The payment could not be made at the time stipulated.
The death of Queen Isabella, the arrival of King Philip in
Spain, his own retirement from Castile, and the sudden death
of King Philip during his absence, had created so many
difficulties that it was beyond human power to provide in
time for the payment of the remaining portion of the dower.
The King of England, being perfectly aware of this, twice
prorogued the day on which the stipulated payment was to be
made. Immediately after his return to Spain, the Knight
Commander of Membrilla was sent by him as his ambassador
to England, and provided with the necessary funds. Before
the period of the second prorogation, fixed by the King of
England himself, had elapsed, the Knight Commander offered
to pay the remainder of the dower, but the King of England
refused to accept it, pretending that he was not obliged to
accept the plate and jewels of the Princess in part payment.
After long negotiations, the King of England at last specified
his demands, viz. :—
1. That the treaty of marriage of Prince Charles with the
Princess Mary which had been concluded by the King of
England, on the one part, and by the Emperor, Madame
Margaret, and the Council of Flanders, on the other part,
should be ratified by him and by the Queen Juana.
2. That the whole marriage portion of the Princess
Katharine should be paid in coin.
3. That he (King Ferdinand), Queen Juana, and the
Princess Katharine should renounce their right to ask for a
return of the marriage portion, whatever might happen.
The King of England then pretended that, according to the
stipulations of the treaty, the whole portion of the Princess
was to be his. It was, he said, the price to be paid for his
consent to her marriage with Prince Henry. He further
pointed out English law and ancient custom, pursuant to
which marriage portions are never given back in England,
either to the widow or to her family, and he asserted that the
third part of the revenues of Wales, Chester, and Cornwall
must be considered as an equivalent for the 200,000 scudos
which constituted the dower of the Princess. Unless his
three demands were granted the King of England declared he
would not permit the Prince of Wales to marry the Princess
Observed to the King of England that the marriage between
the Prince of Wales and the Princess Katharine was entirely
unconnected with the marriage of Prince Charles with the
Princess Mary. Besides, he said, the marriage of the Princess
Katharine had been already agreed upon in a formal treaty,
whilst the marriage of Prince Charles was now for the first
time mentioned to him. Declared himself nevertheless ready
to enter into negotiations, respecting the marriage of Prince
Charles with the Princess Mary, as soon as the marriage
ceremony between the Prince of Wales and the Princess
Katharine should have been performed.
The King of England replied that, if he (King Ferdinand)
wished to have his daughter married, he (the King of England)
desired likewise to procure a husband for his child ;
adding that he was no longer bound by the treaty, since the
marriage portion had not been paid at the time stipulated.
He entirely disregarded the obstacles which had prevented
the payment at the time first stipulated, and the prorogations
which he had granted.
From the whole conduct of the King of England it is clear
that he thinks he can do and ask what he likes, because he
holds the Princess Katharine in his power. First he had
demanded that the plate and jewels of the Princess should
not be deducted from her dower, although he had no right to
do so. As soon as this demand was granted, he had required
that the whole dower of the Princess should be resigned into
his hands. He was told that the Princess Katharine might
dispose of her dower as she liked, and if she was willing to
do so, she might give it to him (the King of England).
When the King of England had obtained this his second
demand, he requested the ratification of the marriage treaty
between Prince Charles and the Princess Mary. Thus, each
concession that was made only created a new request on the
part of the King of England, who evidently is little desirous
to bring the affair to a conclusion.
Had held many consultations with his confidential councillors,
and the final result of them was to resolve to make all
possible sacrifices of money, but not to consent to the marriage
of Prince Charles with the Princess Mary ; for the marriage
would have been fraught with serious danger to him, to the
Queen his daughter, and to Prince Charles himself, while it
would also have disturbed the peace of all their kingdoms.
If, however, the King of England should be deaf to all remonstrances,
and if he should not consent to the marriage of the
Princess Katharine with the Prince of Wales, it was decided
that the Princess should then return to Spain.
