Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 12, 1554. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1949.

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'Preface', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 12, 1554, ed. Royall Tyler( London, 1949), British History Online [accessed 14 July 2024].

'Preface', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 12, 1554. Edited by Royall Tyler( London, 1949), British History Online, accessed July 14, 2024,

"Preface". Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 12, 1554. Ed. Royall Tyler(London, 1949), , British History Online. Web. 14 July 2024.


The material for the year 1554 has been divided into two volumes, the first of which closes at the celebration of the royal marriage, on July 25. Although the period has attracted much attention, and portions of the Imperial and Spanish records dealing with it have been published by Gachard, Weiss, Fernández Navarrete and others, three-fifths of the papers calendared here have not been printed before. Among these are some of the most significant.

The Brussels and Vienna archives, which between them contribute more than half of these documents, were originally one, as far as Charles V's reign is concerned. This collection remained at Brussels until the Austrians withdrew, during the wars of the French revolution, taking with them a hastily made choice but leaving much behind. Brussels and Vienna possess the original despatches sent to the Emperor by his ambassadors abroad, as well as drafts and minutes for his, and his ministers', instructions to them, the signed originals having usually been kept by the ambassadors. Not a few of these are preserved at Besançon among the Perrenot de Granvelle papers.

Simancas owns the original despatches addressed to Philip before he left Spain for England, and copies or translations of reports sent to Brussels or such portions of them as it was judged advisable that he should see, and also minutes or drafts for his own outgoing letters.

Finally, the Granvela collection in the Royal Palace Library at Madrid contains original letters, few in number but interesting and hitherto unknown, written by Don Juan Hurtado de Mendoza during a short stay he made in England in March 1554.

It will be remembered that the Emperor's resident ambassadors in England, and also in France when he was not at war with that country, were French-speaking. Most of them were Franc-Comtois, selected by their fellow-countryman, Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle, Bishop of Arras. (fn. 1) Envoys to the Pope and other Italian courts were Spaniards. Charles himself was brought up in French, mastered Spanish as a young man and acquired a good knowledge of Italian, but little or no German. Philip spoke no modern language but his native Spanish, and lived surrounded by Spaniards. He learned no English. Mary spoke French, and had some knowledge of Spanish and Italian. Philip had studied French, as a youth. He probably understood, more or less, although he could not speak it. He may have spoken Spanish to Mary, and she French to him.

The nobles and dignitaries whom Charles sent to England to add lustre to special embassies were, to start with, men from the lands of the Burgundian inheritance, and thus regarded as better able to understand the English. This was the case until Mary had pledged her word per verba de prœsenti, and the Act of Marriage had been passed by Parliament. Charles knew that it would not be easy to make Spaniards acceptable to the English. Mary herself advised Philip to bring his own physicians and cooks (p. 111) with him. Don Juan Hurtado de Mendoza, in his first letter from England, dated March 19 (p. 162), mentions that his visit had been accidental and tells the Bishop of Arras that he does not know whether his mistress, the Queen Dowager of Hungary (Charles' sister), will be pleased about it. He at once volunteers the advice that any courtiers brought by Philip from Spain should be meek and long-suffering individuals. On March 24, Mendoza reports to the Bishop of Arras (p. 134), with unconcealed pride, that he has got on very well with the English although, as he adds on March 29 (p. 178), they do not seem to realise that the Spanish match is more to their advantage than to that of the Emperor's subjects. Apart from Mendoza's brief visit, no official Spaniard reached England until May 10, when a magistrate (Alcalde) named Briviesca de Muñatones arrived, sent by Charles to act, after the marriage, as a Marshal at Court, with full judiciary powers. The first envoy from Philip to reach England was the Marquis de Las Navas, who landed on June 9. No more followed until Philip himself and his suite set foot on English soil, on July 20.

No Spaniard took any share in negotiating the match. (fn. 2) This was left to the Emperor's resident ambassador, Simon Renard, a Franc-Comtois, whose services in England at the time of Mary's accession are illustrated in the last volume of this Calendar. Renard's despatches to the Emperor and the Bishop of Arras and their instructions to him deal with many aspects of an extremely intricate position. He possessed Mary's confidence and was frequently consulted by her, in private, none of her English advisers being present.

Renard's good fortune earned him the jealousy of less successful colleagues. A certain Jehan Duboys, who had been employed by Jehan Scheyfve when ambassador in London, made statements in Brussels to the effect that Renard had accepted presents from the Marquis of Northampton and others to obtain pardons from the Queen (pp. 178–180). But Renard stood well with the Bishop of Arras, his gossip (compère et ami, p. 83). Arras not only cross-examined Duboys in person but saw to it that he should not be allowed to return to England, whither Ambassador de Courrières had planned to take him (p. 194), lest he cause Renard annoyance, and later prevented the two from meeting (p. 234). Duboys stuck to his allegations, but Renard's career does not seem to have suffered. The ambassador may well have been considered indispensable in England, at that juncture.

The Emperor was indeed determined to push the English alliance to a conclusion. The last volume of this Calendar shows to what a low ebb Charles' bodily and mental health had sunk before Mary's accession, (fn. 3) and how the new aims suggested by that event had revived him. He suffered from a severe attack of gout at the turn of the year (p. 2), but recovered towards the end of January (p. 37). By February 4 (p. 75), the Queen Dowager of Hungary was able to tell Philip that he was in good health, and he appears so to have continued during the months covered by this volume. Europe had heard so much about his breakdown and intention to abdicate that this recovery was not readily believed. In March, the Pope was still telling the Imperial ambassador that Philip ought to take over and allow his Majesty to rest (p. 163).

* * *

In the minds of those who planned the marriage, both on Charles' side and on Mary's, the aim was to associate England and the Burgundian lands in a personal union. As Philip was to inherit Spain as well as the Low Countries, this meant that, for a time, the crowns of Spain, the Burgundian patrimony and England would rest on one and the same head. But Philip's son Don Carlos was heir to Spain. The marriage-treaty (pp. 2–4) provided that the Italian possessions also were to go to him, and that children born of Philip and Mary were to have no claims in that direction unless Don Carlos and his line failed. The treaty in no way affected the English laws regulating the succession. It merely assigned the Burgundian lands to any issue with which the marriage might be blessed. England and Burgundy had been allies, of old. Charles the Bold of Burgundy had married the Lady Margaret, a sister of Edward IV, in 1468. A reference to this union was made in the contract for Philip's marriage to Mary, whose dower was to include the same contribution from the Low Countries as that provided for the Lady Margaret, nearly a century before.

