Spain: December 1500

Pages 247-253

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 1, 1485-1509. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1862.

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December 1500

18 Dec.
B. M. MS. Eg. 616. f. 15.
Don Pedro de Ayala.
289. Henry VII. to Ferdinand and Isabella.
Informs them he has learnt that Don Pedro de Ayala has been commanded to take leave immediately, and to return to Spain. Requests that he may remain in England, at any rate for the short time that will have to elapse before the coming of the Lady Katharine. Asks this because it will be very acceptable to him, Don Pedro de Ayala being a personage entirely devoted to their service and to his also. Moreover, being, as he is, of such singular modesty and probity, as well as of affable and cheerful disposition, he is well fitted to adorn the nuptials by his presence and to cheer the spirits of the young Princess. Prays, therefore, that Don Pedro be commanded in no case to take leave until the said nuptials be solemnized.—Abingdon, 18th December 1500.
Addressed : "To the serene and mighty Princes, Ferdinand and Isabella, by the grace of God, King and Queen of Castile, &c."
Indorsed by Almazan : "To their Highnesses, from the King of England, 18th December 1500."
Latin. p. 1.
Printed in Gairdner's Letters and Papers, I. 124.
20 Dec.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 3. f. 27.
290. Katharine, Princess Of Wales.
Ratifies once more the act performed in the chapel of the manor of Bewdley on the 19th of May 1499.
Orders and empowers, however, De Puebla, as her proxy, to perform once more the marriage ceremonies with the Prince of Wales.— Granada, 20th of December 1500.
Signed by the Princess of Wales. Countersigned by Almazan.
Latin, on parchment.
20 Dec.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 3. f. 30.
291. Katharine, Princess of Wales.
Another ratification and power, which is verbatim the same as the preceding one.
27 Dec.
S. E. T. c. I. L. 4. f. 2.
292. De Puebla to Ferdinand and Isabella.
Has received divers bundles of papers from them through Martin Sanchez de Zamudio. In each of these bundles there had been a Latin letter from them to the King of England.
Delay in sending the authority of the Princess for the marriage.
Decided to go to the King, though the hindrances had been many ; and the greatest of them all was the presence of Don Pedro de Ayala at court. Sent a messenger in great haste to Flanders, asking the Knight Commander of Haro to send him the authority of the Princess of Wales mentioned in those letters. The Knight Commander of Haro, however, replied that he did not choose to let the authority of the Princess go out of his hands, adding that nothing must be said of, or done respecting it before the King of England had consented to certain alterations of the treaty which they had demanded. The Knight Commander had given him to understand that he would come to England, and direct the whole business "as though he were a great scholar, or a person of great importance and much experience in the affairs of England." Any delay seemed dangerous, especially as some Flemings had spread false news. Resolved, therefore, to go to the King of England, to give him their letters, and to solemnize the marriage in virtue of the former authority sent by the Princess Katharine.
Effect produced on King Henry by letters from Spain.
While continuing his journey with great anger and trouble because the Knight Commander of Haro had not sent the new authority of the Princess, he received a bundle of letters from them, dated the 3rd of October, and the new power of the Princess of Wales which the Knight Commander of Haro had sent with them. Delivered to Henry his new credentials and their Latin letters. The King was so well satisfied with the contents of them that he summoned all the lords and privy counsellors who were with him. After the letters had been read they greatly praised the wisdom of them. The King and the privy counsellors deliberated on the spot, and it was settled that one of the letters should be sent to the Archuke, another to the King of Scots, and copies of them to the lords and principal towns of the kingdom. Only an eyewitness could believe what immense effect their letters produce in England, especially if they are written in Latin and as well composed as these letters are. The letters of the Princess of Wales and her authority could not have been better. Was not placed in a maze of doubts by them, as he had been by her authority of last year.
Henry retired with him to his secret chamber, and said he had not expected that they would send such good and frank letters, because he had observed that he (De Puebla), by his shifts and evasions, had raised many obstacles against the execution of the treaties concluded between Spain and England. Seeing that the King was "all sweetness" (todo dulzor), he answered that they wished to have the marriage ceremonies performed afresh, since the Prince of Wales had now completed the fourteenth year of his age. Gave the power of the Princess of Wales to the King, who read it word for word. It was not necessary for him to read and explain it as he had done last year, because this power is so well composed.
Henry objects to a repetition of the marriage ceremony.