When the negotiations with England had come to this pass,
the King of England sent credentials to his servant John Stile
who was staying in Spain, and made through him the following
declarations. With regard to the delay of the wedding of
the Princess Katharine, he said it was not his fault that she
was not already married. The complaints of the bad treatment
of the Princess, he pretended, were unfounded. She and
her servants had enough to eat and to drink, and were provided
with the necessaries of life. Respecting the marriage
of Prince Charles, the King of England protested that he had
always been animated with feelings of true love and friendship
towards him (King Ferdinand). This love, the King of
England pretended, was the reason why he so greatly desired
the matrimonial union of the Prince of Wales with the
Princess Katharine, and that of Prince Charles with the
Princess Mary. If the marriage between Prince Charles and
the Princess Mary should not be ratified, the other Princes,
the King of England alleged, would say that there is no real
friendship and true relationship between the houses of England
and Spain. Great inconvenience would be the result
thereof. All the fault of the negotiations having hitherto
been so unsatisfactory was owing, according to the opinion of
the King of England, to the Knight Commander of Membrilla
not having told the truth in his despatches to Spain. King
Henry therefore begged him to send another ambassador to
England, or to permit him to send an English embassy to
Spain, in order to bring the negotiations to a conclusion which
would satisfy both parties.
Knows that the Knight Commander of Membrilla has
served him very faithfully in England, and that all he has
written respecting the affairs of England is true. Has,
nevertheless, decided to send him [blank] as his ambassador
to England, since the King of England may perhaps have
changed his mind, and may not now be disinclined to have
the marriage of the Princess Katharine with the Prince of
He must travel as quickly as possible. Immediately after
his arrival in England he is to speak with the Knight Commander
of Membrilla, and to inform himself of all the details
of the business. That done, he is to say to the English, that
he (King Ferdinand) perfectly knows why the King of
England wishes another ambassador to be sent to England,
and that the Knight Commander has always acted as a true
and faithful servant of his master. Nevertheless, as the
King of England refuses to transact business with the Knight
Commander, it is necessary to recall him. He is also to say
that the Knight Commander has asked leave of absence, in
order to attend to some pressing family business in Spain,
and he may add that he (King Ferdinand) wishes to have
his advice on some important matters of state. The Knight
Commander must take leave of both the King and the
After having spoken with the Knight Commander, he is to
see the Princess Katharine, and to hear her opinion on the
pending negotiations. Should, however, the King of England
greatly object to his seeing the Princess before he has had an
audience of him, he may postpone his interview with the
After the departure of the Knight Commander, he is to tell
the King of England that he (King Ferdinand) wishes to
remain his good friend and beloved brother. He is particularly
to inquire after the health of the King.
He must further tell the King that as soon as he (King
Ferdinand) heard from John Stile that his brother of England
wished to transact affairs with another ambassador than the
Knight Commander of Membrilla, he [blank] was sent to
England. Shares the desire of King Henry not to weaken,
but to strengthen the friendship between Spain and England.
The King of England will be astonished to see how much he
will do for him as soon as the business of the marriage
between the Princess and the Prince of Wales is concluded.
Hopes that henceforth no difficulties to this union will be
Should the King of England ask what kind of answer he
brings to the three demands which he had made on his part,
he is to reply as follows. The remaining 100,000 scudos
of the dower of the Princess will be paid in coin. The
Princess Katharine is authorized to do with her dower as
she likes, and consequently she may give it to the King
of England. He and Queen Juana are ready to renounce
all their claims on the dower. In case the King of England
should not be contented with this answer, and should
there be no other impediments to the marriage, he may say
that his renunciation and the renunciation by Queen Juana
of the 200,000 scudos of the dower will be given in whatever
form the King of England wishes, but only on condition that
the marriage be concluded without delay.