The Emperor had agreed by the treaty of Crépy, in 1544, that Charles, Duke of Orleans, should receive the Burgundian lands by wedding the Emperor's daughter Joanna, or else the Duchy of Milan if he married Charles' niece, Mary, a daughter of Ferdinand, King of the Romans. But the Duke of Orleans died in 1545, unmarried, war had broken out again between the Emperor and France in 1551, and the Emperor had caused Philip to be recognised by the Low Countries as their future sovereign. Now, the match between Philip and Mary offered, for the future, a more promising alternative to the problem, which the Emperor had found well-night unmanageable, of holding Spain, Italy and the Low Countries in the same hands. Spain, relieved of the constant strain of keeping France out of the Low Countries, this task now devolving upon England, would be able to concentrate on bringing about a settlement in Italy, where the difficulties arising in the Duchy in Milan, in particular, caused Charles more anxiety than all his other dominions put together, as he complained in a letter to Philip, dated April 1 (pp. 181–185). This new constellation would present yet another advantage. Charles' brother and heir-designate to the Empire, Ferdinand, King of the Romans, and his sons, would no longer be tempted to push out intriguing feelers towards the Low Countries, (fn. 4) and might devote their attention to the Empire, the Austrian lands and the reconquest of Hungary. The Habsburg stool, in fact, instead of balancing precariously on two legs, figured by the Spanish and Austrian branches of the family, would be steadied by a third leg in the shape of England plus the Low Countries. (fn. 5) These considerations weighed more in Charles' mind than did any hope of leading England back into the Roman fold. Indeed, the Emperor and his resident ambassador strove to moderate the zeal shown by Mary's Chancellor, Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, in rushing measures against heresy through Parliament and forcing the pace towards the goal of Roman orthodoxy. An outline of the Imperial policy in this respect will be found below (pp. xxiv–xxviii).

Prizes as great as those the English marriage held out could not be won without overcoming obstacles, and of these the Emperor had a clear view from the beginning. Mary's own position had to be consolidated, so as to permit the passing of the Act of Marriage by Parliament: a delicate matter considering that her own Chancellor was known to be against a foreign match for her. Intrigues from abroad had to be forestalled. The French of course fought the plan, tooth and nail, and being at peace with England were able to use their ambassador in London to that end. Charles' own brother, the King of the Romans, had made a bid for Mary's hand for his younger son, the Archduke Ferdinand (p. 43). Pope Julius III had a debt of gratitude to Cardinal Pole, whose unwillingness to mount the apostolic throne had promoted his own elevation. Pole, believed not to approve of the match, and known to be in a great hurry in religious affairs, had to be prevented from coming to England as Legate until the marriage had taken place. The forward policy in England called for in the circumstances demanded impressive representation there, liberalities to influential Englishmen, the fitting out and upkeep of fleets strong enough to make it safe for Philip to attempt the voyage. These expenditures kept the Emperor in straits for funds, at a time when he had been at war with France for nearly three years, and his devoted sister Mary, Queen Dowager of Hungary, Regent of the Low Countries, felt in duty bound to repeat warnings she had often uttered before (fn. 6) and to tell Philip plainly that he must no longer allow himself to be deceived: unless help for the Low Countries was immediately forthcoming he would lose the Burgundian patrimony.

The path was indeed beset by dangers. Thanks to Mary I's own courage and constancy, they might all be vanquished to the point of bringing Philip to England and having the marriage celebrated. But then there arose the most disquieting question of all: would Philip display the necessary tact and understanding? Or would his bearing alienate the English, as it had the Flemings and Germans, and provoke a revolt which, with French support, might condemn the enterprise to failure, grievous and humiliating in proportion to the hopes that would thereby be shattered? The French estimated that “one-third of the kingdom (of England) was conspiring against the match” (p. 212).

This volume contains much evidence of the misgivings felt by Charles himself and his closest advisers as to how Philip would stand the test. The spirit in which Philip himself approached it is shown by a writing ad cautelam (p. 3), here printed for the first time, which he executed in the presence of the Duke of Alva and other witnesses before empowering the Emperor's ambassadors to swear on his behalf to a marriage treaty by which he undertook to observe the laws, privileges and customs of England. In this instrument ad cautelam, Philip protested “once, twice and thrice or as many times as it was necessary to make the act legal” that the provisions of the Treaty devised by the Emperor were contrary to his own will, wherefore the power he was about to give to bind him to their observance was nul and void, given only in order to encompass the marriage. The papers calendared in this volume do not prove that this document was known to Charles. No copy of it has been found in Brussels or Vienna, or anywhere else save at Simancas. Couriers were sometimes waylaid, ciphers broken. Philip's affidavit that he did not regard his oath as binding would have been a valuable present to those who wished to prevent the match; it was probably not entrusted to any messenger passing within reach of the French. However, Charles' letter to Philip, dated January 21 (p. 36), suggests that there was an understanding on the subject between them and Mary, who “assures us that in secret it shall be done according to your desire.” Charles adds that he trusts her word.

But the question as to how Philip squared matters with his own conscience did not detain Charles or his advisers. What they feared was that Philip and his suite would delay excessively in setting out, and once arrived would not behave tactfully. On January 6 (p. 8), Don Juan Manrique de Lara, the Emperor's ambassador in Rome, tells Philip how to bear himself in England: “For the love of God, appear to be pleased.” Renard was too obscure a person to use such free speech, but even he repeatedly urges the Prince to hurry. In terms varying with the writers' positions, advice is offered to Philip by Egmont (pp. 14–16, 38), Eraso (pp. 71, 109) and the Queen Dowager of Hungary (pp. 73–76), not to mention the numerous letters in which the Emperor himself presses him to make haste, not to land Spanish troops in England, and to avoid ruffling the English. Dismayed on hearing from Renard (pp. 176, 262) that several Spanish ladies are going to follow their husbands in Philip's suite, Charles writes to his son on April 9 (p. 214) that even soldiers would be more likely to win over the English, and begs him to comply with instructions. Most eloquent of all, is a postcript to a letter dated April 1 (p. 185), from the Emperor to the Duke of Alva, who was to accompany Philip to England. “Duke, for the love of God see to it that my son behaves in the right manner; for otherwise I tell you I would rather never have taken the matter in hand at all.” The Emperor's anxiety on this score was well founded. Philip, the moment he heard that his betrothal per verba de prœsenti had taken place, and before he even knew that Parliament had voted the marriage treaty, sent the Marquis de Las Navas to England with letters for several Privy Councillors, signed Philippus Rex (p. 249). Renard did not allow them to be delivered (p. 309).

