WI: Henry VIII has no children

What if Henry VIII never has any children? None of the women he's with never even gets pregnant by him. Does he try to get rid of Catherine and remarry earlier? What does he do when none of his wives provide him children? How would this affect the English Reformation? Do we see a succession crisis after Henry's death? The Scottish king would be his natural heirs TTL, but they were OTL excluded from the English sucession. Does Henry go for Mary's heirs if she and Suffolk still get together and what happens if Mary stays in France for some reason?
 
What if Henry VIII never has any children? None of the women he's with never even gets pregnant by him. Does he try to get rid of Catherine and remarry earlier? What does he do when none of his wives provide him children? How would this affect the English Reformation? Do we see a succession crisis after Henry's death? The Scottish king would be his natural heirs TTL, but they were OTL excluded from the English sucession. Does Henry go for Mary's heirs if she and Suffolk still get together and what happens if Mary stays in France for some reason?
By third wife he might realize he's the problem.... regardless that's the only choice?
 
What if Henry VIII never has any children? None of the women he's with never even gets pregnant by him. Does he try to get rid of Catherine and remarry earlier? What does he do when none of his wives provide him children? How would this affect the English Reformation? Do we see a succession crisis after Henry's death? The Scottish king would be his natural heirs TTL, but they were OTL excluded from the English sucession. Does Henry go for Mary's heirs if she and Suffolk still get together and what happens if Mary stays in France for some reason?
He would annul his marriage with Catherine of Aragon in 1515/1516 for starters in a timeline like that.
 
Hard to say exactly what will happen but I can only assume henry would be succeeded by a son of one of his sisters

(also i love this being mean to henry viii keeps my skin clear, my plants watered, and my bank account full 😈)
 
Henry will surely get rid of Catherine and blame her for being the problem. But when his second wife doesn't get pregnant either, he'll think about it. If he annuls his marriage to Catherine and marries Eleanor of Austria, then he won't be able to get rid of her either because she's the emperor's sister and he won't allow it.
 
Hard to say exactly what will happen but I can only assume henry would be succeeded by a son of one of his sisters

(also i love this being mean to henry viii keeps my skin clear, my plants watered, and my bank account full 😈)
Iirc his actual will gave the throne to the house of gray if his son biffed it so I'd imagine that
 
Could one of his wives resort to adultry for the good of the realm/their own safety and sanity?

The only time I've heard an argument for George Boleyn to make adultery resonate as plausible (don't believe it, but you get the point) was he was willing to save his sister because Henry had problems and this is the kind of secret you keep VERY close.
 
He would annul his marriage with Catherine of Aragon in 1515/1516 for starters in a timeline like that.
I'm not sure it would come quite that early, but otherwise agree. Annulments on grounds of infertility were much more common than what Henry was trying to argue, so Catherine would have a far weaker hand to play, and the process would surely argue it before the pope became a prisoner of Catherine's nephew. So, the divorce that launched the Reformation is butterflied away and Henry almost certainly takes a second wife of a much higher standing than Anne as a result.

Then James V would eventually inherit England
Think so? ATL Henry could well adopt one of his nephews by Mary as his heir. Not knowing what killed the boys, bringing them to court at a young age could butterfly their one or both of their deaths.

More importantly, though, James VI's succession came about in large part because the country was wringing its hands over the tight-lipped Elizabeth for years and, by the end of her life, there really wasn't any better choice. I don't think the English establishment is primed for a union of the crowns the same as they were in OTL, so even a different marriage for one of Mary's daughters might suffice. (Possibly to Reginald Pole? The events that led to his break from Henry are all gone in ATL.)
 
I'm not sure it would come quite that early, but otherwise agree. Annulments on grounds of infertility were much more common than what Henry was trying to argue, so Catherine would have a far weaker hand to play, and the process would surely argue it before the pope became a prisoner of Catherine's nephew. So, the divorce that launched the Reformation is butterflied away and Henry almost certainly takes a second wife of a much higher standing than Anne as a result.
OTL Henry was seriously taking in consideration to ask for annulment from Catherine already at the end of 1514
Think so? ATL Henry could well adopt one of his nephews by Mary as his heir. Not knowing what killed the boys, bringing them to court at a young age could butterfly their one or both of their deaths.

