Spain: January 1536, 21-31

Pages 11-29

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 5 Part 2, 1536-1538. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1888.

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January 1536, 21-31

21 Jan. 9. Eustace Chapuys to the Emperor.
Rep. P.C.,
Fasc. 236, No. 3.
From Flanders, where the Queen Recent still keeps him, my secretary (fn. n1) has forwarded to me Your Majesty's letter of the 13th December last, which letter, as it refers to verbal instructions which my said secretary is to bring therefrom, I shall for the present delay to answer until his return. Meanwhile, I cannot but express my humble and most dutiful thanks for the singular kindness and regard with which Your Majesty has been pleased to signify that at the first distribution of ecclesiastical benefices I shall not be forgotten. This promise I hold as a most kind and considerate reward for the few services I may have rendered in this country to God and to Your Majesty since the time I came here; and I do not hesitate to say that, had I not entertained strong hopes of such a remuneration, I should scarcely have had the courage to apply for it.
Nor can I omit to say that the undertaking mentioned in the said letter of the 13th Dec. is becoming daily less practicable and more difficult, especially since the death of the good queen Katharine, for there have been no levees since, and greater vigilance is being exercised [over the Princess]. I shall, however, be on the look-out, and see what can be done in that way whilst waiting for the arrival of my said secretary, which must take place shortly.
Your Majesty's letter of the 29th has likewise come to hand, as well as the singularly wise and prudent considerations therein contained on the perplexing condition of the late good Queen and Princess' affairs, which considerations and remarks I myself did not fail to represent to the two ladies themselves, mother and daughter, whenever there was an opportunity, though, I must own, by no means so distinctly and cleverly expressed as in Your Majesty's letter to me.
Among other representations I made to them both, one was that I doubted much whether they would not have to consent in the end, and, take any oaths this King might wish to impose on them; since, besides the many inconveniences pointed out in Your Majesty's letter as likely to result from their holding out, innumerable people in this country might lose courage for resistance, and join at once in the new heresies against the Apostolic See. The danger lay not so much in the King's proceeding legally to punish what he considered their pertinacious disobedience to his commands, as in his obtaining his object under colour of perfect reconciliation and by good treatment. I feared not (I said) the King himself; I feared the concubine, who had often sworn to take away their lives, and who will never rest until she has accomplished her object, believing, as she did, and does still, that, owing to this King's capricious humour and temper, her position will not be secure as long as the two ladies, mother and daughter, live. She would then have better opportunities than before of executing her damnable purpose, by having poison of some sort administered to them, as, owing to the King's apparent reconciliation, there would be less suspicion, and consequently less vigilance. Indeed had the two ladies yielded to the King's wishes by renouncing their respective rights, and therefore experienced more favourable treatment at his hands, there would no longer exist any cause for fearing them, and consequently there could be no suspicion of foul play on the part of their sworn enemy.
The King, therefore, and the concubine, impatient at the delay, and perceiving that legal proceedings were being taken at Rome, knowing also that should Your Majesty go thither the cause would certainly be hastened on, and a more rigorous sentence pronounced, had already decided, as it appears from what I shall say hereafter, to put an end at once to the good Queen's pleading. It was more convenient, the King and his concubine thought, that the mother should die before the daughter for many reasons, one being that, among others, she was the principal party in the suit at Rome; there was also less hope of making her yield to them, since, owing to her age and other circumstances, they must have felt that the mother would hold more firmly to her determination than the Princess, her daughter; to which may he added that the Queen, not being naturally subject to English law, they could not legally compel her as they might the daughter. There was, besides, another very potent reason for this King and his concubine wishing that the mother should die before the daughter, namely, their cupidity and insatiable lust of money, as in the event of the Queen dying before the daughter they would not be obliged to return her dowry.
Now that the good Queen is dead, they are trying in various ways to catch the Princess in, their net, and make her subscribe to their damnable statutes and detestable opinions; so much so that the other day Cromwell, in conversation with one of my men, was not ashamed to say that there was no reason to mourn so much at the death of the Queen, which after all must be considered as most advantageous for the preservation of the friendship between Your Majesty and the King, his master, since in future he and I might communicate and talk more frankly on the subject; that it only remained for us now to induce the Princess to accede to the King's will and wishes; which end he (Cromwell) was sure that I could, if I chose, promote move efficiently than any other living man; and that it was necessary that I should do my best for the accomplishment of that object, as, besides the pleasure I might give the King by doing so, the Princess herself would be greatly benefited through it, since by submitting to the King's will she would be much better treated than ever she had been.