In response to Renard's appeals, begging him to reach England in time to marry before Lent (pp. 18–19), Philip had deigned at first to reply (p. 104) that he would sail the moment ships were ready to carry him and his own household, with as few servants as possible, and without waiting for his suite, for when he arrived he meant “to accept the services of natives, to show them that I mean to trust myself to them.” But then comes a long blank. Precautions were taken not to frighten him by too vivid reports about Wyatt's rebellion, or Mary's shortage of money (p. 89). On occasion, Renard wrote one version to the Emperor and another, toned down, to Philip, on one and the same day (pp. 97–98). Caution bade Renard hedge, now and then (p. 173), even to Philip, and Arras kept a sharp eye on what he sent to Spain, lest it sound too alarming (p. 171). But Philip doubtless had other sources of information. Ships from England arrived at Spanish ports, and their crews told tales. As soon as the Emperor was assured that Wyatt had failed, he instructed Philip to start at once, and not to wait for Mary's ambassadors to reach Spain (p. 127). This despatch, sent on February 28, was received by Philip on March 17 quickly, for those days, but he appears not to have bestirred himself in consequence.

In spite of the Emperor's repeated letters, couched in courteous but pressing terms (pp. 149, 164, 174, 181, 214, 229), Philip did not write to his father between February 16 and May 11, except for one letter sent on March 30, which has not been found but can hardly have contained very important matter, as it was sent by an Englishman travelling overland (p. 244). These papers afford no evidence that he ever wrote to Mary, before their marriage, in spite of a broad hint dropped by her to Renard and reported in Renard's letter to Philip of 19 February (p. 121). There are circumstances in which silence is more eloquent than words. However, Parliament passed the Act of Marriage on April 12. Even Philip could not procrastinate much longer. On May 11 (p. 246), he wrote to his father that he could readily believe how glad the Emperor must be about the match, considering its importance for the service of Our Lord and the welfare of Christendom, and adds that he himself feels “a reasonable satisfaction.” Having thus acquitted himself, he leaves his secretary, Juan Vázquez de Molina, to keep Brussels informed of his movements. His sister, the recently widowed Princess of Portugal, appointed to act as Regent of Spain during his absence, being delayed on her journey to meet him by an indisposition, Philip planned to visit the forests of Segovia, El Pardo and Aranjuéz, to inspect the building in progress at Toledo (p. 256), and even to say goodbye to his grandmother, Queen Joan, known as “the Mad,” at Tordesillas (p. 262), before setting out for Corunna. We find no further letter from him to the Emperor until July 3, when he reports (p. 303) having met the English ambassadors at Santiago de Compostela and ratified the marriage articles, without one word of regret for the delays which had astonished his affianced bride, his father and all concerned. On that same day, July 3, Arras was writing to Renard (p. 304) that he was not surprised to hear of Mary's pain, “for we feel it (the delay) in precisely the same way here.” At last, on July 12, Philip went on board ship (p. 311). On July 19, a year to a day after Mary's proclamation as Queen, he arrived off Southampton, and on July 20 he landed (p. 319), accompanied by a galaxy of Spanish grandees with the Duke of Alva at their head. Characteristically, Philip had not included among them the Duke of Albuquerque, the one Spaniard whom Renard, in his despatches, had said the English would be glad to see (p. 205), as having a reputation for generosity.

* * *

Turning now to the scene in England at the beginning of 1554, we find the Emperor's ambassadors, Counts Egmont and Lalaing, MM. de Courrières, Nigri and Renard, negotiating with the Privy Council. On January 7 they reported to the Emperor that there were no serious differences. The English had asked for a bankers' guarantee to secure the Queen's dowry, “as your Majesty and his Highness are not convenable,” but the ambassadors talked them out of this demand (pp. 12–13). They advised the Emperor to yield on another point, namely the Privy Council's desire that the treaty should be ratified by the Estates of the Low Countries. On January 12, the articles were signed by the English commissioners and by the Emperor's (p. 22). It only remained to have them ratified by Charles, as well as by Philip and Mary. The Papal dispensations were on the way. Prospects looked favourable. Renard reported (p. 23) that if Philip came before Lent all would pass off smoothly. But a warning note is sounded in his letter of January 18: the French are intriguing. Peter Carew is defying the Council's summons. Several nobles and commoners have been arrested. The Italian merchants, and some of the City of London, are murmuring that the marriage would mean ruin for them (p. 31). By January 27, the storm had broken. Thomas Wyatt and other gentlemen had come out openly against the match, calling on all good Englishmen to help them fight the Spaniards, their real aim being to oppose the restoration of the old religion and put Elizabeth on the throne (p. 51).

Wyatt's brief success and speedy collapse are too well known to need description here. Things reached such a pitch that Egmont, Lalaing, Courrières and Nigri, after consulting the Queen and the Council, took ship for the continent, leaving Renard to fare in England as best he might. They landed at Flushing on February 3, sea-sick but otherwise none the worse. Two days later, on February 5, Renard wrote to Charles lauding the spirit Mary had shown when she spoke to the people of London at the Guildhall, and their generous response (p. 79). On February 8, he reported that Wyatt was a prisoner, the Queen's forces having lost only two men killed and three wounded: “an evident miracle” (p. 86).

However, the strain of these events had revealed a disquieting state of affairs in the Privy Council. When Wyatt reached Southwark, several of its members had gone to Mary, between two and three in the morning, and advised her to fly. The day before, Chancellor Gardiner had already urged her to withdraw to Windsor. Renard, whom the Queen at once sent for, told her that unless she wished to lose her kingdom she must stay in London as long as she had any forces left (p. 86). Gardiner's attitude revived in Renard misgivings he had felt on former occasions. Paget was clearly afraid of appearing to be on too good terms with the Emperor's ambassador (p. 54). There was an open split in the Council: Gardiner heading one faction, Arundel, Paget and Petre another. Renard knew not whom to trust. The easy victory over Wyatt had not disposed of all danger, reassuringly though the position might be described to Philip. Renard was obliged to consider whether the Queen's most influential enemies were not still at large, unmasked.

