Simancas: January 1566

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: January 1566', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) pp. 511-517. British History Online [accessed 30 May 2024].

. "Simancas: January 1566", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892) 511-517. British History Online, accessed May 30, 2024,

. "Simancas: January 1566", Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 1, 1558-1567, (London, 1892). 511-517. British History Online. Web. 30 May 2024,

January 1566

1566. 28 Jan. 335. The Same to the Same.
On the 24th instant I arrived in London, where the day previous the duke of Norfolk entered with 300 horsemen to receive the order of St. Michael that Rambouillet had brought for him and the earl of Leicester. They received it the day I arrived at the morning service, which the Queen usually attends, the ordinary Ambassador of France being also present. The next day Rambouillet left for Scotland to present the same order to the King.
The whole efforts the French have made, and are making, are to hinder the Archduke's marriage, and help Leicester to the same end.
The distinctive marks or stripes of purple or yellow which the friends of Lord Robert and Norfolk respectively had adopted, as I wrote from Brussels, are still worn by some of them. I am told that Leicester began it so as to know who were his friends, and the adherents of the Duke did the same, in consequence of some disagreements they had had with them about the aid the Duke and his friends had given to the Archduke's match. The earl of Arundel intervened to pacify them, and they are now dissembling in the usual English way, but remaining of the same opinion as before. There was great hope that, seeing that no reply came from the Emperor, the Queen would decide to marry Lord Robert, but since the arrival of the English courtier who accompanied the Emperor's Ambassador thither, the hope has cooled down greatly, although I am informed that Leicester has not lost hope, and that the Queen has promised him a speedy reply.
The gentleman who accompanied the Emperor's Ambassador brought a letter from his Majesty, and another from the Archduke, with his portrait. He tells me the Queen received him very well, and asked him why he had tarried so long, to which he replied, because the Emperor would not decide until he had consulted your Majesty about what had been written to him in the business. For the Emperor's own part he had delayed because the clause about religion appeared very hard, and he had stuck at it for a long time. The Queen said that the clause was not so strictly drawn as he made out, and that she had discussed it in conciliatory terms with the Emperor's Ambassador, to which the gentleman answered that the Ambassador had informed the Emperor that such was the case ; but that as it was differently treated in the written draft he had stood out on the point. The Queen, who doubted that the clause had been worded so strictly, called Cecil and asked him if it were so, who answered that it was true, and that what was ordered to be written at the time had been written. They then discussed the Archduke's portrait as this gentleman had no other instructions but to bring the Emperor's letter and ask for a speedy reply.
The earl of Sussex tells me that this affair of the Archduke is on the point of being decided one way or the other, and that there are still some who maliciously say that I will not help it forward. He says it would be very advantageous if I would take the same steps with the Queen as I did at first, as it would tend greatly to your Majesty's interests and the welfare of the country if this match were to take place, so much depending upon the ancient friendship between your Majesty and their sovereign being maintained. He says the Emperor's letter contained three points ; first, that it is not reasonable to expect the Archduke to bring everything that may be necessary for his household and establishment ; secondly, that it is not feasible for his brother to abandon his religion and agree to do so beforehand, especially before the conclusion of the business ; and thirdly, he took exception to his brother's coming on chance without any assurance from the Queen. His words, however, on this point were so moderate and gentle that the Earl thought if I used my efforts the negotiation could be concluded, but it would be necessary to press the Queen as she had but small inclination to marriage, and there existed different opinions in the Council, which alternately took advantage of her unwillingness to upset Lord Robert's and the Archduke's proposals as they were brought forward. He thought, as the Queen had always declared she would never marry a man she had not seen first, some means might be found of satisfying her, and assuring the Archduke that if he came the business would be carried through. The means he proposed was that the Queen should promise six or eight of my countrymen to be nominated by him (the Archduke) that she would marry him if he came, and they could convey this assurance to the Emperor, when the Archduke could come with certainty.