A, bait of this sort has already been thrown out, for, according to a message received from the Princess, the concubine has lately sent her word through her own aunt, under whose keeping she still is, as I have informed Your Majesty, that should she consent to wave her obstinacy, and be obedient, like a dutiful daughter, to her father's commands, she (the concubine) would at once become her warmest friend, and a second mother to her, and that, if she wished to go to Court, she should be exempted from being her train-bearer, and might walk by her side. And I aim also told that the governess is continually begging and entreating her in the warmest possible terms to reconsider these offers. Nevertheless, the Princess' answer has always been that no daughter in the world would be move obedient to her father's wishes and commands than she herself is prepared to be, provided her honor and conscience are safeguarded.
According to another message received from the Princess, the King says that he will shortly send to her certain of his Privy Councillors for the purpose of summoning her to swear to the statutes; and she asks me how she is to answer the summons in case of its being made, which is most likely. My answer in writing has been that, in my opinion, she ought to show greater firmness and determination now than ever, more courage and persistence, coupled with the requisite modesty; for if these people once believe her to be the least shaken in her purpose, they are sure to go on persecuting her to the end without leaving her a moment's peace. I fancied (said I to her) that they would not now insist upon her renouncing openly her rights, nor directly disowning the Popes authority in Church matters; they, most likely, would press her to swear to the concubine as Queen, alleging that her own mother being dead, there could be no excuse now for opposition on that head. I have, therefore, written to her to avoid as much as possible entering into conversation or dispute with the Kings deputies, if they should go to her, to request them to leave her in peace, praying God for the soul of her deceased mother, as well as imploring His help in her present situation, she being a poor orphan without experience, aid, or counsel. She was to tell the deputies that she herself knew nothing of civil or canon law, and was unable to answer and meet their arguments, and therefore begged and entreated them to intercede with the King, her father, to have pity on her ignorance or incapacity. If, moreover, she chose to go on with, her excuses, she might add that, considering it was not the custom here, in England, to impose oaths upon queensthat ceremony not having taken place when her mother was married to the King, her fathershe could not help thinking that the whole of this had been planned to do her injury. That were she to become in future a queen, her present renunciation of her rights would he invalid; she would inherit the Crown all the same. One thing she recollected, which was that in the consistorial sentence respecting her father s marriage, it was fully stated that whilst his first marriage was declared good, valid, and legitimate, his second was pronounced null and void, it being expressly stated, that lady Anne could never assume the title of queen. Lastly, it seemed to her as if she could not conscientiously contravene the Pope's commands, for were she to do so, and derogate from other articles in the sentence, she would evidently impair her own rights.
I have likewise written to the Princess that, if she thought it advisable, she might say to her governess that it was time lost to press such affairs on her at the present juncture, for she would rather lose ten lives, if she had them, than submit and consent to what they wanted of her, without being better informed, thereupon. She might add, that in order to enlighten and instruct her on the subject, people abroad could be foundfor those in England she thoroughly mistrustedto impart the requisite information and doctrine on such delicate points; and that should the King, her father, grant her a respite until she was of age, which was not now far off, perhaps God would inspire her with the wish of entering into a religious house and devoting herself entirely to Him, in which case she thought her conscience would be completely safe-guarded. Should the King grant this respite, she might perhaps acquire more solid information on the subject than she now possesses. The delay asked for could in nowise prejudice the King's interests, but would, on the contrary, be beneficial to him, for were she now to accede and consent to what is wanted of her, the act, when she was of age, would still be more valid and efficient. This much I wrote to the Princess, not in a resolute manner and by way of advice, but merely for the sake of argument, to be used if convenient. I shall consider the matter over and over again, and look out for other means of parrying the impending blow, or at least averting it for some time. If, however, the King and his concubine have decided to make her swallow poison, neither the tender of the oath itself, nor any other thing we might think of, would be of any use (fn. n1)
"Je penserar plus largement dessus a autres moyens possibles pour differer la matiere en cas d'estremite; mais silz ont delibcre luy donner a manger [du poison] ne prester le sacrement, ne autre chose que lon sçaist (sçut?) inventer yçi, y serviroit bien peu."