The ambassador may well have been torn between a desire to be the Emperor's sole representative in England at so important a juncture and fears of the consequences if things took an untoward turn while he remained alone responsible for advising Brussels. Egmont came back to London, but for a few weeks only. On March 8, he and Renard reported the Chancellor's and leading Privy Councillors' assurances that they now saw no obstacle to Philip's coming (p. 141). On March 6, ratifications of the marriage treaty had been exchanged between the Ambassadors and the Privy Council, in Mary's presence “in a room where the Holy Sacrament stood,” and promises per verba de prœsenti pronounced by Mary and Egmont (p. 142). Egmont left again on March 25 (p. 205). On April 2, Arras wrote breaking it to Renard that the Emperor, disregarding Renard's advice (p. 170), had decided to send over M. de Courrières once more, together with the Alcalde, Briviesca de Muñatones (pp. 193–195), and that Courrières would outrank Renard. Courrières had even intended to take Renard's stubborn traducer Duboys with him; but Arras had seen to that. Still, the news must have been unwelcome. Renard dared to suggest to the Emperor that he should reconsider sending Courrières, but in vain. As for Briviesca, Renard strongly advised against called him Alcalde in England, or sending with him anyone carrying a halbert (p. 205). Renard would no doubt have been easily consoled if these two distinguished envoys had fallen into the hands of the French, as they very nearly did in the Dover Channel (p. 244), the adventure giving Courrières such a fright that long afterwards he could not forget the Frenchmen's shouts of “Heave to, or we'll sink you!” he heard that day (p. 257). However, when Courrières and Briviesca arrived, the Act of Marriage had been passed (on April 12) by Parliament, an event for which Renard could claim undivided credit. After making their reverence to the Queen, they proceeded to Southampton to wait for Philip. Two full months were to elapse before the bridegroom landed, but at any rate Renard was delivered of their presence at court, nor was he plagued by the arrival of any more envoys extraordinary, in the meantime.

Thus, during these momentous months, the Emperor depended on Renard alone for the information and advice from England he needed in order to frame his policy. In despatch after despatch, several of which are here printed for the first time, the ambassador patiently analyses the position and gives the Emperor and Arras his own views. Mary herself is powerless. Gardiner manages everything (p. 151), and Renard trusted him not at all (p. 107). When urging Mary to leave London, which Renard was convinced it would be fatal for her to do, Gardiner had dwelt upon Courtenay's evil doings (p. 86), but now that Courtenay was a prisoner the Chancellor had placed him in the keeping of Sir Richard Southwell, who had been a prime mover in the plot to marry Courtenay to the Queen, and was “one of the most ignorant, corrupt and violent Englishmen alive” (p. 151). The treason trials were being so slackly conducted that Renard suspected they were deliberately drawn out in the hope that something might crop up to save the accused.

In the first flush of optimism after Wyatt's defeat and the execution of the Lady Jane and her husband (p. 97), it had been hoped in Brussels that the Lady Elizabeth and Courtenay would also be executed “if found guilty.” On March 19, Don Juan de Mendoza writes from London that it is considered Elizabeth must die: “as while she lives it will be very difficult to make the Prince's entry here safe” (p. 162). But, even in the hour of victory, Renard feared a new revolt. The English were saying “so much noble blood should not be shed for the sake of foreigners” (p. 96). The Privy Council refused even to commit Elizabeth to the Tower (p. 166). To make confusion worse confounded, Gardiner insisted that the Parliament convened to vote the Marriage Treaty should meet at Oxford. This alienated the Londoners (p. 151). Any pretext seemed to be good enough, in order to make Mary leave London. Further, although Mary had assured Renard (p. 107) that she did not intend to raise the question of re-establishing the Papal authority until a later session, Gardiner now intended to bring that highly unpopular matter up (p. 151) at the same time as the Act of Marriage. Many believed this also was being done with malicious intent, to anger the people.

Suspicious as Renard was of Gardiner, Courtenay's presence in England was such an anxiety that he did not dismiss out of hand a suggestion made by the Chancellor, before Wyatt's rebellion broke out, that Courtenay should be sent on a mission to receive the Emperor's ratification of the marriage articles (pp. 40–41). Charles, writing on January 31 and not yet informed of the rebellion, gave his approval to this plan (p. 62). When, in spite of Renard's warnings (pp. 125, 139), supported by the gift of a French translation of Thucydides to show the way to deal with rebels (p. 168), Mary missed the opportunity afforded by Wyatt's revolt to have Courtenay executed, and it became clear that he would not even be brought to trial (p. 252), nothing remained but to confine him in Fotheringhay Castle (p. 267).

The problem presented by the Lady Elizabeth was even more embarrassing. She ought of course to have been executed, as Renard never tires of repeating. But the laws of England were so unsatisfactory as not to permit this. She had powerful friends, such as the Lord Admiral of England (pp. 213, 221, 309). It seemed better to marry her off to some foreign Prince, unobjectionable from the Emperor's point of view, rather than run the risk of her contracting a dangerous alliance abroad with the Prince of Denmark (p. 41), or in England with Lord Arundel's son, for instance (p. 278). Her internment at Pomfret Castle (p. 261) was no guarantee of safety. Paget suggested the Duke of Savoy (p. 218), but the Emperor did not approve of him as a candidate (p. 233). Others mentioned Don Luis of Portugal (p. 218). Later, Renard reports that the Duke of Ferrara had sent an ambassador to England to propose a marriage with his eldest son, Alfonso d'Este (p. 276). Yet another idea for keeping Elizabeth out of mischief was entertained: the Emperor asked his sister to make a home for her, and the Queen Dowager of Hungary gave one more proof of her devotion by consenting, although “it is quite possible that our characters may be different.” In thanking his sister, Charles says he will have the matter discussed with Philip on his arrival in England, adding: “If it is done at all, she (Elizabeth) must be well watched on the way, to prevent her from escaping to France, the worst thing that could possibly happen. . . Once here she will give us no little trouble. . .”