I thanked him from your Majesty for his good intentions, and those of others I have mentioned in former letters. The earl sways all the duke of Norfolk's party which favours the Archduke's suit, and to which Secretary Cecil adheres. I assured him I would do all in my power as I had hitherto done to help the Archduke, whom your Majesty regarded as a son, and asked him to let me know whenever they thought my services would be advantageous, and I would not fail them.
The earl of Sussex told me that the Duke had taken the order of St. Michael much against his will, but could not avoid obeying the Queen's commands as she had pressed him very urgently although he knew it was only to prevent jealousy of Lord Robert's being the only person to receive the order and not from any desire to favour him (the Duke), but the contrary. I said he had done well in obeying the Queen's command although the Duke would not do amiss if he found some way of letting the people know that he had not accepted the order by his own wish so as not to lose the reputation he had of being so good an Englishman, knowing as he did that the populace were badly affected towards French things. He said I was right and the Duke had already done as I said and would continue to do so. There is no news of importance from Scotland except that on New Year's Day the pregnancy of the Queen was announced, and that Parliament will assemble on the 7th or 8th proximo. I had audience of the Queen yesterday, who has been very unwell from a fall down five stairs, as she told me, and is still somewhat lame and thin. She appeared much pleased at my return, and after having conversed on this point awhile I mentioned the matter of the Archduke, and said that although I had not received recent letters from your Majesty, yet bearing in mind your great affection for the Archduke, and hearing that the Emperor had written to her I could not refrain from expressing the joy your Majesty would feel if the business were carried through. She said it was true the Emperor had written to her with his own hand and in Spanish and she was rather sorry that after delaying his answer so long, and she had sent word that she would not entertain any other proposals until his reply came, he should write now doubtfully and undecidedly raising the three issues I have mentioned ; namely, about the Archduke's expenditure in this country, the question of religion and the Archduke's coming. Respecting the first point she said the Emperor wrote that no reasonable person would consider it just that whilst the Archduke was so far away from his own country he should be maintained by it. On the subject of religion he said the Archduke and his household could only continue in his own, and, as regarded his coming it was neither reasonable nor convenient that a person like his brother should come without some assurance. How could she marry, she said, with a man whom she had to feed, and let the world say she had taken a husband who could not afford to keep himself. She said a great deal about this, to which I replied that the Emperor doubtless did not refer to personal and private expenses but rather to other expenses which he would have to incur in favour of Englishmen as he had been given to understand that he would have to maintain a household like your Majesty did which would be impossible, and, all such demands as these, could only be answered as the Emperor had done. She said he had only been asked to bear the cost of his private establishment which could be kept up on the scale he wished, but I told her, and I know it to be so, that they had asked him to do as I have said. I recalled perfectly well that, having this in view, the Emperor's Ambassador had asked to see the list of Englishmen who received salaries and served your Majesty when you were here and I showed it to him. I told the Queen this but she still persisted and said that, of course, as she was King here she would naturally bear the general expenses, but as to the private expenses of her husband he would not need anything extravagant, and as it was a question of money she did not wish to dwell so much upon it. She said the answer sent on the religious question had been only in general terms without indicating any details of how services were to be attended, publicly or privately, or what religion the Archduke professed although she had set forth the whole question in detail and had discussed the subject at length with the Ambassador. She said it must not be thought that they lived here like Turks. They had the Holy Sacrament and other things and followed the Augustine creed as she believed the Archduke himself did ; indeed the Emperor his father had written to her and had inclined her thereto. She thought therefore that the Emperor might be more definite on this point as there was so great a diversity of religions, and he might also define more clearly what he meant on the third point about the Archduke's coming. He only said now that such a person as his brother could not come without some assurance, and it was not evident what this expression "assurance" referred to, whether to his marriage or to the good treatment to be extended to him and his followers in this country. She again complained both of the obscurity of the expressions used in the communication and of a matter of this importance being discussed in a simple letter.
