Venice: February 1536

Pages 39-41

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 5, 1534-1554. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1873.

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February 1536

Feb. 3. Original Letter Book of Francesco Contarini in St. Mark's Library. 90. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador with the King of the Romans, to the Signory.
Yesterday morning I went to the King, whom I found clad in deep mourning, and it was told me his Majesty had this garb because on the preceding day he heard of the death of his aunt, the Queen of England; so in your Serenity's name I condoled on this demise, telling him it might be supposed that a saint had expired, her Majesty having always comported herself—especially in her adversity—with so much patience and wisdom, as known to the whole world. He answered me, “Ambassador! I say to you in truth—not because she was my aunt—rest assured (sappiate) that this lady was endowed with many more excellent qualities than are attributed to her, and we believe she died like a saint.”
We then went to Mass, and his Majesty chose me to hear it from the chapel above, where there was no one but his Majesty, the Queen, and his sons and daughters, they likewise being all dressed in black. This death has caused the King much sorrow. In the afternoon I went to him again, and having communicated the news-letters from Constantinople, inquired through what channel he had heard of said Queen's death. He told me he had letters from his ambassador in England [Eustace Chapuys?], who a few days before went to visit her Majesty, whom he found much better (molto megliorata), and three days later wishing to visit her again, they told him it was unnecessary, as she was dead. I asked his Majesty what was heard about the Queen's daughter He answered me “We believe she is with the King, and fear that from grief for her mother's death, and from other causes, she also will die.” He then complained a little of the King, in measured terms, how that for a harlot (to use his own words), he had repudiated so sage, virtuous, and sainted a wife, with whom he had lived upwards of twenty years; nor could his Majesty refrain from shedding tears, (fn. 1)
Inspruck, 3rd of February 1536.
Feb. 3. Lettere del Collegio (Secreta), File no. 14. 91. The Doge and College to the Secretary (Zuccato) in England.
Send him the summary of letters lately received from Constantinople for communication as usual. His letters of the 8th and 9th January require no further reply.
Feb. 12. Despatches, Venetian Archives, File no. 4 B. 92. Lorenzo Bragadino, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Signory.
Letters received from France dated the 5th instant. Besides the great preparations which are being made by the King, he has stipulated an agreement with the King of England, who promises to contribute in good part to the cost of the war; and he [the King of France?] charges Mons. de Vigli (sic) [De Veilly?], his ambassador with the Emperor, to tell his Imperial Majesty that he is willing to delay until the first of next month and not make any warlike stir; but De Vigli is to inform him that on the expiration of that term his most Christian Majesty chooses to be at liberty to act; and in case he [De Vigli] perceives any disposition on the part of the Emperor to make an agreement in fact and not in words, the King will send the Admiral to him. But it is thought that the Emperor delays this negotiation and the treaty concerning the Florentine emigrants, by words, in order to gain time to prepare himself for war; and that for this reason likewise he postpones his coming to Rome.
Rome, 12th of February.
Feb. 16. Original Letter Book of Francesco Contarini in St. Mark's Library. 93. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador with the King of the Romans, to the Signory.
During the last two days, King Ferdinand has had the obsequies of the late most Serene Queen of England performed in very great state, as becoming her Majesty's grade. I was with the King during the whole of the ceremonies; and letters having arrived lately from the Emperor, I asked him what news they contained, and he told me of the donation of a million and a half of gold from the kingdom of Naples, of the postponement of the Emperor's departure from that city, and that he had ordered a levy of 10,000 German infantry.
Inspruck, 16th of February, 1536.


  • 1. “Dimandai per che via l'havea intesa la morte della ditta Regina; mi disse tenir lettere del suo ambasciator in Inghelterra il quale era stato pochi giorni inanti a visitar la predetta Regina, la qual lui havea trovato esser molto megliorata, et de lì a tre zorni, volendo iterum tornar a visitarla, li fu ditto ch'l non accadeva perchè l'era morta. Dimandai a sua Maestà quello la intendeva della serma sua fiola; mi rispose, “Credemo la sia con il Rè, et dubitamo etiam che per il dolor della madre et altri rispetti, che anche Lei mori. bi dolse poi un pocho honestamente del (sic) quel Sermo Re, che per una meretrice (per dir come disse sua Maestà) l'havesse repudiato una cusì savia honesta et santa moglier con la qual l'havea vivuto più de 20 anni; et non si potè contenir che non li vedesse le lachreme alli ochij.”