More importantly, though, James VI's succession came about in large part because the country was wringing its hands over the tight-lipped Elizabeth for years and, by the end of her life, there really wasn't any better choice. I don't think the English establishment is primed for a union of the crowns the same as they were in OTL, so even a different marriage for one of Mary's daughters might suffice. (Possibly to Reginald Pole? The events that led to his break from Henry are all gone in ATL.)
If you had bothered to read the quote to which I was answering you would have know who @Aichi72 wanted know what would happen if Mary Tudor gave a posthumous son to Louis XII (and that would mean who she would not return in England or marry Brandon so all her OTL descendants are butterflied and there is no english alternative to Margaret‘s descendants with Tudor blood)
 
If you had bothered to read the quote to which I was answering you would have know who @Aichi72 wanted know what would happen if Mary Tudor gave a posthumous son to Louis XII (and that would mean who she would not return in England or marry Brandon so all her OTL descendants are butterflied and there is no english alternative to Margaret‘s descendants with Tudor blood)
Snippier than usual today, I see 🙄

I don't agree that this precludes her from remarrying Brandon. It seems very unlikely that the French of this era are going to give an Englishwoman any role in a regency government or the rearing of their future king considering how poor Anglo-French relations are at this time, and if she was already in love with Brandon before going to France, then why not go back? She wouldn't be the first queen to marry down for love -- her great-own grandmother did exactly this. Henry was already willing to settle the crown on his younger sister's line, so is a younger son of his younger sister really that much of a stretch? One interpretation of De natis ultra mare from Edward III's reign argues that subjects of foreign crowns have no inheritance rights in England, which would rule the whole lot of them unless Mary remarries. All Henry has to do is accept this line of thinking.
 
Snippier than usual today, I see 🙄

I don't agree that this precludes her from remarrying Brandon. It seems very unlikely that the French of this era are going to give an Englishwoman any role in a regency government or the rearing of their future king considering how poor Anglo-French relations are at this time, and if she was already in love with Brandon before going to France, then why not go back? She wouldn't be the first queen to marry down for love -- her great-own grandmother did exactly this. Henry was already willing to settle the crown on his younger sister's line, so is a younger son of his younger sister really that much of a stretch? One interpretation of De natis ultra mare from Edward III's reign argues that subjects of foreign crowns have no inheritance rights in England, which would rule the whole lot of them unless Mary remarries. All Henry has to do is accept this line of thinking.
France traditionally has ALWAYS given the regency for any underage king with a living mother to said mother, whatever were the relationship with the country from which said mother came. Marrying Brandon would mean losing the Regency in France and any contact with her son… And if you take Catherine of Valois as example well remember who she remarried down in England NOT in her native France and she had no role in her son’s regency (and still remarried against the will of the Council who should have approved her remarriage). Mary having a son exclude any chance to her OTL remarriage to Brandon or another Englishman
 
If you had bothered to read the quote to which I was answering you would have know who @Aichi72 wanted know what would happen if Mary Tudor gave a posthumous son to Louis XII (and that would mean who she would not return in England or marry Brandon so all her OTL descendants are butterflied and there is no english alternative to Margaret‘s descendants with Tudor blood)
Jeez. @material_boy may have just seen your reply and not the quoted post. There's no need to be an asshole.

He asks a good question—even if it doesn't fit the ATL query of Mary having a son by Louis XII. The OP did specifically ask about Mary/Suffolk, so I would presume that answers to both questions would be welcome.

Either way: Mary having a son by Louis XII will only leave Henry VIII in between a rock and a hard place, since his only potential successors would be foreign monarchs (either James V of Scotland or Louis XII's posthumous son, who will be King of France). I suppose that Margaret could still remarry the Earl of Angus as IOTL and give birth to Margaret Douglas, but there's no way that she would be favored by her uncle as heiress over James V. Henry VIII being sterile / childless likely drastically changes how Henry VIII's reign plays out, too: there's a real possibility that there is no break with Rome: this means that IATL, Henry VIII is likely to have far less control / influence over the English succession as he did IOTL, I can't see any situation developing IATL where the childless Henry VIII is able to alter the line of succession similarly to the OTL Succession Acts. James V remains the likely (and best) option.

Given that Henry VII's intention of the Anglo-Scottish marriage was to bring the Stewarts into the English line of succession, James V is likely to be the preferred / popular candidate in that situation: especially if the alternative is the King of France. A union of Scotland and England means that the weaker crown is being submerged into England, and much like OTL, the Stewarts will likely come south and reign from London—and becoming English in the procession. Scotland will be joined into England, and both countries will be stronger for it. A union between England and France benefits nobody except the King of France—grandiose as Henry VIII could be on occasion, believing himself a new Henry V who seize the French crown... I doubt that he would look upon the idea of his French nephew succeeding him with much fondness. If the choice is between the French and the Scots, then the Scots are the lesser of the two evils.

James V's potential succession likely alters his foreign policy as well. If he's the likely successor to his uncle (even if not formally recognized as such), then it's possible that James V carries out a more pro-English policy and tries to remain friendly with his uncle and southern neighbor, and refrains from seeking out such friendly relations with France. It's entirely likely that the 1517 Treaty of Rouen doesn't hold in this situation—especially as we enter the 1530s and Henry VIII remains without any issue. James V may decide it's better to abrogate the Auld Alliance and align himself formally to his uncle.

