Simancas: February 1561

Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1892.

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, 'Simancas: February 1561', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) pp. 180-184. British History Online [accessed 22 May 2024].

. "Simancas: February 1561", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) 180-184. British History Online, accessed May 22, 2024,

. "Simancas: February 1561", Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892). 180-184. British History Online. Web. 22 May 2024,

February 1561

23 Feb. 123. The Same to the Same.
On the 22nd ultimo I informed your Majesty of Henry Sidney's interview with me in Lord Robert's business, and I have delayed giving them an answer about it because they, on their side, have delayed addressing me further on the matter, the cause of this being, as far as I can learn, that the Queen does not commend her affairs to your Majesty out of any wish or good will of her own, but forced thereto by the persuasion of Lord Robert, who knows the peril in which they stand, and sees clearly that, without the favour of your Majesty, they can hardly ensure themselves against a rising in the country, or suppress one should it occur. I believe the Queen would, nevertheless, have done ere this as Robert urges her if it had not been for the interference of Paget, who, knowing her humour, has advised her to hold her hand until she can make a firm peace and alliance with France, when she could treat with your Majesty more advantageously. This has been the reason for her having changed her mind about sending Peter Mewtys, who was to have gone to France simply with a message of condolence for the death of the King, and she has now decided to send the earl of Bedford with instructions to ask for the ratification of the peace, and, when this has been obtained, to endeavour to bring about a good understanding and alliance with Vendôme and the heretics of the French court. I do not know what will come of this, but Guido Cavalcanti, who left Paris on the 15th with a despatch from the earl, says that he expects that this time the misunderstandings between the French and the Queen will be ended for ever. These transactions have thus delayed the affair about which Sidney spoke to me at the instance of Lord Robert, and as he (Sidney) believes, with the connivance of the Queen. Finally, however, on the 13th, Robert and I met in the presence of Sidney, and, after he had repeated all that Sidney had told me, and thanked me with a great many compliments and humble words for the answer I had sent, he besought me, in your Majesty's name, to recommend the Queen to marry him, and he would promise to render your Majesty all the service his brother-in-law had told me, and very much more. I answered him, that as your Majesty had had no information on this subject until now, you had not had an opportunity of giving me instructions with regard to it ; so that I could not address the Queen in your Majesty's name without grave error, but what I could and would do with great pleasure was to act under my previous instructions and request the Queen to make up her mind to marry and settle the succession, and, if during the conversation any particular person should be discussed, I would speak of him (Lord Robert) as favourably as he could wish, and I would venture to do this for him, knowing the affection and good will your Majesty has always borne him. He seemed very well satisfied with this, as he must have expected that I should not answer him in this way, and he begged me to speak to the Queen at once. I did so two days afterwards, and told her she already knew how much your Majesty wished to see her married and her Government firmly and tranquilly established, and the various efforts you had made to that end, and that as I now heard that the matter was under discussion, I could not refrain from expressing to her my pleasure thereat. I also said that whenever she thought necessary to consult your Majesty on the subject I would use all diligence to carry out what was entrusted to me, and if on this occasion I did not particularize more clearly, it was because I had no special orders from your Majesty who had not been informed of what was passing. After much circumlocution she said she wished to confess to me and tell me her secret in confession, which was that she was no angel, and did not deny that she had some affection for Lord Robert for the many good qualities he possessed, but she certainly had never decided to marry him or anyone else, although she daily saw more clearly the necessity for her marriage, and to satisfy the English humour that it was desirable that she should marry an Englishman, and she asked me to tell her what your Majesty would think if she married one of her servitors as the duchess of Suffolk (fn. 1) and the duchess of Somerset (fn. 2) had done. I told her I could not say what your Majesty would think, as I did not know and had not thought of asking, but that I promised her I would use all diligence to learn as soon as she told me to write to your Majesty about it, and I quite believed that your Majesty would be pleased to hear of her marriage with whomever it might be as it was so important to her and her kingdom, and I also knew that your Majesty would be happy to hear of the advancement and aggrandizement of Lord Robert, as I understand that your Majesty had great affection for him and held him in high esteem. She seemed as pleased at this as her position allowed her to be. She told me when the time arrived she would speak to me, and promised me to do nothing without the advice and countenance of your Majesty. I did not care to carry the matter further for fear of making a mistake, although she would have been glad to have done so. I had no instruction from your Majesty on the subject, and I did not wish, knowing her character, to refuse to give her this little pleasure and hope for fear otherwise that she might be impelled to rush into some foolish course, seeing that she is so infatuated, and the heretics of Germany, France, and Scotland are busy here with their insolence and their combinations, and above all because your Majesty's neighbouring States are so pressed that a froward decision of this woman might prejudice them, although she herself might