Renard feared yet another complication. Cardinal Pole, Mary's childhood friend and son of Margaret, Countess of Salisbury, who carried her to the baptismal font, had a legatine commission for England from the Pope; and Pole was dangerous. Not as a rival suitor, although that possibility had also been discussed, (fn. 7) Pole not yet having been ordained a priest. But he was believed to favour Courtenay (pp. 31, 82, 152), or even to be aiming at the crown for himself (p. 222). Early in January two English lawyers had been put up to induce the Queen to call a Parliament before Lent to consider a vital point: if she married Philip, said they, he would become King under English law (i.e. unless Parliament provided otherwise) and she would lose her own title to the crown (p. 15). Renard at once scented a plot to bring Pole over, or otherwise upset the match. A few days later, he wrote (p. 32) that Antonio Bonvisi, a friend of Pole's living in England, was saying that the Pope was now for the French and would withhold the dispensations. In that event, Renard hints to the Emperor, it might be well to sober his Holiness by threatening him with reform of the Church.

On the surface, at least, the Pope's aim in sending Pole abroad was unobjectionable, indeed praiseworthy: to enlist Mary's support in an attempt to end the war that had been going on since September 1551 between the Emperor and the King of France. On arrival at Brussels, Pole appeared to realise that it would be inopportune for him to proceed to England, for the moment, and that he had better devote himself to promoting peace (p. 62). It was explained over and over again to Pole (p. 129) that the Emperor, having been attacked, did not consider himself obliged to make peace overtures. In response to the Pope's appeal, he had stated his terms. The French should speak next. Pole at length departed for the French Court, where he arrived about the middle of March. He was kept waiting a long time for audience. By April 24, he was back at Brussels, with nothing in hand. In the meantime, Renard had reported that Pole certainly had cognisance of Wyatt's plans before the rebellion broke out, and knew that its object was to favour Pole's kinsman, Courtenay (p. 152). Arras writes to Don Juan Manrique de Lara, ambassador in Rome, an account (pp. 225–227) of the remarks the Emperor addressed to Pole, blaming the Legate heavily for two blunders. The first was to have visited Brussels before going to France, thereby implying that the Emperor was the obstacle to peace. The second and even graver blunder was to have returned to Brussels from Paris. The French would seize upon this as further proof that it was Charles' fault if negotiations did not ensue.

Pole, according to Arras, admitted he had blundered. The Bishop adds that the Right Reverend Legate may be a virtuous prelate, “but is not good at negotiating.” Indeed, after his painful audience of the Emperor, Pole had sent the Nuncio back to Arras with a memorandum from the French, containing their observations on the peace-terms Charles had outlined, and which the Legate had previously forgotten. Arras adds drily that the paper was impudent, and Pole would have done better to keep it to himself. It may be read between the lines of Arras's letter that it was hoped the Pope would recall Pole, instead of allowing him to stay in Brussels “on account of English affairs, of which he has even less understanding than of those he has recently been engaged upon.”

This mishap did not prevent Pole from trying again. On June 9, Renard reports to the Emperor that Mary told him of a message she had received from the Legate, through his agent at her court, urging her to move the Emperor to appoint peace-commissioners ( p. 272). Renard's observations in reply were not encouraging. Again, on July 9, the ambassador writes that Pole has sent two of his servants, once more advising Mary to intervene; but he believes the Queen will take no steps without being informed of his Majesty's wishes.

* * *

In presence of a Privy Council divided by faction, a public opinion hostile to Spain and the Papal authority, and intrigues woven by the Emperor's numerous enemies and rivals abroad, Renard felt that handsome gifts to leading persons would be the one hope of winning friends in England. But he was short of funds, himself, (fn. 8) and also had to report that Mary was sorely embarrassed. On January 13 (p. 26), the ambassador tells the Emperor that he has no money, for what would now be called Intelligence, and has been obliged to make advances out of his own pocket. He was assured that a remittance was on the way to him (pp. 28, 47), but on February 7, Arras wrote that the courier had turned back because of the Kentish rising (pp. 82–83). No fresh provision seems to have reached Renard until Egmont (p. 116) returned to London on March 2. Just at this time, when merchants with good credit could borrow in Spain at 7 per cent. or 8 per cent., the Emperor had to pay 12 per cent. or 13 per cent. (p. 54).

The ambassadors had strongly recommended that suitable rewards should be given to the Lord Admiral (Lord William Howard), as well as the Chancellor, Paget, the Controller and others (p. 14), and reported soon afterwards that although the Council was greatly addicted to his Majesty's service, and “well deserves recognition,” (pp. 22, 30) it would be better to give nothing at all than not enough. The Emperor considered it prudent to seek Mary's advice before actually making presents to her great officers of state (p. 48): pensions, he thought, rather than lump sums, “which are often forgotten as time goes by” (p. 116). Also, the Emperor desired Philip to pay these pensions out of Spanish funds (p. 149), whilst the ministers in Spain were “in the greatest anxiety because the Treasury is so depleted” (p. 147). Egmont, on his return to England, offered the Lord Admiral a pension from Philip, and Lord William accepted, with Mary's permission (p. 141). He had to wait for the money. Chains and cash to a total value of 5000 crowns were at once handed out to less important persons (p. 158) but the Emperor thought it preferable that the pensions and larger gifts should be distributed by Philip on his arrival, who might thus “win affection” (p. 161): a course the dangers of which were explained by Renard (p. 169), the Emperor merely replying that the Chancellor and the rest might be told that it was quite decided to grant the pensions (p. 189). Renard is not satisfied. These rewards, he writes late in April, “would have been of the greatest use in winning over the nobles” (p. 225), at a juncture when the outlook in England seemed blacker than ever (p. 238). The King of France was bribing Privy Councillors (p. 166), and had granted pensions of 100 to 500 crowns each to English refugees (p. 250). Those promised on the Emperor's behalf to great nobles like the Earls of Pembroke, Arundel, Derby and Shrewsbury did not amount to more than 2000 crowns (English) per caput, and the scale fell off sharply with the importance of the persons concerned (p. 315). Gardiner himself was to have a pension or benefice, unspecified, and Paget to be recompensed in some way which it appears to have been judged preferable not to mention in a despatch (p. 316).