James V could also end up marrying differently from OTL as well. A French marriage could still happen, but I could also see an alternate marriage happening too (perhaps with Henry VIII offering some nudging and support): Margaret of Austria suggested Mary of Austria (OTL Queen of Hungary) as a possible bride, though I imagine she'll have little interest in such a match, much like OTL... aside from her, Charles V suggested Maria of Portugal, the Duchess of Viseu; while James V attempted to spook the French into carrying out their obligations by sending the Duke of Albany to Rome in 1529 to negotiate with Clement VII—with Albany to propose a match between James V and Catherine de Medici (that would be interesting...). In the early 1533, other proposed matches included either Christina or Dorothea of Denmark, while François Ier's sister, Marguerite, suggested that James V should marry her sister-in-law Isabella (who married the Vicomte de Rohan in 1532). James V would have a dearth of options outside of a French match.

Think so? ATL Henry could well adopt one of his nephews by Mary as his heir. Not knowing what killed the boys, bringing them to court at a young age could butterfly their one or both of their deaths.

More importantly, though, James VI's succession came about in large part because the country was wringing its hands over the tight-lipped Elizabeth for years and, by the end of her life, there really wasn't any better choice. I don't think the English establishment is primed for a union of the crowns the same as they were in OTL, so even a different marriage for one of Mary's daughters might suffice. (Possibly to Reginald Pole? The events that led to his break from Henry are all gone in ATL.)
Assuming Mary's marriage to Louis XII runs it's OTL course (and the marriages of his siblings, I suppose) he'll have a dearth of possible successors to choose from, but Mary and Suffolk's sons by Mary will likely rank the highest by virtue of them being sons (though these nephews being the children of Henry VIII's favorite and his favorite sister will likely be a plus, too). Their first son, Henry Brandon (b. 1516) could either live beyond his OTL death in 1522; or their second son, Henry Brandon, the Earl of Lincoln (b. 1523) lives beyond his 1534 death. Either one surviving would be a boon, since one / both dying means that Henry VIII's potential 'domestic' successor is limited to Mary's surviving daughters, Frances and Eleanor. Henry VIII will prefer a nephew if he can get one; I suppose if both Mary's sons die young, there is the possibility of Frances serving as his 'heiress' in that he weds her off to whomever he decides is best (and assuming Frances can be a bit more lucky than OTL and give birth to a son) and him eventually recognizing her son (his great-nephew) as his heir.

Certainly Henry VIII had his own thoughts on the royal succession in his OTL will, since it outlined the potential succession of Frances Grey's daughters as well as the daughter of Eleanor Clifford's daughter, Margaret. Henry VIII clearly had no interest in including the House of Stuart in his OTL succession plans—though I suppose IATL it will depend upon Henry VIII's relations with James V. If they do not have good relations and James V remains firmly wedded to France and continues to carry out a pro-French foreign policy, Henry VIII will likely not look upon him as a potential successor. Few in England would likely support his succession if that's the case, too—though Henry VIII remaining childless and James V ranking highly as a potential successor could cause him to take pause re: his foreign policy, as I outlined above.

I'm presuming in this situation that Henry VIII is the one who is sterile—so no kids at all, including his bastard, the Duke of Richmond. Certainly not having any issue (legitimate or illegitimate) will be a major issue. I suppose he can very well try and remarry (no one in the period will lay the problem at his feet—and even without issue, he can still project a virile / masculine image by continuing to have mistresses) but at some point he will likely have to recognize that he is unlikely to have any issue at all—probably by the 1530s.

He may well still divorce Catherine—though it's hard to say how she would deal with such a matter. No living daughter—hell, no pregnancies at all will drastically weaken and undermine her position as Queen of England. Compared to OTL where she suffered numerous miscarriages and only succeeded in giving birth to a living daughter, an ATL existence where she has no pregnancies / issue at all might be worse. Given how she threw herself into fasting, prayer, and her religious observances in OTL in hopes to conceiving a son, that may all be kicked into overdrive IATL where she's trying to get pregnant period. I know that there has been some modern research / writing that suggests that Catherine of Aragon may have suffered from some form of anorexia, and her extreme fasting was primarily driven by perfectionism and anxiety.

IATL, I imagine that as queen she likely will spend her time split between undertaking pilgrimages to various Catholic shrines in England—most especially those dedicated to saints who deal with pregnancy/fertility as well as 'taking the waters'—likely Buxton (which already had a reputation for 'healing waters' in the Tudor period) and perhaps even Bath, which might have an earlier revival IATL (IOTL, it's revival was primarily during the Elizabethan period). Some certainly believed that the spas / waters could help with fertility issues, not to mention physical issues in general.