Henry said that a repetition of the marriage ceremonies was superfluous, and gave many good reasons for his opinion. Replied to the King that the marriage of the Archduke Philip had also been repeated in a similar way, and that great expenses would be saved by its repetition in England, because if the marriage ceremonies were not repeated in England, ambassadors would be obliged to go to Spain in order to perform them there.
The ceremony performed.
Henry consulted on this subject with his council, and it was at last decided that the marriage ceremonies should be repeated in England. Feared that the King and his counsellors might change their minds ; and therefore, chose in great haste those officers of the court and of the council whom he preferred, and went with them to Wales, where Prince Arthur was staying. There the marriage was once more solemnized with great ceremony. Took the hand of the Prince of Wales in the presence of witnesses and of two notaries. The Bishop of Lincoln, president of the council of the Prince of Wales, officiated. At first the Bishop had some doubts whether it would not be better that a secular lord should officiate, saying that the marriage was a clandestine marriage, and therefore he, as a prelate, would incur the danger of being suspended for some years from his bishopric, if he officiated at such a wedding. Explained to the Bishop that the wedding had been already performed twice before, and that the Pope, the King and Queen of Spain, and the King of England approved of it ; he would incur, therefore, no danger if he performed the ceremony. Sends the formal instrument of the wedding by a messenger via Bristol.
Honour shown De Puebla.
To describe all the honour shown to him would be impossible. Was, as proxy of the Princess of Wales, placed at table above the Prince of Wales, and at his right hand. All the dishes were presented to him first, and in general more respect was paid to him than he had ever before received in his life.
Knight Commander of Haro, his conduct.
Had been four months absent from court. His remonstrances would have produced little or no effect if he had gone to the King without bringing any news from Spain. The reason why he makes this observation is, that on his way to the King he had met a messenger of the Knight Commander of Haro taking a letter from them to Henry concerning their request to postpone the voyage of the Princess of Wales to England. The Knight Commander of Haro had not written a single word to him informing him of this message. Had the messenger of the Knight Commander arrived before him, and delivered his letters to the King, the news which he brought would probably have produced little or no effect, and it would have been impossible for him to have arrived at a satisfactory conclusion. Such letters ought not to be delivered to foreign Princes except by the ambassador who has to conduct negotiations with them. The only thing he could do in such circumstances was to push on his journey at full speed in order to overtake the courier of the Knight Commander ; and in fact he arrived at court one day and a half before him. Was even able, when the courier arrived, to persuade the King to send the Knight Commander a gracious answer. Had, moreover, himself composed the letter which the King signed.
Don Pedro de Ayala.
Sends them a letter which the Knight Commander of Haro has written. They will learn from it what kind of person the man is whom they had chosen as impartial judge between himself and Don Pedro de Ayala. They will likewise see what objects these two men have in view. If they had had as long an experience of Don Pedro de Ayala and of the Knight Commander of Haro as they have had of him, he would be better esteemed by them, and not have to contend with so many difficulties. Has served them twelve years in England with all honour, and now come men without learning or experience, and do all in their power to deprive him of his good name. They attempt to lead him astray in order that he may commit blunders. To tell all the snares which Don Pedro de Ayala has laid for him, and indefatigably continues to lay for him, would require a long time.
Begs that he may be recalled.
As soon as Don Pedro had come to England, he turned his most intimate friends, and among them the Latin secretary of the King, into his most bitter enemies. Don Pedro told them that he had put into his own pocket the money which had been sent from Spain as presents for them, and other similar bad stories. Sent them a short time ago the letter which Don Pedro had had the impudence to write to him. They will learn by it what the real character of that man is. Hopes they will order him to leave England. The negotiations with Scotland were finished whilst Don Pedro was absent in Flanders. It is not from revenge that he begs for the recall of Don Pedro ; he only wishes that the obstacles which his enemy continually throws in his way may be removed in order that he may the more effectually serve them. Promises to do all that is possible in their service, and even "almost the impossible ;" which is the more desirable since the Cardinal of England is dead, and has left no statesman behind who can be compared to him.