Mary's own financial difficulties (fn. 9) were not taken tragically at Brussels. On January 31, Charles writes to Renard (p. 61) that they come at a most inopportune moment, as his own exchequer has been exhausted by the war. The only comfort he has to offer is that the ships he is fitting out will decrease the danger of French raids on the English coast. The ambassadors in London reported on February 3, when all of them but Renard were about to run away from Wyatt, that the Queen and her Council would be exceedingly grateful for a loan of 200,000 crowns (p. 70). On February 17, Renard says that even 100,000 crowns would be a great help (p. 106). But by that time the Emperor knew of Wyatt's defeat. On February 18, he refers to the request for 200,000 crowns, adding that as things have now taken a turn for the better, Mary will be able to collect her revenue or borrow on it (p. 114).

Charles' view seems to have been unduly optimistic, for on March 15 Renard wrote again that the Queen begged the Emperor to remember her. She needed 100,000 crowns, to be repaid as soon as possible. On April 2, the Emperor informed Renard that he might tell the Queen of the efforts made to find accommodation for her at Antwerp (p. 189). But on the same day, Arras instructed him not to key her hopes too high; “for to tell you the truth, the Queen Dowager has informed me that she sees very little likelihood of being able to raise the sum” (p. 195). Paget thought it would have been better to ask for more. He held out hopes that if the Queen could borrow 200,000 or 300,000 crowns in Spain, she would help the Emperor against the French (pp. 204, 205). On April 22, Renard tells the Emperor “she has not a single crown in hand, and no one to raise funds for her” (p. 225). A few days later, she appears to have had an offer; but she cannot export the money from Spain without a licence (p. 228). She hoped to find 500,000 ducats (p. 269). At last, on July 3, Philip writes to his father from Corunna that he has felt obliged, “for the Queen's sake,” to grant her a permit for not more than 200,000 ducats, which merchants had agreed to lend her (p. 304). There is no trace in these papers of any direct financial assistance tendered her by Charles or Philip, in spite of her distressed circumstances and special claims, at a time when her own Privy Councillors were receiving presents to a total many times the loan she asked for, and the ambassadors sent over to negotiate the marriage were provided with 100 ducats each per diem for subsistence and 10,000 ducats for gaming, over and above their salaries and other expenses (p. 36).

* * *

In shaping his course as regards the match, the Emperor had to allow for a nervousness which Renard continued to display after Wyatt's collapse, and even after Parliament had voted the Act of Marriage. He may have found it difficult to discern when the ambassador's fears were prompted by a desire to play safe for himself or to emphasise his own merits by painting the picture black, and when by objective judgment. On March 14, Renard sends an inconclusive but very somber analysis (pp. 150–155) which instead of shaking Charles' determination to make Philip proceed, caused him to instruct Arras to make sure that Renard's reports to Spain (e.g. p. 173) were corrected by appropriate explanations, lest the Prince delay still further (pp. 170–171).

The one person in England of whose loyalty Renard never expressed a doubt was Mary herself. But she was weak. Her soft-heartedness in pardoning prisoners whom the ambassador would have preferred to see put out of the way caused him to depict the dangers to which Philip would be exposed in England in a manner that drew tears from the Queen (p. 175). Charles remained unmoved. He realised, as he wrote to Renard on April 2 (p. 186), that the ambassador felt a good subject's anxiety for the safety of Philip's person ; but things had now reached a point where there could be no turning back. “ Unless something crops up to give certain evidence of graver disorders, we are decided that our son shall come ” (pp. 186–187). Arras' informal letter written on the same day (p. 193) must have dispelled any incertainty lingering in Renard's mind. There was nothing for it but to make the best of an obscure and menacing position : try to close the breach in the Privy Council by reconciling Gardiner and Paget; avoid making the English jealous ; and, once again, beware of scaring Philip.

Renard's fears for the immediate future were not borne out. Gardiner dropped his plan for holding Parliament at Oxford (p. 151). The session opened in London on April 6 (p. 213) ; on April 12, the Act of Marriage was passed without opposition (p. 215). A special messenger was sent to inform Philip that all was now well (p. 216). Not many days had passed, however, before Renard was again reporting that the split in the Council threatened to lead to civil war (p. 220), and leaving it to the Emperor to judge “ whether his Highness had better come or not” (p. 225). On April 27, he reflects a new ray of hope: Gardiner and Paget seem to be half-reconciled (p. 228). On May 5, Parliament was prorogued until the autumn, and precautions had been taken for preventing trouble from breaking out in London or the provinces after the Queen's departure to meet the Prince (p. 240). But the ambassador is still anxious. When Paget, who had recently written Renard a note telling him that affairs were going all awry by Gardiner's fault (p. 229), begged the Queen's pardon for opposing bills on religion, Gardiner suspected a manœuvre ; and Renard also feared a plot with the French (p. 252), all the more so that Paget, at the very moment when M. de Courrières returned to England, accompanied by Alcade Briviesca, asked for leave to absent himself from court (p. 258). The Earl of Arundel was also behaving strangely. Gardiner advised the Queen to throw both him and Paget into the Tower (p. 261).

At this juncture, Mary was persuaded by the Councillors in whom she felt confidence to leave London for Richmond, whither she removed on May 29, taking with her the heads of the anti-Gardiner faction, to keep them out of mischief. Renard also followed the Court, Courrières and Briviesca going to Southampton, where it was expected Philip would soon arrive (p. 266). Paget's conduct continued to disturb Renard. He had recently tried to sell land, perhaps in order to have ready cash “ in case his undertaking fails.” He is conducting a secret correspondence with Sir John Mason, English Ambassador at Brussels, another suspect. The Emperor would do well to have these letters intercepted (pp. 276, 281). Such apprehensions exercised Renard's mind during the long wait. On June 16, the Queen proceeded to Guildford, there to receive Philip's envoy, the Marquis de Las Navas. Thence she went on to Farnham, and then to Bishops Waltham, “ because provisions are giving out ” (p. 309).