Catherine could certainly be a prideful woman, but in an ATL where she has no children at all, and not so much as a single pregnancy—assuming her health isn't ruined by even more drastic fasting / she doesn't die earlier—she may see it as prudent to 'step aside' so that Henry VIII can remarry someone younger (and presumably fertile...) who will be able to give him the heir that he needs. I have to say that I'm really unsure if Catherine would even be willing to 'stand aside' in such a situation—though I suppose even if she doesn't, Henry VIII may be able to have their marriage annulled more easily than IOTL if they have no issue. Charles V may be less willing to provide his 'dear aunt' political support if Henry VIII is open to the idea of a Habsburg/Spanish match for his second marriage—depending on when Catherine and Henry VIII's marriage ends, there will be a variety of potential princesses who can replace Catherine; even if Charles V doesn't have a direct match (such as one of his sisters), there is always the possibility of a Portuguese or even German proxy.

I suppose also that Henry and Catherine's marriage being barren also gives Henry ammo for his OTL biblical argument that their marriage is "cursed"... though whether he develops those views / still becomes infatuated with Anne Boleyn as IOTL remains be seen. Biblical arguments didn't really matter much when it came to the Vatican deciding on the legality of dispensations / marriages—they were legal arguments, not biblical/theological/moral arguments. Even without the supposed "curse" he'll have the ammo of a barren marriage / unsettled succession to secure an annulment if need be.

He would annul his marriage with Catherine of Aragon in 1515/1516 for starters in a timeline like that.
IIRC, the rumors that Henry VIII wanted to repudiate Catherine 1514 were just that—rumors and court gossip.

His relationship with Catherine was still decent enough in 1515-1516. He was still sleeping with her regularly (IOTL she had miscarriages in 1513 and 1514 before Mary was born in February 1516—which means she was conceived in ~June 1515). Things will likely be a bit different IATL, given that Henry VIII and Catherine will have been married 6-7 years without a single pregnancy.... but Catherine also still "young"... in 1515-1516, she's only 30-31 and still capable of becoming pregnant—though I suppose for her the window is narrowing, since her last recorded pregnancy was in 1518. IIRC, some (including Catherine herself) hoped that she might conceive again after 1518; it was only c. 1525 that it was widely recognized that Catherine would not have any more issue—so, around the time of her 40th birthday.

Even then, 40 isn't ancient (though I suppose by Renaissance standards it is). Plenty of women get pregnant around the age of 40 and beyond—today and back then: Margaret of Valois, the Duchess of Berry who married Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy gave birth to her son Charles Emmanuel at 39; another Duchess of Savoy, Claudine de Brosse gave birth to several children in her 40s—her final child, Philiberta (b. 1498) was born when Claudine was 48; Claudine's advanced age was mentioned as late as the 1579, when Queen Elizabeth of England revived marriage negotiations with France concerning a potential match with the Duc d'Alençon. As part of the negotiations, Elizabeth (then 46) had to undergo a gynecological exam, as there were... concerns on the French side (and indeed, the English side as well) that Elizabeth might be too old to conceive children. The doctor proclaimed that Queen Elizabeth's 'parts' were healthy and in good condition, and that there was no reason why she should not be able to conceive a child. It was during this time that Elizabeth was anxious about the possibility of having a child at her age and perhaps dying in the child bed—iirc, it was Cecil who attempted to soothe her anxieties by pointing to the example of a 'Duchess of Savoy, who in the 15th century gave birth at an advanced age.'

I think that Henry VIII will likely be able to begin proceedings to end his marriage to Catherine much earlier than OTL, but I'm wary of saying it could be as early as 1515-1516—regardless of her "failures" (even if they are his own...) he could still likely be fond of her in that time frame: after all, they had no living children in 1515-1516 before Mary's birth and their relationship was stable enough; I suppose a completely barren marriage could wreck their marriage and pull them apart sooner, but it could just as easily make their marriage stronger and push them closer together—even if that is unlikely for someone with Henry VIII's character.

I don't agree that this precludes her from remarrying Brandon. It seems very unlikely that the French of this era are going to give an Englishwoman any role in a regency government or the rearing of their future king considering how poor Anglo-French relations are at this time, and if she was already in love with Brandon before going to France, then why not go back? She wouldn't be the first queen to marry down for love -- her great-own grandmother did exactly this. Henry was already willing to settle the crown on his younger sister's line, so is a younger son of his younger sister really that much of a stretch? One interpretation of De natis ultra mare from Edward III's reign argues that subjects of foreign crowns have no inheritance rights in England, which would rule the whole lot of them unless Mary remarries. All Henry has to do is accept this line of thinking.
To be fair, it wasn't uncommon for a French Queen Dowager to serve as regent. It was in reality the only 'acceptable' way for a French queen to play a role in politics. I think the main question is—would Mary have any interest in serving as regent to the posthumous son she had with her elderly husband, or does she see this as a way to get what she wants? After all, she forced Henry VIII to agree that if she was widowed, she'd have the right to have a say / choice in her future marriage. Even with a son, she may continue to pine for Brandon. It's not as if she was that fond of Louis XII; I could imagine those ambivalent feelings carrying over to her son.