Don Pedro de Ayala and some of the privy counsellors have said to King Henry that the presence of Don Pedro in England is very useful, because he acts as a counterpoise and a bridle to him (De Puebla). They say the truth. It is impossible for him to act with the energy, cheerfulness, and authority which he would put forth if Don Pedro were not present. Don Pedro has gone so far as to persuade the King of England and the Prince of Wales, behind his back, to write letters to them in his (Don Pedro's) recommendation. They promised him, in their letter of the 3rd of October, to recall Don Pedro. Although Don Pedro had received letters from them, dated the same day, he has not in the least changed his behaviour, or his manner of speaking. Beseeches them to deliver him from his antagonist.
After his return from Wales, settled with King Henry that the wedding of the Princess Katharine should take place with the greatest solemnity within twelve days after her arrival.
Household of the Princess of Wales.
Has likewise settled the business respecting the ladies and officers who are to remain with the Princess of Wales. Has done all in his power. Encloses a list of them, signed by the King of England, who says that he would not make the least objection to any number of Spanish servants remaining with the Princess, if it were his intention to imitate the Archduke, that is to say, to receive them to-day, and to send them away tomorrow. It is his will to keep what he promises, and not to treat the Spanish servants as badly as they have been treated in Flanders. That is the reason why the King begs them to be contented with the number of Spanish servants contained in the said list. The Princess will be better and more respectfully attended by English ladies and gentlemen than ever Princess has been served before. Hopes they will grant his prayers, because even the Knight Commander of Haro has asked no more than Henry now offers.
Her marriage portion.
Did not think it a fit moment to speak to the King of England about the jewels, ornaments, &c. of the Princess, especially as the new treaty had been so recently sworn, which settles that the jewels, ornaments, &c. of the Princess are to be discounted from the last instalment of the marriage portion, that is to say, two years after the consummation of the marriage. It has been impossible to obtain more favourable terms, and King Henry has for a long time been utterly unwilling to discount them at all. If they take from him the nightmare which oppresses him, he will be the most zealous servant imaginable to them.
Knight Commander of Haro.
When he received their letters of the 6th of July, in which they ordered him to procure the consent of the King of England to certain additional articles, the Knight Commander of Haro was in England. Without consideration whether it were the right moment or not, he broached the whole matter to the King, only in order to know his will. To speak about these articles before the King of England had consented to prolong the time of the departure of the Princess for England was bad policy. Should any similar thing occur in future, it would be best to intrust the business to him alone, and not to send such a person as the Knight Commander.
Inclusion of the Kings of Scotland and Denmark in the alliance.
Has showed the King of England their letter, in which they express their wish to include the Kings of Scotland and Denmark in their treaty of alliance. King Henry gladly assented to this demand. Intended to send a messenger to Scotland, when a Scotch king-at-arms came to England. Has had many long conversations with him, and told him that they have heard with great pleasure that the King of Scots is reconciled with the King of England, and is to marry one of his daughters. Told him also that they have not only included the King of Scots in their treaty of alliance with England, but likewise his uncle the King of Denmark. Has given a copy of the treaty to the said king-at-arms, who will take it to the King of Scots.
The same week an officer of the King of Denmark came to England, to whom he had given another copy of the same treaty of alliance. Is sure that the King of Denmark will gladly accept the clause by which he is included. The treaty will be published in Flanders and England, as soon as the Kings of Scotland and of Denmark shall have consented to it. It will in future prevent a great number of robberies and murders.
Princess of Wales.
Begs them to write and say who will accompany the Princess of Wales when she sets sail, and at what port she will land. Southampton seems to be the best harbour for her. Wishes to be informed of their intentions twenty or twenty-five days before the Princess sets sail.
Beseeches them to assign very clearly to each of the ladies who are to come with the Princess, the place which she is to occupy.
Has heard from a servant of Don Pedro de Ayala that they have ordered him to go to Flanders ; but he has hitherto not only not obeyed their orders, but stays at the English Court more now than he ever did before. When he had no permission to do so, he went to Flanders, and now that he is bidden to go to Flanders he has the impudence to stay in England. Begs that strict orders be sent to Don Pedro de Ayala.—Westminster, 27th of December 1501. (fn. 1)
P.S.—Encloses a letter of King Henry to the Princess of Wales. The pestilence has entirely disappeared in England.
Addressed : "To the very high and very powerful Princes the King and Queen our Lords."
Spanish. pp. 15.


  • 1. The new year, according to the Spanish reckoning, began on the 25th of December. The 27th of December is, therefore, according to historical reckoning, the 27th of December 1500.