At the Princess pressing request—for she has written to me twice in the warmest possible terms, and also sent several messages; the last of which came this morningI have applied for leave to visit her. The King has sent me word by Cromwell that as soon as she is removed from her present abode, which will be shortly, the King will be glad to grant the permission applied for. I do not know, however, what to think of this, for the same promise was made some time ago, and when I myself went to the King about it I was told that I could not see her then, but might send weekly one of my own servants to her. This I have done two or three times running, having previously asked Cromwell's permission to that effect; but no later than yesterday my man returned from the Princess without having been able to speak to her, as her governess refused giving him admittance on the plea that, according to orders lately received from Court, no one was to see or speak to the Princess without express orders or some countersign or other from her father. It is true the said, governess said to my man that she would, for my sake, allow him to enter the house and see the Princess, provided he promised not to mention it to anyone, but that she could in nowise let him speak to her. I must observe that this courtesy on the part of the governess was due to a few small presents, which I have lately sent her from time to time by the Princess' advice, who, having from her oratory heard the conversation, and perceiving that there were no means of communicating with my man, said aloud, "You had better let the ambassadors man go; for on no account would I speak to him or to anyone whomsoever without my father's consent." Perhaps they do not want her to be spoken to until they have intimated to her the King's will, as above stated, and therefore I should consider it desirable for Your Majesty to send from your Court some great personage to make the necessary representations, and remonstrate about the treatment of the Princess, which, as she herself has sent to inform me this very morning, is getting worse than ever it was. That would be both a comfort and a consolation for her in the midst of her troubles, and would at the same time inspire these people with courage and hope whilst a remedy coming from these parts is prepared. But it would be most desirable for that purpose that Your Majesty's affairs should then be in such a prosperous condition as to enable the said personage—should Your Majesty determine to send him—to speak boldly, as otherwise all the business would be spoiled; for as the good Queen used frequently to say, by way of prediction, with these people, who are sheep when in face of the wolf, and lions towards those who treat them respectfully, the mildness and moderation occasionally used for the sake of Christendom at large will inevitably cause the ruin and loss of the Church. To this may be added that those who have shown no sorrow and regret at the mothers death will now take courage to finish with the daughter, since, without having recourse to poison, the rigorous treatment to which the Princess has been, and is still, daily subjected will be a sufficient cause for her death. Indeed, many courtiers assert, and have already spread the rumour, that the Princess' sorrow and regret at the loss of her mother, the good Queen, are likely to cause her own death. This is, no doubt, said for the purpose of avoiding suspicion; (fn. n2) for certainly it must be said that the pitiful condition in which the Princess has been for some time past is considerably aggravated since her mothers death. There is every reason, as I say, and a good opportunity just now, for the said personage to come and protest against the ill-treatment of the Princess. The pity and affection I feel for the latter has perhaps carried me beyond the just limits of my charge. If so, I beg Your Majesty to forgive me, and excuse the expression of sentiments entirely caused by commiseration.
Since my despatch of the 9th instant no courier has left this capital by whom to write to Your Majesty. Immediately after the death of the good Queen I despatched one of my own men [to Kimbolton], in order to ascertain what had occurred after my departure from that place, to console the poor servants of the Queen's household in their affliction, and see what could be done for them, as well as with regard to the funeral, in case the Queen had made any dispositions in that respect. My man came back three days ago, and informed me that two days after my departure [from Kimbolton] the Queen seemed to improve considerably in health, and that in the afternoon of the Epiphany she herself without the help of any of her maids, combed and tied her hair. That next day, about midnight, she inquired what time it was, and whether it was already near dawn. This enquiry the Queen made several times, for no other purpose, as she herself afterwards declared, than to be able to hear mass and receive the Holy Sacrament: and although the bishop of Llandaff, her confessor, (fn. n3) offered to say mass for her before four o'clock in the morning, she would not consent to it, alleging and citing several authoritative passages in Latin to prove that it could not be done. At dawn she heard mass, and took the Holy Sacrament with the greatest fervour and devotion that could be imagined; after which she went on repeating various prayers, begging those who were present to pray for the salvation of her soul, and that God would pardon and forgive the King, her husband, for the wrong he had done her, inspire him to follow the right path, and give him good counsel. After which the Queen received extreme unction, she herself replying distinctly to all the questions of the ritual in a clear audible voice.