There's also the Count of Angoulême, the OTL François Ier. As premier Prince du Sang—and heir to the young king, he'd be well positioned to claim the regency himself. Certainly his mother Louise of Savoy would push him towards doing so.

France traditionally has ALWAYS given the regency for any underage king with a living mother to said mother, whatever were the relationship with the country from which said mother came. Marrying Brandon would mean losing the Regency in France and any contact with her son… And if you take Catherine of Valois as example well remember who she remarried down in England NOT in her native France and she had no role in her son’s regency (and still remarried against the will of the Council who should have approved her remarriage). Mary having a son exclude any chance to her OTL remarriage to Brandon or another Englishman
Not always. Clementia of Hungary was considered unsuitable by the French princes and explicitly barred from holding the regency for her son. Granted the young king Jean died a few days later, but you cannot rely on tradition. Mary would be a queen dowager who had been married for a period of a few months: widowed longer than she was even married. She would have absolutely no time to build up a base of political support to pursue or hold the regency compared to people like the Count of Angoulême. We also can't say definitively if she would want to hold the regency! Mary despised being married off to Louis XII: she was not happy being married to him, and I cannot imagine her being happy that she ends up pregnant by him. She could very well end up despising her son as an extension of a marriage she was forced into, just as she might dote upon him.

Life is not a game where everyone is always pushing for the ultimate advantage / seeking to win. It's entirely possible that Mary might have zero interest in holding the regency, or she ends up holding it and proves to be incompetent. She certainly wouldn't be the first dowager in that situation. If Mary gives Louis XII a son, it is very possible that the Count of Angoulême comes to play a vital role in the regency / ends up dominating it.

Given what we know of Mary's character as a flighty / impulsive woman, I disagree profoundly: a son by Louis XII isn't going to temper her in any shape or form. A son does not preclude her from running off with Brandon (or remarrying in general; after all, another tradition uttered by another Queen of France is that 'The Queens of France do not remarry.' Yet we have many cases of queens that did remarry. Not everything is literal—we cannot say 100% one way or another what might happen if Mary has a son by Louis XII. You say she'll hold the regency, will be devoted to her son, and won't remarry. I say it's just as likely she ends up doing the opposite.
 
Jeez. @material_boy may have just seen your reply and not the quoted post. There's no need to be an asshole.

He asks a good question—even if it doesn't fit the ATL query of Mary having a son by Louis XII. The OP did specifically ask about Mary/Suffolk, so I would presume that answers to both questions would be welcome.

Either way: Mary having a son by Louis XII will only leave Henry VIII in between a rock and a hard place, since his only potential successors would be foreign monarchs (either James V of Scotland or Louis XII's posthumous son, who will be King of France). I suppose that Margaret could still remarry the Earl of Angus as IOTL and give birth to Margaret Douglas, but there's no way that she would be favored by her uncle as heiress over James V. Henry VIII being sterile / childless likely drastically changes how Henry VIII's reign plays out, too: there's a real possibility that there is no break with Rome: this means that IATL, Henry VIII is likely to have far less control / influence over the English succession as he did IOTL, I can't see any situation developing IATL where the childless Henry VIII is able to alter the line of succession similarly to the OTL Succession Acts. James V remains the likely (and best) option.

Given that Henry VII's intention of the Anglo-Scottish marriage was to bring the Stewarts into the English line of succession, James V is likely to be the preferred / popular candidate in that situation: especially if the alternative is the King of France. A union of Scotland and England means that the weaker crown is being submerged into England, and much like OTL, the Stewarts will likely come south and reign from London—and becoming English in the procession. Scotland will be joined into England, and both countries will be stronger for it. A union between England and France benefits nobody except the King of France—grandiose as Henry VIII could be on occasion, believing himself a new Henry V who seize the French crown... I doubt that he would look upon the idea of his French nephew succeeding him with much fondness. If the choice is between the French and the Scots, then the Scots are the lesser of the two evils.

James V's potential succession likely alters his foreign policy as well. If he's the likely successor to his uncle (even if not formally recognized as such), then it's possible that James V carries out a more pro-English policy and tries to remain friendly with his uncle and southern neighbor, and refrains from seeking out such friendly relations with France. It's entirely likely that the 1517 Treaty of Rouen doesn't hold in this situation—especially as we enter the 1530s and Henry VIII remains without any issue. James V may decide it's better to abrogate the Auld Alliance and align himself formally to his uncle.