In order to make the Channel safe against Philip's arrival, a fleet commanded by M. de La Capelle, Vice-Admiral of Flanders, had been at sea since early April (p. 235), with provisions for two months. Capelle, a series of whose letters, hitherto unpublished, will be found here, had been instructed to act in liaison with the Lord Admiral of England (Lord William Howard). But he suspected Lord William of intriguing with the French or of other evil designs where Philip was concerned, and found that the only way to carry out his instructions, while avoiding unpleasant incidents, was not to let his men go ashore, or to put into port (p. 271) himself, except when obliged to take in stores for yet a third month “ and a few days over ” (p. 277). He writes on June 21 that the English Admiral owned to having lost 60 runaways from his own ship and over 300 from his fleet, the crews being undisciplined (p. 284), indeed mutinous (p. 294). Lord William, on his side, had a poor opinion of both Renard and Capelle (p. 285).

Paget's behaviour did not cease to be disquieting. Renard writes on June 20 from Guildford that the Queen would have him committed to the Tower, did she not fear to cause a, commotion in the country just when Philip was expected (p. 281). She regretted that the Emperor's scruples forbade him to intercept correspondence passing between Paget and Mason, for if some of these letters could be secured she would know where she stood (p. 289). Charles' qualms may have been reinforced by the knowledge that the wily Paget did not put his letters for Mason into the diplomatic pouch, but entrusted them to other persons (p. 289). Renard's informants tell him that the malcontents plan to wait until Philip has landed, and then pick a quarrel with the Spaniards, wherefore “ the great difficulty will be to make his Highness's following behave with prudence and discretion,” of which, judging from the way they talked in Spain, Renard thought them incapable (p. 291).

Choosing this critical moment, the French raided the Ardennes and took Marieribourg. The Emperor at once (June 26) informed Renard “ in order that the French may not exaggerate the importance of their success ” (p. 288), and sent word to Philip to join him in Brussels as soon as the marriage had been celebrated and six or eight days had been spent with the Queen in England (p. 293). The Ambassador replied on July 2 that the London heretics said the Emperor had had to flee from Brussels. On hearing of the fall of Marienbourg, Mary had retired to her devotions, and next day took the Sacrament (p. 300). There were also news that the pest had broken out in the fleet waiting to carry Philip to England, and supplies were exhausted at Corunna. The gloom cast by these tidings cannot have been dissipated when Renard received a letter from Arras to the effect that the officer in command at Marienbourg had handed over the fortress, treasonably (p. 305). Mason was writing as if the whole of the Low Countries had been lost. The Emperor's affairs had apparently come to a desperate pass (p. 306). “ An astonishing amount of intrigue ” was going on (July 9), Paget being author and adviser of conspiracies, and he and Arundel bribing as many as they could of the Queen's faithful servants (p. 308). The Lord Admiral was with them (p. 309). Renard must have heaved a sigh of relief when at last, on July 19, he learned that Philip's ship was off Southampton (p. 314), and everything proceeded smoothly from then onwards to the marriage, which was celebrated at Winchester on July 25 (p. 319).

* * *

It remains to outline the religious question in England, as it appeared in the eyes of Charles V and his advisers, on the eve of Mary's marriage.

From the outset, Brussels had feared excess of zeal. The last volume of this Calendar (fn. 10) shows Renard patiently warning the Queen not to force the pace on the road back to Rome, particularly while it remained to be seen what reception the English were going to give Philip. In order fully to appreciate the Emperor's reasons for caution in this matter, it may be remembered that Charles viewed it in the general European setting. The accession of a catholic Queen in England was in itself an auspicious event, and opened flattering vistas. But the very magnitude of the occurence might give rise to danger. In any case, a precarious balance of forces in Western Christendom, for and against the Reformation, was now upset, and the subsequent regrouping had to be followed with the closest attention. To win England for the Habsburg system was an inspiring aim, which had given Charles new life after the break-down he had suffered during the winter of 1552/3. But such a menace could not be levelled at France without provoking a violent reaction. Charles knew that the alliance between England and the Low Countries would endure only if Philip and Mary had an heir and if, in the meantime, the English could be induced to suffer Philip and his Spaniards. An armed clash between Catholics and Protestants before Philip's arrival, or afterwards during his period of probation, might spell failure for the Habsburgs' attempt to subject all Europe to an Empire-Papacy dualism, revived from an earlier age. It was therefore of prime importance not to alarm the Protestants unnecessarily : not to drive them to some act of despair, fraught with far-reaching and disastrous consequences. Here lies the key to Charles' religious policy at this juncture.

The Emperor could not expect the Pope to see the problem in this light. Papal policy had evolved a method which depended for its success on a balance of power between the Empire and France. The enormous advantage accruing to Charles through the Burgundian and Spanish inheritances and the wealth of the Indies had already driven the French to seek support from the Protestant Princes in Germany and indeed from the Turk. If England were now committed to the Habsburg alliance, either Charles might become all-powerful, even to the extent of forcing reform upon the Church, or France might turn Protestant (p. 173) in a last-hour attempt to turn back the Habsburg tide. Caught between these contending forces, Pope Julius III, whose policy in the first years of his pontificate (he was elected in 1550) had caused him to be regarded as pro-Habsburg rather than pro-French, was now attempting to show Henry II that France would have more to lose than to gain by a breach with Rome. As long as Mary remained on the throne, England would be safe for Catholicism. The Spanish match was not necessary to that end. The Church's future there could not be staked on the slender hope that Mary, already 37 years old, would have issue. Taking a long view, it would be better to ensure the succession in a manner that would not prejudice the Catholic cause by associating it with the presence and overweening aims of a Spanish King, representing a nation odious above all others to the English. Hence the Pope's persistent attempts to send Cardinal Pole to England, Pole's interest in Courtenay, and also the Emperor's determination not to allow Pole to land until the match was an accomplished fact.

The Imperial ambassador in Rome, Don Juan Manrique de Lara, knew from Charles' instructions that his master was under no illusions where the Pope was concerned. Indeed, Don Juan seems to have felt bound to plead Julius' cause. “ Your Majesty may make sure of obtaining anything you or the Prince may need,” he wrote on New Year's day, 1554, “ for I have never seen anything so obvious as his (i.e. the Pope's) goodwill . . . He verily believes that God is reserving the Prince to make him the greatest Prince in the world.” He adds, in the same letter, that if Pole could proceed as far as Brussels, if not indeed to England, the Pope would regard it as a great favour (p. 2). On January 11, he reports again ; Pole has been instructed to treat English affairs as the Emperor might dictate. But his Holiness would like to see Pole, if the Emperor approved, make peace with France “ by means of the Queen of England ” (p. 21).