be ruined by it. Robert came the next day to thank me and repeated to me all the details of what I had said to the Queen, who, he told me, was much pleased, and he begged me in the next interview to revert to the subject as he knew that it was only fear and timidity that prevented the Queen from deciding. He again made me great promises and assured me that everything should be placed in your Majesty's hands and even as regarded religion if the sending of a representative to the Concilio did not suffice he would go himself. I again repeated to him that I would do everything I could, as indeed I had done, to forward his suit, so far as was justified by your Majesty's commission to me, but with regard to religion I begged him not to speak to me about it on any account as that should not be dependent upon other matters, and what he and the Queen did about it did not concern your Majesty but their own conscience. It was true, I said, that as a prince who is Catholic both in style, and in fact nothing would give your Majesty greater pleasure than to see the end of these divisions and dissensions in religion. I am thus cautious with these people because if they are playing false, which is quite possible, I do not wish to give them the opportunity of saying that we offered them your Majesty's favour in return for their changing their religion, as they say other similar things to make your Majesty disliked by the heretics here and in Germany. If they are acting straightforwardly, a word from your Majesty in due time will do more than I can now do with many. Your Majesty knows these people and the individuals, and has learnt from my letters and Dr. Turner's statements in Flanders the real state of affairs here. I therefore beg that your Majesty may be pleased to send me orders as to what I should do, and I cannot refrain from saying that for reasons which are notoriously in your Majesty's interest affairs here must be mended one way or another, and this can be more easily done now than at any other time either by your Majesty showing favour to Robert and bringing him to some terms advantageous for your Majesty's objects and the stability of the country or else by protecting their opponents and helping them against these people who have been such bad neighbours to your Majesty and who will every day become worse. To let these affairs drift at the mercy of chance neither secures nor punishes and cannot fail to produce evil disservice to your Majesty. If in saying this I trangress the bounds of my duty I crave your Majesty's pardon for allowing my zeal to make me forget my prudence. I am not alone in my opinion, as this is the universal theme of all the goodly people in the kingdom and all who wish for your Majesty's advantage.
The duke of Norfolk is on very bad terms with the Queen, and Lord Robert sent word to him the other day that he had heard that the Duke's servants were declaring that he was Robert's enemy, and he wished to know whether this was true, and if it were not that the servants should be punished. The duke sent a gentleman of his household named Nicholas Stranger with his excuses, and the affair has been patched up, but there is no certainty that some trouble may not arise from it. It appears to me that the Queen is angry with him (Norfolk) alone and is determined to humble him when she can ; and indeed she gave me to understand as much herself without naming the duke. He on his side is full of boasts, although I do know how it will turn out when he has to carry them into effect.
Lady Margaret Lennox is trying to marry her son Lord Darnley to the queen of Scotland, and I understand she is not without hope of succeeding. The Parliament in Scotland has decided to recommend the Queen to marry the earl of Arran, and if she will not do so to withhold from her the government of the kingdom. The earl of Huntly and others opposed this and things are in great confusion. They only agree about destroying religion which they have completely abolished. Monsieur de Noailles who was here as ambassador arrived here on his way to Scotland to try to pacity and reconcile them to the union with the French as before.
Seurre awaits the arrival of another ambassador owing to the change of government in France. The Queen does not cease to provide herself with ships, and is now building some new ones. She has given all the churches of the imprisoned bishops to the greatest heretics, which is a very bad sign for the fulfilment of Lord Robert's promises, although these people are so artful and prone to crooked courses that it is quite likely that they do this to please the heretic party whilst they think to satisfy the Catholics by what they are discussing with me, which is known already in London and is much talked of. I cannot prevent this as it appears best for me to keep them off their guard and not to let them think that anything is being arranged against their interests so as to avoid their being urged into inopportune action, as I have said. I am doing the best I can with the Catholics, but it is time for me to know into what direction your Majesty wishes matters here to be guided if you may be pleased still to employ me in them.
Lord Morley, the son-in-law of the earl of Derby, sends a brother of his to your Majesty to serve in the war, whenever it may be, and has obtained the Queen's license for three years to that effect. The youth is of good parts, and his brother is one of the best and most Catholic gentlemen of this kingdom and much attached to your Majesty's service. He has another brother a clergyman studying in Paris, a stanch catholic, as they all are. He asked me for a letter of recommendation, and I crave your Majesty's pardon for having presumed to give it and for informing your Majesty about them now for your Majesty's guidance.—23rd February 1561.


  • 1. This may refer either to Frances duchess of Suffolk, daughter of Charles Brandon by Mary Tudor, Dowager Queen of France ; who, after the execution of her husband, Henry Grey, marquis of Dorset and duke of Suffolk (1554), married her steward, Adrian Stokes ; or to Catharine Lady Willoughby d'Eresby in her own right, widow of Charles Brandon, who married a gentleman in her household, Robert Bertie.
  • 2. Anne Stanhope, second wife of the Protector Somerset, who was married to Mr. Francis Newdigate.