James V could also end up marrying differently from OTL as well. A French marriage could still happen, but I could also see an alternate marriage happening too (perhaps with Henry VIII offering some nudging and support): Margaret of Austria suggested Mary of Austria (OTL Queen of Hungary) as a possible bride, though I imagine she'll have little interest in such a match, much like OTL... aside from her, Charles V suggested Maria of Portugal, the Duchess of Viseu; while James V attempted to spook the French into carrying out their obligations by sending the Duke of Albany to Rome in 1529 to negotiate with Clement VII—with Albany to propose a match between James V and Catherine de Medici (that would be interesting...). In the early 1533, other proposed matches included either Christina or Dorothea of Denmark, while François Ier's sister, Marguerite, suggested that James V should marry her sister-in-law Isabella (who married the Vicomte de Rohan in 1532). James V would have a dearth of options outside of a French match.


Assuming Mary's marriage to Louis XII runs it's OTL course (and the marriages of his siblings, I suppose) he'll have a dearth of possible successors to choose from, but Mary and Suffolk's sons by Mary will likely rank the highest by virtue of them being sons (though these nephews being the children of Henry VIII's favorite and his favorite sister will likely be a plus, too). Their first son, Henry Brandon (b. 1516) could either live beyond his OTL death in 1522; or their second son, Henry Brandon, the Earl of Lincoln (b. 1523) lives beyond his 1534 death. Either one surviving would be a boon, since one / both dying means that Henry VIII's potential 'domestic' successor is limited to Mary's surviving daughters, Frances and Eleanor. Henry VIII will prefer a nephew if he can get one; I suppose if both Mary's sons die young, there is the possibility of Frances serving as his 'heiress' in that he weds her off to whomever he decides is best (and assuming Frances can be a bit more lucky than OTL and give birth to a son) and him eventually recognizing her son (his great-nephew) as his heir.

Certainly Henry VIII had his own thoughts on the royal succession in his OTL will, since it outlined the potential succession of Frances Grey's daughters as well as the daughter of Eleanor Clifford's daughter, Margaret. Henry VIII clearly had no interest in including the House of Stuart in his OTL succession plans—though I suppose IATL it will depend upon Henry VIII's relations with James V. If they do not have good relations and James V remains firmly wedded to France and continues to carry out a pro-French foreign policy, Henry VIII will likely not look upon him as a potential successor. Few in England would likely support his succession if that's the case, too—though Henry VIII remaining childless and James V ranking highly as a potential successor could cause him to take pause re: his foreign policy, as I outlined above.

I'm presuming in this situation that Henry VIII is the one who is sterile—so no kids at all, including his bastard, the Duke of Richmond. Certainly not having any issue (legitimate or illegitimate) will be a major issue. I suppose he can very well try and remarry (no one in the period will lay the problem at his feet—and even without issue, he can still project a virile / masculine image by continuing to have mistresses) but at some point he will likely have to recognize that he is unlikely to have any issue at all—probably by the 1530s.

He may well still divorce Catherine—though it's hard to say how she would deal with such a matter. No living daughter—hell, no pregnancies at all will drastically weaken and undermine her position as Queen of England. Compared to OTL where she suffered numerous miscarriages and only succeeded in giving birth to a living daughter, an ATL existence where she has no pregnancies / issue at all might be worse. Given how she threw herself into fasting, prayer, and her religious observances in OTL in hopes to conceiving a son, that may all be kicked into overdrive IATL where she's trying to get pregnant period. I know that there has been some modern research / writing that suggests that Catherine of Aragon may have suffered from some form of anorexia, and her extreme fasting was primarily driven by perfectionism and anxiety.

IATL, I imagine that as queen she likely will spend her time split between undertaking pilgrimages to various Catholic shrines in England—most especially those dedicated to saints who deal with pregnancy/fertility as well as 'taking the waters'—likely Buxton (which already had a reputation for 'healing waters' in the Tudor period) and perhaps even Bath, which might have an earlier revival IATL (IOTL, it's revival was primarily during the Elizabethan period). Some certainly believed that the spas / waters could help with fertility issues, not to mention physical issues in general.

Catherine could certainly be a prideful woman, but in an ATL where she has no children at all, and not so much as a single pregnancy—assuming her health isn't ruined by even more drastic fasting / she doesn't die earlier—she may see it as prudent to 'step aside' so that Henry VIII can remarry someone younger (and presumably fertile...) who will be able to give him the heir that he needs. I have to say that I'm really unsure if Catherine would even be willing to 'stand aside' in such a situation—though I suppose even if she doesn't, Henry VIII may be able to have their marriage annulled more easily than IOTL if they have no issue. Charles V may be less willing to provide his 'dear aunt' political support if Henry VIII is open to the idea of a Habsburg/Spanish match for his second marriage—depending on when Catherine and Henry VIII's marriage ends, there will be a variety of potential princesses who can replace Catherine; even if Charles V doesn't have a direct match (such as one of his sisters), there is always the possibility of a Portuguese or even German proxy.