As we have seen , the Emperor resented Pole's behaviour on his visit to France (p. 129), and the Pope's choice of him as Legate. Don Juan Manrique's despatch of March 20 reporting the Pope's protestations that, if he could help in the English matter by shedding his own blood, he would gladly do so (p. 163) does not seem to have impressed Charles. On April 7, the Emperor wrote to his ambassador in crude terms. His indignation was such, he says in this hitherto unpublished letter, that he had considered instructing Don Juan to tell his Holiness that he had “ the gravest reasons for complaining of his proceedings, his remissness in public affairs and indifference towards our interests . . . We . . . realise that he is incapable of refraining from trafficking with the French . . . and is not at all well disposed towards us.” The letter ends “ . . the Pope's ill health, the prospects of a vacancy in the Holy See brought into view by his age and disorderly manner of living . . . Although the attitude adopted by our enemies seems to lay upon us the duty of trying to influence the election . . . our experience has shown us how little it avails to help anyone, and what ingratitude the successful candidate invariably shows towards his greatest benefactor . . . such further orders as you may expect are merely . . . to endeavour to bring about the choice of a pope who will serve the interests of the Church and religion, and prevent that of a bad man ” (pp. 208–210).

His ambassador's reports from England could only confirm Charles' suspicions of the Pope's motives, and heighten his sense of the dangers to which Gardiner's haste in religious matters exposed the English undertaking. Renard had already warned Arras, in January, that those who were trying to bring Pole over to England really wished to upset the match (p. 16). Prophecies that the Pope would withhold the dispensations rendered necessary by the degree of consanguinity between Philip and Mary (p. 31) did not come true. But Gardiner's attitude was still a sore problem. According to him, God willed the conclusion of the marriage in order that religion might be restored (p. 41). The Emperor, on the other hand, feared that the precipitate restoration of religion might thwart the marriage. Firmness in dealing with rebels was required (p. 48), but the Chancellor's zeal must be bridled ; the ground already gained must be consolidated before attempting further progress (p. 187). Charles had heard from Renard about the King of France's reported intention to adopt English protestantism (p. 132), about arrows shot at priests hearing confessions (p. 144), about failure in London to punish a woman who, concealed in a wall and pretending to be an angel, had remained silent at the words “God save Queen Mary ! ”, had responded “ So be it ” to “ God save the Lady Elizabeth ! ” and proclaimed that the mass was idolatry (pp. 154–155,172). Renard was asserting that there would be opposition rather on the score of religion than on that of the match itself (p. 202). Well might the Emperor instruct Briviesca de Muñatones to keep an eye on any Spanish theologians his son might bring (p. 192). In the midst of all this, Gardiner already wanted to burn three protestant bishops, unless they recanted (p. 152), to force Parliament to recognise the Pope's authority, and to set up a form of Inquisition (p. 216).

Renard was instructed by the Emperor not to cease enjoining moderation in religious affairs on Mary (p. 187); and he reported that she now realised its importance (p. 227). But the Catholics had “ dinned it into her ears ” that Paget was a Protestant (p. 167) until she took a dislike to him and Petre (p. 220). By moving the Lords to throw out a bill aimed against heretics, Paget had given Gardiner an argument to which, in Mary's mind, there was no answer. Renard could hardly believe Paget “ capable of changing sides now or of working against the marriage, which he has laboured so diligently to bring about, However, if he saw the Queen was angry with him, he might change out of spite in order to cross the designs of the Chancellor, who never consults him about Parliament ” (p. 230).

When Sir John Mason replaced the Bishop of Norwich (Dr. Thirlby) as Mary's ambassador at Brussels, the Emperor hoped that Thirlby “ being himself a moderate man,” would be able on his return home to reconcile Gardiner and Paget, and persuade Gardiner to feel his way in religious affairs (p. 233). But by the time Parliament rose, the breach had become unbridgeable (p. 239). Renard seems to have felt obliged to accept Gardiner's view of Paget, though not without embarrassment. When Gardiner produced a genealogical tree showing Philip's descent from John of Gaunt, Paget countered with the remark that the Chancellor had done this “ in order to give his Highness a right to the throne ” (p. 242). Dr. Thirlby, Renard reports, soon came to the conclusion that Paget was to blame, and said that if King Henry were alive he would not escape punishment (p. 259). For all that, Renard recognises that the main cause of the trouble had been the debate on religion in Parliament (p. 262). Gardiner had done much harm by trying to push anti-heresy bills through in a session the real business of which was to vote the Marriage Act.

Thirlby may perhaps, in exchange for his censure of Paget, have succeeded in inducing Gardiner to refrain from further initiatives pending Philip's arrival in England. Certain it is that after Thirlby's return to London, Renard stops complaining of the Chancellor on that score or that he is working under-ground against the match. Philip was now undoubtedly coming. In expectation of his advent, a hush falls over a scene which, up to that point, had resounded with strife.

Royall Tyler.


  • 1. For detailed information on the Emperor's foreign service, his chancellery and records, see pp. 29–41 of Vol. II, Quellen und Erôterungen, of Kaiser Karl V by Karl Brandi [F. Bruckmann Verlag, Munich, 1941]. This entire Vol. II, of 478 pages, consists of a critical bibliography for Charles V. Professor Brandi lists [p. 30] the Spanish Calendars [Rolls Series] down to and including the volume for the years 1544—1546, but none of the later volumes: i.e. neither that for 1547—1549 [published in 1912], nor that for 1550—1552 [published in 1914]. nor yet that for 1553 [published in 1916]. Professor Brandi's Vol. I was published in 1937.
  • 2. C.f. Volume XI of this Calendar, p. 384.
  • 3. See Volume XI of this Calendar, pp. 222–225.
  • 4. See Volume XI of this Calendar pp. 163–165.
  • 5. See Volume XI of this Calendar, pp. 387–389.
  • 6. See Volume XI of this Calendar, pp. 24–25 et passim.
  • 7. See Volume XI of this Calendar pp. 192, 201–202, 207, 238, 244.
  • 8. See also Volume XI of this Calendar, p. 24.
  • 9. See Volume XI of this Calendar pp. 335, 373.
  • 10. See Volume XI of this Calendar pp. 117–119, 122, 134–136, 169–172, 298.