Queen Mary I: The unofficial Princess of Wales




Attributed to Lucas Horenbout - National Portrait Gallery, NPG 6453

Though by now we’ve had quite a few Queens in their own right in the United Kingdom, none of these women were ever created Princess of Wales in their own right. Henry VIII faced a dilemma when his only surviving child by Catherine of Aragon proved to be a healthy girl. Though we now know he would not ultimately accept her as his heir and would change the course of history to prevent her accession, Mary was sent to preside over the Welsh marches in 1525 as was the duty of a Prince of Wales. There she continued her education. Mary was an excellent student and expressed herself with clarity and elegance. She had quite neat handwriting for the time.

Mary did not actually live at Ludlow Castle, as it was in need of repairs. She lived in Hartlebury, Tickenhill and Thornbury Castle.

During her time there and up until Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn she was often referred to as the Princess of Wales, but as we know, the title was never officially bestowed on her.

Mary and her retinue officially left for the Welsh Marches on 12 August 1525, and they arrived at Thornbury on 24 August. The household officially numbered 304 persons, quite impressive for a nine-year-old girl. Surprisingly, Mary’s chief lady-in-waiting was the Scottish born Lady Catherine Gordon, the wife of Perkin Warbeck.

Mary often returned to court for special occasions and was often praised for her appearance. Mary was recalled from the Welsh Marches in 1528 as many changes were coming. Though at first it was not thought to be a permanent return, it would turn out to be so. Mary’s time as the unofficial Princess of Wales was over, and she would soon be forced to hand over the title of Princess.






About Moniek 1276 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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