I told her that with regard to the religious question I had nothing to say, that being a matter which depended upon the Archduke ; but as for the assurance I said it could only be understood to refer to the marriage, and such assurance might well be given as would enable her to see the Archduke before she married him, and him to come with the certainty of the match taking place. She again said that she would never marry without first seeing the man, as she did not trust portraits, but the end of it was that she promised to answer the Emperor shortly and to send the letter by a German she said was called Christopher Monti (Mundt), who is to negotiate with the dukes of Bavaria and Wurtemburg. She also told me that the Emperor said your Majesty had written to her on the subject before her letter arrived. I said I believed such would be the case, but that I had not received letters from your Majesty for a long time past, although a courier was expected hourly in Flanders from Spain. In the course of this conversation certain hints were dropped which lead me to think that Lord Robert is right in not abandoning hope, and consequently all I said was very moderate and cautious in tone, so as to keep the Earl bound to us in case the Queen marries him. This is the course I have always taken, but I never saw the Queen treat Lord Robert's business so openly before. On other occasions, it is true, she has shown an inclination towards him, but has said that she would not marry a subject, but only an equal. The contrary happened on this occasion, and when I told her that it was announced that she was shortly to give an answer to the Earl's suit, which is true, she answered that such was not the case, and that in conversation with him on the subject he had answered her that she well knew that he himself had never had the presumption to aspire to marry her, but that the Council had proposed the match to her and urged her to take an English husband in the interests of the kingdom. They (the Council) were therefore the people who should ask her for an answer and not he. She said I could perceive by this that she had not promised to give him any reply, and particularly as she had promised the Emperor not to enter into other negotiations until the Archduke's suit were settled, but that the Earl had good parts and great merits, and if she had to marry a subject she had a great liking for him. If she did marry him, she said laughingly, two neighbouring Queen's would be wedded in the same way, but she ended the subject by saying that her inclination tended higher. She is so nimble in her dealing and threads in and out of this business in such a way that her most intimate favourites fail to understand her, and her intentions are therefore variously interpreted. I urged her to make up her mind, as it was so important for her country that she should have a successor, and even the difference of views of her subjects with regard to the person she should marry might create enmity which would be troublesome. She said they were wrong not to treat the matter as she did, dispassionately, and as I myself did when she asked me whom I thought she should marry, and I had always answered unconcernedly that I wanted to hear her own wishes before I decided.
Those who have the Archduke's affair in hand will speak to the Queen to-day, having waited for me to mention the matter first. They think their business is in a good way, but I do not believe they will obtain any decision, and people are very confident that Leicester's suit will prosper.
It is very necessary to keep in with this (the Archduke's) party, as they are not only the principal people in the realm, but they show a desire to serve your Majesty. They hate Leicester greatly, and, if they dared, greater trouble would come of it.
The Queen also told me the reason of Rambouillet's coming. He had to bring the order from the king of France to the king of Scotland, and to avoid the appearance of contracting new ties with the Scotch sovereigns whilst they were at variance with her it was desirable to present the order to two of her (Elizabeth's) subjects, since she herself being a woman could not receive it. The queen of Scotland had requested the king of France to confirm the friendship that had existed between their predecessors, and which had ceased on the death of Henri, but he had declined to do it, saying that he saw no reason for the Scots to have any dissension with anyone at present but the queen of England, whom he wished to please in all things. It is easy to believe that the French would tell her this and as much more as she will listen to.
I told her that notwithstanding all this consideration they showed her it would be well to make terms with her cousin and neighbour and live in amity with the Scots, on their making the necessary apologies, since neither death nor injury had been suffered on either side, and no affront had been offered that demanded very great reparation. I said I spoke as the Minister of your Majesty, who loved her well and desired her tranquillity and repose, and that those who wished to urge her into war only did so to cause her trouble for their own ends. I begged her to consider this, and she thanked me and promised to do so. She said she felt sure peace would be settled, and she had appointed representatives with that object who would meet at Berwick those who had been nominated by the Scotch Queen. This is true, as the Queen has appointed the earl of Bedford, who is governor there, and another person who is on the frontier with him, and Lord Lumley's mission has therefore been suspended, although he was ready to start. They tell me that the cause of this was that Lumley is looked upon as a Catholic, as he is, and they would not trust him. The appointment of the earl of Bedford has not pleased the queen of Scots, who tried to prevent it but could not. She, for her part, appointed persons not well affected towards this Queen, and it is consequently thought that no agreement will result.