I suppose also that Henry and Catherine's marriage being barren also gives Henry ammo for his OTL biblical argument that their marriage is "cursed"... though whether he develops those views / still becomes infatuated with Anne Boleyn as IOTL remains be seen. Biblical arguments didn't really matter much when it came to the Vatican deciding on the legality of dispensations / marriages—they were legal arguments, not biblical/theological/moral arguments. Even without the supposed "curse" he'll have the ammo of a barren marriage / unsettled succession to secure an annulment if need be.


IIRC, the rumors that Henry VIII wanted to repudiate Catherine 1514 were just that—rumors and court gossip.

His relationship with Catherine was still decent enough in 1515-1516. He was still sleeping with her regularly (IOTL she had miscarriages in 1513 and 1514 before Mary was born in February 1516—which means she was conceived in ~June 1515). Things will likely be a bit different IATL, given that Henry VIII and Catherine will have been married 6-7 years without a single pregnancy.... but Catherine also still "young"... in 1515-1516, she's only 30-31 and still capable of becoming pregnant—though I suppose for her the window is narrowing, since her last recorded pregnancy was in 1518. IIRC, some (including Catherine herself) hoped that she might conceive again after 1518; it was only c. 1525 that it was widely recognized that Catherine would not have any more issue—so, around the time of her 40th birthday.

Even then, 40 isn't ancient (though I suppose by Renaissance standards it is). Plenty of women get pregnant around the age of 40 and beyond—today and back then: Margaret of Valois, the Duchess of Berry who married Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy gave birth to her son Charles Emmanuel at 39; another Duchess of Savoy, Claudine de Brosse gave birth to several children in her 40s—her final child, Philiberta (b. 1498) was born when Claudine was 48; Claudine's advanced age was mentioned as late as the 1579, when Queen Elizabeth of England revived marriage negotiations with France concerning a potential match with the Duc d'Alençon. As part of the negotiations, Elizabeth (then 46) had to undergo a gynecological exam, as there were... concerns on the French side (and indeed, the English side as well) that Elizabeth might be too old to conceive children. The doctor proclaimed that Queen Elizabeth's 'parts' were healthy and in good condition, and that there was no reason why she should not be able to conceive a child. It was during this time that Elizabeth was anxious about the possibility of having a child at her age and perhaps dying in the child bed—iirc, it was Cecil who attempted to soothe her anxieties by pointing to the example of a 'Duchess of Savoy, who in the 15th century gave birth at an advanced age.'

I think that Henry VIII will likely be able to begin proceedings to end his marriage to Catherine much earlier than OTL, but I'm wary of saying it could be as early as 1515-1516—regardless of her "failures" (even if they are his own...) he could still likely be fond of her in that time frame: after all, they had no living children in 1515-1516 before Mary's birth and their relationship was stable enough; I suppose a completely barren marriage could wreck their marriage and pull them apart sooner, but it could just as easily make their marriage stronger and push them closer together—even if that is unlikely for someone with Henry VIII's character.


To be fair, it wasn't uncommon for a French Queen Dowager to serve as regent. It was in reality the only 'acceptable' way for a French queen to play a role in politics. I think the main question is—would Mary have any interest in serving as regent to the posthumous son she had with her elderly husband, or does she see this as a way to get what she wants? After all, she forced Henry VIII to agree that if she was widowed, she'd have the right to have a say / choice in her future marriage. Even with a son, she may continue to pine for Brandon. It's not as if she was that fond of Louis XII; I could imagine those ambivalent feelings carrying over to her son.

There's also the Count of Angoulême, the OTL François Ier. As premier Prince du Sang—and heir to the young king, he'd be well positioned to claim the regency himself. Certainly his mother Louise of Savoy would push him towards doing so.


Not always. Clementia of Hungary was considered unsuitable by the French princes and explicitly barred from holding the regency for her son. Granted the young king Jean died a few days later, but you cannot rely on tradition. Mary would be a queen dowager who had been married for a period of a few months: widowed longer than she was even married. She would have absolutely no time to build up a base of political support to pursue or hold the regency compared to people like the Count of Angoulême. We also can't say definitively if she would want to hold the regency! Mary despised being married off to Louis XII: she was not happy being married to him, and I cannot imagine her being happy that she ends up pregnant by him. She could very well end up despising her son as an extension of a marriage she was forced into, just as she might dote upon him.

Life is not a game where everyone is always pushing for the ultimate advantage / seeking to win. It's entirely possible that Mary might have zero interest in holding the regency, or she ends up holding it and proves to be incompetent. She certainly wouldn't be the first dowager in that situation. If Mary gives Louis XII a son, it is very possible that the Count of Angoulême comes to play a vital role in the regency / ends up dominating it.