Knowing that in England no woman surviving her husband can make a will, the Queen, for fear of infringing the law of the land, would not dispose of her property otherwise than by way of supplication and, request to the King. She accordingly begged her physician to draw out a paper with certain testamentary clause, which she ordered to be brought to me immediately after signing it with her own hand. In that paper, in which she gave directions for certain small sums of money to be distributed among the servants living with her at the time, the good Queen declared that she wished to be buried at a convent of Observant Friars of the Order of St. Francis, (fn. n4) to which she bequeathed her robes and dresses to be used as Church ornaments. The furs she had, she reserved for the Princess, her daughter, to whom she likewise bequeathed a necklace with a cross, which she herself had brought from Spain. Such were the good Queens testamentary dispositions. With regard, to her burial and donation to the Observants, Cromwell said, to one of my men whom I sent to him for the purpose, that it was quite impossible, inasmuch as there was no convent of that order then existing in all England; but that any other bequest to the Princess, or to her own family servants would, be complied, with as completely and honorably as I could wish.
The day after I sent my man [to Greenwich] to inquire from Master Cromwell what the Kings wishes were on the whole, and beg that the late Queen's physician (Lasco) and apothecary (Soto) should be sent to the Princess' abode. And, although Cromwell promised to introduce my man to the King's presence, that he himself might convey my message and speak in my name, nothing was done about it, save that Cromwell sent for him and took him to a room of the Royal palace, where the ambassadors from Scotland, now returning to France, happened to be at the time, and there kept him long talking to him, all the time inquiring after my health, asking whether I took exercise in the mornings, and so forth; all this being done, as I imagine, to make the ambassadors there present, believe that mighty matters were then being discussed between us two, and that I had sent my man thither for the purpose. Cromwell at last answered, in a colder manner than the preceding day, as if he were answering in his master's name, that before granting my application with regard to the Queen's bequests the King wished to see those robes and furs of which I spoke, and that if the Princess wished to possess what her mother had bequeathed to her, she was first to show due obedience to her father, the King, adding that it was for me to persuade her to that course. With regard to the late Queen's physician there was no difficulty at all. If my man called at his (Cromwell's) own residence, he would furnish him with proper letters of introduction for the governess. When my man went next day to ask for .the letters, he was put off till the day after, and then Cromwell told him that a gentleman, the same who had accompanied me to Kimbolton on my visit to the Queen, would call and explain his views on the subject. He also begged my man to try and induce me not to refuse or avoid giving audience to the gentleman in question.
The gentleman himself came, and began by telling me that it was true that Master Cromwell had promised my secretary to give introductory letters to the physician and apothecary of the late Queen, directing them in the King's name to repair at once to the Princess' quarters; but that since then, having pondered over the matter, and talked with the King about it, the latter had been of opinion that the said physician and apothecary, being both Spanish subjects, and not his own, might make less difficulties about obeying letters coming from me than from him (Cromwell), and that I had best write to them direct. Should they, however, make any difficulties, or should the case be more urgent than it really wasfor he did not consider the Princess to be illhe himself would write to them in a fit manner. With regard to the place of burial, the King, said Cromwell, has already spoken his mind; and as to the robes bequeathed to the Franciscan convent, it was an unnecessary and vain bequest,—one which could not really be carried out, inasmuch as there was a superabundant quantity of ecclesiastic robes and ornaments in the churches of England. Instead of that, some endowment might be made to the abbey in which the Queens body would be interred, which would be, a more suitable donation and one far more worthy of notice than that of her own robes and vestments. The abbey in which she is to be buried, added Cromwell, is one of the most honorable in all England, distant only 16 or 17 miles from the place where she breathed her last; (fn. n5) its name is Piterbery (Peterborough). As to the late Queen's servants, no one is better qualified or bound to attend to them, and reward their good services, than the King himself, who had appointed them, and he was ready to act most honorably in that respect. As to the Princess herself, it was in her hands not only to receive and possess everything her mother had bequeathed to her, but likewise to have whatever she might ask for, provided she showed herself a dutiful daughter, obedient to her father's commands.