Should the King of England ask what answer he brings
respecting the ratification of the marriage between Prince
Charles and the Princess Mary, he must say in a very secret
and confidential manner that he knows his master (King
Ferdinand) has made a solemn vow not to enter into an
negotiations with regard to that marriage before the Princess
Katharine is the wife of the Prince of Wales. Nor would it be
possible for him to be dispensed from this vow, as he has sworn
never to ask such a dispensation, and he (King Ferdinand)
would not break his oath for any consideration in the world.
At the same time he is to add, but as though it came from
him, that he (King Ferdinand) had never declared himself
against the marriage of Prince Charles with the Princess
Mary. The marriage having been already consented to by
the Emperor, by Madame, (fn. 2) and by the Council of Flanders, in
whose keeping the Prince is, there can be no doubt that it
will be ratified also by him (King Ferdinand) and Queen
Juana as soon as the other marriage is concluded. He must
make use of all possible arguments in order to persuade the
King of England, and especially he must not be sparing of
sweet and courteous words.
In case the King of England consents to the marriage of
the Princess Katharine, her dower is to be paid in accordance
with the memoir which will be given to him.
If, on the contrary, the King of England cannot be persuaded
to consent to the marriage of the Princess Katharine
except on condition that he (King Ferdinand) ratifies the
marriage treaty between Prince Charles and the Princess
Mary, he must speak in secret with the Princess Katharine,
and tell her that she must prepare to return to Spain. Her
own honour and the honour of Spain would suffer if under
such circumstances she were to remain any longer in England
where she might perhaps be exposed to even more cruel treatment
than hitherto. But if she were to return to Spain, her
long suffering would be at an end, and she would soon find
opportunity for another very acceptable marriage. After
having ascertained that the Princess has decided to leave
England, and that she will yield to no persuasion to the contrary
from the King of England, he is to tell the King that the
Princess Katharine must immediately go back to the house
of her father. He must at the same time hire the ships in
which she and her servants must sail. He, the Knight Commander
Esqulvel, the Treasurer Morales and his wife, and even
the Knight Commander of Membrilla can embark on board
the vessels in which the Princess and her ladies will come.
The Knight Commander Membrilla must, therefore, under
some pretext tarry a few days in port before putting to sea.
It may be that the King of England will try to retain the
Princess Katharine in England against her will. If that
should be the case, he must employ all his powers of persuasion
in order to dissuade the King of England from persisting in
his iniquitous design. He must tell him that he will derive
no advantage from such a line of conduct, and beg him to
consider what his feelings would be, if he himself were to be
affronted in such a way.
Whatever the result of his negotiations may be, he must
write immediately by a flying courier.
The Princess has wished for an aged and learned confessor,
belonging to the Order of the Observant Friars of San Francisco.
Sends [blank]. Hopes he will be well received and
well treated in England. She has further desired to have a
Castilian physician. Sends therefore [blank].
Should the marriage of the Princess Katharine take place,
he is to superintend all the arrangements of her household.
There are some articles in the marriage treaty which are
not as clear as they ought to be. Has consented to them only
because he hopes that the King of England will afterwards
settle these points as becomes his own dignity. Expects that
all will be arranged in such a way that the Princess can live
in comfort and at ease.
The Knight Commander of Membrilla is to hand over to
him the instrument of the dower which the King of England
has promised to the Princess Katharine, and the memoir of the
jewels, gold, and plate which the King of England has refused
to accept in part payment, and which now belong to the
Gives him credentials to the Prince of Wales, his beloved
son. As soon as he finds a good opportunity he is to deliver
the credentials, and to tell the Prince that he (King Ferdinand)
places his person and his kingdom at his disposal. He
is, at the same time, to explain to the Prince all that has been
said to him by word of mouth.—Given in Valladolid, the
[blank] of [blank], 1509.
Signature of King Ferdinand.
Indorsed : "Instruction for [blank]."
Spanish. Autograph, pp. 22.