Have you heard the news?? (I know you have!) Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be married at St. George's Chapel, Windsor, on May 19, and I am SO excited at the news. To celebrate, I've decided to blog about a few royal weddings of the past. Some ended happily, many did not, but there were always beautiful clothes, pageantry, and some kind of hope for the future.
The royal couple married at majestic Winchester Cathedral two days after meeting (Mary was enthusiastic; Philip less so, but no doubt being declared King of England made him happy enough). As Philip spoke no English, the service was conducted in a mix of Latin, Spanish, and English, and it was hours long and quite grand. Philip wore "breeches and doublet were white...over all a mantle of cloth of gold...ornamented with pearl and precious stones, and wearing the collar of the Garter." The cathedral itself was "richly hanged with arras and cloth of gold," with a dais draped in scarlet and set with two thrones. (Philip had been declared King of England, to rule alongside his wife).
The ceremony was followed with a lavish banquet and dancing, amid the uneasy mixing of Spanish and English courtiers (the Spanish didn't think much of Mary's looks), and then the marriage bed was blesed by Archbishop Gardiner and the couple put to bed. The marriage was almost certainly consumated, because a few months later Mary thought herself pregnant, her blessing from God complete. (It turned out to be a false pregnancy, a humiliating blow Mary never recovered from). The marriage was marred by war, illness, and long separations, though Mary was devoted to her husband.
When Mary died in 1558, Philip was in Brussels and had not seen her in many months. He declared he felt a "reasonable regret" for her death, and later tried to court her half-sister Elizabeth, and then married a French princess. Much later, he went to war with the country where he was so briefly king, with the disastrous Armada. I always feel so sorry for Mary.
There are many interesting biographies of Mary and Philip, but a couple of my favorites are:
Linda Porter, Mary Tudor: The First Queen
Anna Whitelock, Mary Tudor, England's First Queen
You can see more about the Act of Marriage here.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Act_for_the_Marriage_of_Queen_Mary_to_Philip_of_Spain..