On this last point the gentleman in question and I disputed for a time; but I have my reasons to believe that he himself regretted having broached the subject, for he knew not what to reply to my arguments, save that the King must needs be obeyed, and that a daughter ought not to presume to be wiser or more conscientious than her own father. Upon which I remarked to him that, in my opinion, the arguments and threats the King had used at various times in order to persuade her were only intended as the means of inducing the Queen, her mother, on whom everything depended, to accede to the King's will; and, moreover, that now that that cause no longer existed, I could not conceive what motive there could be to importune the Princessespecially at a time when she had so much reason to be afflicted and in despair, from which state of despondency and grief, illness, and perhaps also death, might ensue,—an irreparable loss, from which no good could possibly result. The gentleman's answer was that not ribulation or sorrow, no excuse whatever of that sort, ought to prevent the Princess obeying the King's commands; that on no account and for no consideration whatever would the King abandon the line of conduct which seemed to him just and reasonable with regard to his daughter, whatever might come of it afterwards; and that èven if the Princess should die at present that would not be, after all, so great a misfortune as people might think, for the King had, no doubt, by this time well pondered in his mind all the inconveniences and rumours that might rise therefrom, and was, sufficiently prepared to meet all charges.
This same language had the said gentleman held to my secretary as he accompanied him from Cromwell's residence to my own. Your Majesty will easily conceive by these details what the state of affairs here is.
The good Queen breathed her last at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Eight hours afterwards, by the King's express commands, the inspection of her body was made, without her confessor or physician or any other officer of her household being present, save the fire-lighter in the house, a servant of his, and a companion of the latter, who proceeded at once to open the body. Neither of them had practised chirurgy, and yet they had often performed the same operation, especially the principal or head of them, who, after making the examination, went to the bishop of Llandaff, the Queen's confessor, and declared to him in great secrecy, and as if his life depended on it, that he had found the Queen's body and the intestines perfectly sound and healthy, as if nothing had happened, with the single exception of the heart, which was completely black, and of a most hideous aspect; after washing it in three different waters, and finding that it did not change colour, he cut it in two, and found that it was the same inside, so much so that after being washed several times it never changed colour. The man also said that he found inside the heart something black and round, which adhered strongly to the concavities. And moreover, after this spontaneous declaration on the part of the man, my secretary having asked the Queen's physician whether he thought the Queen had died of poison, the latter answered that in his opinion there was no doubt about it, for the bishop [of Llandaff] had been told so under confession, and besides that, had not the secret been revealed, the symptoms, the course, and the fatal end of her illness were a proof of that.
No words can describe the joy and delight which this King and the promoters of his concubinate have felt at the demise of the good Queen, especially the earl of Vulcher (Wiltshire), and his son, who must have said to themselves, What a pity it was that the Princess had not kept her mother company. The King himself on Saturday, when he received the news, was heard to exclaim, "Thank God, we are now free from any fear of war, and the time has come for dealing with the French much more to our advantage than heretofore, for if they once suspect my becoming the Emperor's friend and ally now that the real cause of our enmity no longer exists I shall be able to do anything I like with them." On the following day, which was Sunday, the King dressed entirely in yellow from head to foot, with the single exception of a white feather in his cap. His bastard daughter (Elizabeth) was triumphantly taken to church to the sound of trumpets and with great display. Then, after dinner, the King went to the hall, where the ladies were dancing, and there made great demonstration of joy, and at last went into his own apartments, took the little bastard, carried her in his arms, and began to show her first to one, then to another, and did the same on the following days (fn. n6) Since then his joy has somewhat subsided; he has no longer made such demonstrations, but to make up for it, as it were, has been tilting and running lances at Grinduys (Greenwich). On the other hand, if I am to believe the reports that come to me from every quarter, I must say that the displeasure and grief generally felt at the Queen's demise is really incredible, as well as the indignation of the people against the King. All charge him with being the cause of the Queen's death, which I imagine has been produced partly by poison and partly by despondency and grief; besides which, the joy which the King himself, as abovesaid, manifested upon hearing the news, has considerably confirmed people in that belief.
