B. M. MS.,
60. The Bishop of Aquila to the Duchess of Parma.
The Emperor's Ambassador and I having been advised by one of
the ladies of the palace, a sister of Lord Robert, called Lady Sidney,
that this was the best time to speak to the Queen about the Archduke,
the Ambassador went to Hampton Court where the Queen is
living to see her on the subject. The lady would not speak herself,
but urged that I should go, and said if I broached the matter of the
match to the Queen now she was sure it would be speedily settled.
I tried to discover what this might mean, and find that the Queen is
much alarmed at a plot which they have told her of against her and
Robert, the object of which was to kill him at a banquet given
recently to the Queen by the earl of Arundel, where also the Queen
was to be poisoned. This plot together with the French war
preparations lor Scotland, seems to have decided the Queen to marry,
and Lady Sidney said that at all events I ought to be there and
must not mind what the Queen said, as it is the custom of ladies
here not to give their consent in such matters until they are teased
into it. She said it would only take a few days, and the Council
would press her to marry. Lady Sidney said that if this were not
true, I might be sure she would not say such a thing as it might
cost her her life and she was acting now with the Queen's consent,
but she (the Queen) would not speak to the Emperor's Ambassador
about it. We were rather undecided what course to take for the
moment, but they are now making so much of us that all London
looks upon the affair as settled.
Lady Sidney said the Queen wished the Archduke to come at
once, and I ought to write to the Emperor to send him, which he
could do on her honour and word, and she (Lady Sidney) would
never dare to say such a thing as she did in the presence of an
Italian gentleman who was interpreting between us (although we
can understand each other in Italian without him) unless it were
I said I was not quite sure what I ought to do, but I had no
doubt the Archduke would come if his father allowed him and I
would write at once.
I afterwards spoke to Lord Robert, who said in this as in all things
he was at the disposal of my King to whom he owed his life.
Treasurer Parry also spoke to me on the subject of his own
accord, and from him I gathered that the Queen is driven to this by
fear, and when I said what a pity it was that the Queen was so
irresolute, he said when next I went to the palace he hoped to give
me good news.
I spoke to him about Lady Sidney, and he said the Queen had
summoned both of them the night before, and at the end of our
conversation he said that the marriage had now become necessary.—
London, 7th September 1559.
61. Bishop Quadra to the Bishop of Arras (?)
I fear the evil is worse than I thought, and this woman is in
great trouble, although the revelations of this lady (Lady Sidney)
about the plot amply account for it and drive her to a resolution,
bearing in mind the French preparations in Scotland. I am told
there are 3,000 French troops there, although the ambassador assures
me there are not more than 1,200. This number, however, so to
speak inside their own doors, is quite enough to spoil their sleep.
Lord Robert and his sister arc certainly acting splendidly, and
the King will have to reward them well, better than he does me,
and your Lordship must remind him of it in due time. The
question of religion is of the most vital importance, as is also the
manner of the Archduke's marriage and its conditions and ceremonies.
In view of these difficulties it would be better for the wedding to
be a clandestine one. I do not know how he will get over the oath
he will have to take to respect the laws of the land, which are some
of them schismatic.—London, 7th September 1559.
B. M. MS.,
62. The Bishop of Aquila to the Duke of Alba.
I have only been able to find out about this plot what I am told
by a great friend of Robert's, who says that at a banquet given by
the earl of Arundel to the Queen she was to be poisoned and he
murdered, which is the same as Lady Sidney said.
I also hear some talk about Lords Dacre and Montague and certain
Bishops, and I am afraid the French have something to do with it,
as the Queen is very much offended with them, although she tried
to hide it.
It seems that Pickering is sending a challenge to the earl of
Bedford for having spoken ill of him at a banquet. Lord Robert,
who is to be Pickering's second, has promised to deliver the
challenge. I do not believe that Bedford will ever quarrel with
anybody. Robert professes to be the most faithful servant our King
has here, and Lady Sidney says she wishes to write a long letter to
the countess (of Feria) with plenty of news from here.
They cannot make too much of me here at Hampton Court now.
It is curious how things change.—London, 9th September 1559.
B. M. MS.
63. The Bishop of Aquila to the Emperor.
The earl of Arran (whom the Queen thinks of marrying) has
been with her secretly here two or three times, and she is fomenting
the tumults in Scotland in his interest through a heretic preacher
Some ten days ago this Earl left here for Scotland, and it is to be
expected that he will do his best to perform the task the Queen
has given him and uphold his party for which the Queen has found
the money and promised to look favourably upon his suit. The
Admiral and Cecil go with him although they try to make us think
they have gone to their houses. They have had the management
of Arran's affair all through. I feel certain their designs will fail
as the French have sent 3,000 or 4,000 infantry and 500 cavalry,
and they are receiving troops in the country itself daily. They are
masters of the fortresses and the landing place a mile out of
Edinburgh, and the greater part of the people are in their favour,
so that it may be concluded that the rebel (or heretic) force, for they
mean the same thing, will not hold out long. Even though the
queen of England may find them money it will not be much ;
they have nothing else, either leaders (as this youth is no
soldier) or people, except some labourers and country fellows who
will not be able to suffer the hardships of the campaign for twenty
days.—London, 12th September 1559.