Mary Tudor's former lady-in-waiting, that there was a cooling of relations between the two.
http://www.bandt.com.au/information/uploads/2015/11/2E47B13F00000578-3311121-Cause_of_debate_Jay_Jays_has_released_a_tee_shirt_that_bears_the-m-34_1447113495034-e1447281268459-1260x840.jpg
"Not when you act like a ho, Anne. You Howard girls are all the same." (Yes - Boleyn girls were Howards thru their mother's line.)

Catherine of Aragon had been in Mary Tudor's family for over twenty years. 
Trophy wives may come and go,
http://image.wikifoundry.com/image/1/5gcnm9MQaR3Opv1NOPBWxg30953/GW250H315
. . . and with few exceptions, courtiers wanted this one to go. Like, NOW.
 but when push comes to shove, your family can't be blamed for siding with the original wife who'd been promised love and who'd promised obedience.
http://www.s-cool.co.uk/assets/2007-10-03_131818.gif
Yes, Catherine of Aragon sacrificed her looks doing her best to give England an heir - but she'll always be this girl to me.
Much has been made of the pageant as the 'introduction of Anne Boleyn to Henry VIII' but there isn't much to support that claim. 
It was the first recorded instance of both of them in attendance at the same event. 
Think of how the ladies experienced the event - together, bonded by female friendships and minor rivalries and laughter. 
At court the ladies were outnumbered by the gentlemen; five or six men for each lady; Mary Tudor was the alpha girl of the moment in the 1522 Shrove Tuesday pageant.
I hope she enjoyed that evening.
The bright candlelight bouncing off the plate and reflecting around York Place kept hidden the shadow of upcoming events that complicated, and for a few, ended,  the lives of everybody in attendance.