Whilst the sorrow and indignation of the English last, it will be, in my opinion, the fit moment for urging the present Pope to proceed against this King, and apply the requisite remedy to so many evils. The measure would be most opportune just now; for these people, thinking, as they actually do, that because the good Queen is dead, no further proceedings can be instituted against them, would be greatly astonished, and taken, as it were, by surprise. They fancy, moreover. that the Pope on his own account, and for what personally concerns him and the Church, will not dare to stir and provoke war, especially as a good portion of Germany and other countries is in the same predicament as this King is. Yet, though the Queen is no longer alive, it is due to her memory and to the honour of her royal relatives to have it declared that she actually died Queen of England. It is, moreover, important to proceed at once to the execution of the sentence in what relates to the Princess, and dissolve and annul this second marriage, which certainly has not become more valid and legitimate through the Queen's death. Another declaration would be necessary on the part of the Pope, namely, that the King could not marry this woman, nor any other, during the Queen's life, according to the rules and prescriptions of civil right, unless the Pope himself had granted a dispensation. (fn. n7)
It would indeed seem as if these people entertained some hope of making the Pope lean to their side, for only three days ago Cromwell said at dinner (a plainne table) that possibly within a very few days one might see in England a legate and an ambassador from the Pope, who would come to confirm all their former doings. And yesterday an order was issued for the curates and other preachers to abstain from preaching anything either against or in favour of the existence of purgatory, images, the worship of saints, and other doubtful theological questions. Perhaps by this and other means they hope to cajole His Holiness and send him to sleep until Your Majesty has actually left Rome,—which in my opinion, would he a great and irreparable evil; and I fancy that the courier who has taken to France the news of the Queens decease has been instructed to proceed afterwards to Rome in haste, and prevent, if he can, the publication of the ecclesiastical censures.
There has been some rumour here that this King intended going personally to his daughter, the Princess, or sending some high personage to condole with her, and that on that ground the news of her mother's death would be kept from her as long as possible. I hear, however, that nothing of the sort is the case. Four days after the Queen's demise the governess herself went straight to the Princess, and most unceremoniously, without the least preparation, announced to her the sad event. I myself had previously written to the Princess a letter of condolence, and sent it to one of her maids in waiting with instructions to put it into her hands the moment her mother's death should be notified to her. This was done; and I must say that the Princess received such consolation and comfort through it that soon after she herself wrote to me a very good and well penned answer, in which, after thanking me immensely for the invaluable good I have done her, she begged me to let the King know that, unless she were immediately removed from the house and company in which she was, she should consider herself as good as lost; (fn. n8) and that, following my advice, she would in the midst of her tribulations do her best to show that courage and constancy of which I had spoken to her, and at all events prepare for death.
In the evening of the day on which the Queen's death was notified to her, the Princess begged her governess to write a letter to the King, asking for the physician and apothecary who had attended on her, rather, as I imagine, to make inquiries and hear the particulars of her last illness, than because she herself wanted their services. To which request of the Princess the King answered, that her complaint, if any, was not the result of illness, but merely of natural affliction, and therefore that she needed no physician nor apothecary at all. The Princess then wrote to me, praying, among other things, that I should solicit and procure the personal attendance of those two officials on the plea that she was really unwell, and could not do without them ; which I did forthwith, as Your Majesty must have heard. (fn. n9)
The day before yesterday I forwarded to her the letter which Your Majesty had written to the Queen, her mother, as well as another from the Queen Regent of Flanders, (fn. n10) both of which arrived too late. The letters, however, have been of great consolation to the Princess, as she herself wrote to me half an hour ago; for since her mother's death she writes oftener than before, for no other purpose, as I imagine, than to give a proof of that courage and firmness which I am continually recommending to her. I must add that her good sense, incomparable virtues, and unheard-of patience under the circumstances, enable her to bear with fortitude the loss of a mother whom she loved and cherished as much, perhaps more than any daughter ever did;—the Queen, her mother, having always been her principal refuge in all her tribulations.
Great preparations are being made for the burial of the good Queen, and according to a message received from Master Cromwell the funeral is to be conducted with such a pomp and magnificence that those present will scarcely believe their eyes. It is to take place on the 1st of February; the chief mourner to be the King's own niece, that is to say, the daughter of the duke of Suffolk; (fn. n11) next to her will go the Duchess, her mother; then the wife of the duke of Norfolk, (fn. n12) and several other ladies in great numbers. And from what I hear, it is intended to distribute mourning apparel to no less than 600 women of a lower class. As to the lords and gentlemen, nothing has yet transpired as to who they are to be, nor how many. Master Cromwell himself, as I have written to Your Majesty, pressed me on two different occasions to accept the mourning cloth, which this King offered for the purpose no doubt of securing my attendance at the funeral, which is what he greatly desires; but by the advice of the Queen Regent of Flanders (Mary), of the Princess herself, and of many other worthy personages, I have declined, and, refused the cloth proffered ; alleging as an excuse that I was already prepared, and had some of it at home, but in reality because I was unwilling to attend a funeral, which, however costly and magnificent, is not that befitting a queen of England.