The French ambassador has informed me that Rambouillet came here with three objects. The first was to take possession of the Garter and perform certain ceremonies for which he went to Windsor ; to confer the order of St. Michael on the duke of Norfolk and Leicester, and thirdly to learn whether the Queen was willing that when he was in Scotland he should enter into any negotiations respecting the complaints she made against the queen of Scots. The Queen had repeated many of these complaints to Rambouillet, but not for the purpose of his taking any steps in the matter. Afterwards, however, Cecil had gone to his lodgings and told him that when the king of Scotland, bearing in mind that he had been an English subject, should write modestly to the Queen saying he was sorry she was angry with him and greatly wished that her anger should disappear, he believed everything would be settled if at the same time the queen of Scotland would send an ambassador hither to treat of Lady Margaret's affair.
Heneage is still in favour and greatly hated by Leicester, one of whose friends threatened him the other day, saying that if he did not moderate himself in his talk of his affairs he would get a cudgelling. Henage replied, but the man who took him the message did not care to return with the answer. The Queen heard of it and was very angry. She sent away from court the man who took the message, but he has returned already. (fn. 1) Words are very soon overlooked here. Before I left Brussels Alonso del Canto told me that he had received news that Francis Yaxley had embarked in good weather, but that the weather afterwards had changed and the people in the port he had left feared that the ship he went in had been lost, and I found news to the same effect when I arrived here. Luis de Paz went to the said port on his way thither and has handed me the enclosed statement. The description given of the man who was found drowned confirms my suspicion, but not as to the finding of the money in the box, as he did not carry one, but only some bundles of blankets for greater secrecy as I am informed by Alonso del Canto. If it be he it will be a great misfortune and a considerable injury to his sovereigns. The truth, however, will certainly be known soon although unless papers have been discovered they will have no reason for suspicion here. I feel sure that if they had any proof as to his mission the Queen would have spoken to me on the subject, and I should have received information from some quarter. I am carefully seeking some means by which the Scots may be advised with the necessary reserve.
Lady Margaret is still in prison. I have sent a visitor to her to encourage her and urge her to bear her trouble patiently and assure her that God will watch over the affairs of her and her children. She wrote me a letter pressing me much as to her liberation, as her whole trust, after God, is in your Majesty. Bishop Bonner and the other prisoners are as usual looking for their deliverance solely to God and your Majesty. The causes against them are suspended.
News had arrived here of Yaxley's visit to your Majesty and his return. The Queen was informed that his mission was for three purposes, namely ; to advise your Majesty of his Queen's wedding and ask your Majesty's approval of it ; to ask for aid against the rebels on the assurance that they had risen against religion, and thirdly to crave an advance of money for which they would give security in Antwerp. They said that this Queen was helping the rebels and that I had written to your Majesty that such was not the case. Your Majesty had replied that you were pleased with the marriage, and as regarded the rebels that you were willing, if the queen of Scotland wished to send a person to prevail upon this Queen not to give any help, and in case of the refusal of the latter your Majesty would take such steps as might be advisable. With regard to the rest Yaxley was said to have returned disappointed, whereat they rejoiced.
Parliament has been prorogued until the 13th November. It was to have commenced in February, next month. The ambassador who has been appointed to reside in your Majesty's court has visited me, and yesterday accompanied me to and from the palace. His name is Curtene (Man) and he is a worthy person who speaks Italian, and upon whom, notwithstanding that he is married, the Queen has conferred the deanery of Ghio celtre (Gloucester) and other preferments which are worth some 2,000 ducats a year. They tell me that his greatest merit is that he is a stanch heretic. Another one goes to France who is married to a sister of Cecil's wife. (fn. 2) —London, 28th January 1566.


  • 1. For details of this quarrel, which appears to have been ostensibly about a game at forfeits, see letter from Giacomo Surnian, 19th February 1566 in Calendar of State Papers, Venetian, vol. vii.
  • 2. Sir Thomas Hoby. He died in Paris in July of the same year.