Given what we know of Mary's character as a flighty / impulsive woman, I disagree profoundly: a son by Louis XII isn't going to temper her in any shape or form. A son does not preclude her from running off with Brandon (or remarrying in general; after all, another tradition uttered by another Queen of France is that 'The Queens of France do not remarry.' Yet we have many cases of queens that did remarry. Not everything is literal—we cannot say 100% one way or another what might happen if Mary has a son by Louis XII. You say she'll hold the regency, will be devoted to her son, and won't remarry. I say it's just as likely she ends up doing the opposite.
The Duke of Valois (not Count of Angoulême) is also a foreigner ruler as Duke of Brittany jure-uxoris and that would put him at disadvantage. Clementia‘s son died in few days and Philip V had already all the time for securing his position of power during her pregnancy (and he was one of the best in the game, Francis I was far from that level of ability)… Still, whatever she could wish, Mary being pregnant and birthing a son exclude any chance who Henry would ever send anyone to bring her back in England, so she would have no way to be again in contact with Brandon for long time. Mary being possibly not interested in taking the Regency do not mean who she would not get it, but is extremely unlikely who she would not be the Regent (at least the formal Regent… her having true power could be another thing, but she would still get the regency for her son). Mary could choose to remarry and renounce to the Regency? Sure but that would most likely happen at least a couple of years after Louis’ death and her second husband will be most likely a French nobleman not an Englishman.…
 
Last edited:
France traditionally has ALWAYS given the regency for any underage king with a living mother to said mother, whatever were the relationship with the country from which said mother came. Marrying Brandon would mean losing the Regency in France and any contact with her son… And if you take Catherine of Valois as example well remember who she remarried down in England NOT in her native France and she had no role in her son’s regency (and still remarried against the will of the Council who should have approved her remarriage). Mary having a son exclude any chance to her OTL remarriage to Brandon or another Englishman
Tradition is not a hard and fast rule, though, and there are plenty of examples against it both from previous centuries and from around this era -- Anne of Kiev was regent for a short time before being forced from power, Charles V's first plan for the regency (written before his wife's death) name his eldest brother as regent, and Francis II's government was controlled by the duke of Guise. Also, the French tended to marry from within the Francosphere. The five most recent queens before Mary are from Brittany (twice), Savoy, Anjou, and a French princess. France had never been in a position where their enemy's sister was the mother of a young king.

More to my original point, though, Mary has her own wants. Descriptions of her are quite colorful and they don't paint a picture of a woman who would care much for the responsibility of government, even if the French wanted her to have it. She an independent streak and absolutely strikes me as the sort of woman who would go back to England and marry for love, regardless of what the French or her own brother had to say about it. But we can agree to disagree.
 
More to my original point, though, Mary has her own wants. Descriptions of her are quite colorful and they don't paint a picture of a woman who would care much for the responsibility of government, even if the French wanted her to have it. She an independent streak and absolutely strikes me as the sort of woman who would go back to England and marry for love, regardless of what the French or her own brother had to say about it. But we can agree to disagree.
This. I think we need to stop making Mary into some Louise of Savoy-Margaret of Austria type whom both governed for their son/nephew. She's no Anne de Beaujeu either.
 
Tradition is not a hard and fast rule, though, and there are plenty of examples against it both from previous centuries and from around this era -- Anne of Kiev was regent for a short time before being forced from power, Charles V's first plan for the regency (written before his wife's death) name his eldest brother as regent, and Francis II's government was controlled by the duke of Guise. Also, the French tended to marry from within the Francosphere. The five most recent queens before Mary are from Brittany (twice), Savoy, Anjou, and a French princess. France had never been in a position where their enemy's sister was the mother of a young king.

More to my original point, though, Mary has her own wants. Descriptions of her are quite colorful and they don't paint a picture of a woman who would care much for the responsibility of government, even if the French wanted her to have it. She an independent streak and absolutely strikes me as the sort of woman who would go back to England and marry for love, regardless of what the French or her own brother had to say about it. But we can agree to disagree.
This. I think we need to stop making Mary into some Louise of Savoy-Margaret of Austria type whom both governed for their son/nephew. She's no Anne de Beaujeu either.
Francis II was already adult when he became King and Catherine got the regency for her underage son (who she would never ever get unless that was traditionally of the mother of the King and every other plan usually ended with the mother of the King as Regent at least at the beginning). Mary can wish what she want but she can NOT return in England if she has a son and her being her son’s regent could very well be only a formal position with others making all the ruling… And I am not saying who Mary would NOT eventually choose to leave the regency and remarry but who her eventual second husband will be French
 
Francis II was already adult when he became King and Catherine got the regency for her underage son (who she would never ever get unless that was traditionally of the mother of the King and every other plan usually ended with the mother of the King as Regent at least at the beginning). Mary can wish what she want but she can NOT return in England if she has a son and her being her son’s regent could very well be only a formal position with others making all the ruling… And I am not saying who Mary would NOT eventually choose to leave the regency and remarry but who her eventual second husband will be French
And wasn't Brandon betrothed to Elizabeth Grey when he married Mary? If Mary is staying in France longer, then that marriage probably goes through right?
 
Top