The King, or his Privy Council, thought at first that very solemn obsequies ought to be performed at the cathedral church of this city. Numerous carpenters and other artizans had already set to work, but since then the order has been revoked, and there is no talk of it now. Whether they meant it in earnest, and then changed their mind, or whether it was merely a feint to keep people contented and remove suspicion, I cannot say for certain.
One of the two Scotch ambassadors who, as I informed Your Majesty, passed through this city on their return from France, about two months ago, arrived here the other day to cross the Channel on a second mission to king Francis. He visited me, and said, of his own accord, among other things, and without my giving him the least opening for it, that the French had taken good care not to inform the King, his master, of the death of the duke of Milan (fn. n13) knowing very well that from that very moment the overtures made for king James' marriage in France would be suspended or fall completely to the ground. Even then, neither the ambassador nor his colleague knew how the negociations for a marriage in that country stood; so much so, that for the last few days they had been busily engaged in again bringing forward their joint application for the hand of the Princess, and seeing whether this King would be more inclined now to grant it, but that they had failed again, and saw no appearance whatever of their proposal being accepted.
This same ambassador informs me that he and his colleague in the French embassy had exhibited before this King the copy of a brief which the Pope had addressed to the King, their master (James), threatening to deprive this one of his kingdom, and that if he (Henry) thought that king James' interference in the affair could be of any use, and bring about a reconciliation between His Holiness and him, he (James) would offer to mediate, and willingly accept the charge. This King's answer was, that he did not want king James' or any other Prince's interference in the affair; since the Queen, for the sake of whom everything had been done, being dead, there could no longer exist cause of disagreement between them; besides which he (Henry) thought that His Holiness would not dare attempt anything on account of the primacy of the Church, inasmuch as that had been at all times a most intricate and difficult question to solve; besides which the Greeks had always maintained a contrary opinion, which was also his, and to which most of the Germans, and several northern princes, also agreed. (fn. n14)
Cromwell also told me that the embassy sent by this King to Scotland (fn. n15) some months ago was for the sole purpose of persuading king James to free himself from Apostolic obedience. But it seems to me as if these people had altogether lost their time in attempting to bring over the king of Scotland to their opinion, and have only got disrepute and shame through it; for I am told that when the Scotch ambassadors (fn. n16) came [to London] and asked for a private and secret audience from this Kingat which no one else was to be present but secretary Cromwellwhen the question of these people's heretical doctrines was mooted, there resounded up in the air a most horrible and sudden clap of thunder louder than any that was ever heard; upon which king Henry began to make the sign of the Cross, not so much, as Cromwell told me, for the awe of the thing, but owing to the terrific words uttered by the Scotch ambassador on that occasion. However this may be, it appears that the King is now sending a fresh embassy to James on the same errand. I did not say much to the Scotchman about it, save to assure him in general terms of the good will and affection Your Majesty bore the King, his master, telling him besides that I held his countrymen to be good and wise people, who would know how to act in future according to their own interests, and the position of affairs in this country and elsewhere on the continent.
He who called himself "bailiff" of Amboise, (fn. n17) as I have many a time written to Your Majesty, left this city some days ago; but no sooner had he landed at Boulogne than he was arrested and lodged in prison, at the request of the French ambassador residing here. To-day a French gentleman, attached to Mr. de Langes (Langeais) household, has arrived from Germany. As soon as 1 hear anything of the charge he brings to this country, I .shall not fail to inform Your Majesty.—London, 21 January 1536.
Signed : "Eustace Chapuys."
Addressed : "To the Emperor."
French. Original. Partly in cipher pp. 27.
21 Jan. 10. The Same to Monseigneur de Grandvelle.
Rep. P. C.,
Fasc. 230, No. 2.
Thanks him for the 3,000 ducats which he has lately received in a bill of exchange upon the Imperial treasury, and then continues:—
"There was no need of reminding me, as you did, by your letter of the 17th of December last, of the care you always take of my own personal affairs, and of your good offices with our master, for which I am, and shall always be, extremely indebted to you. There was no need, I say, of such things, for I was sure you could not act towards me, your faithful servant and friend, otherwise than you have done until now.
"Yet I must apologise for not having written to you for some time; but the bustle and agitation in which I live, a slight indisposition that has obliged me to keep to my bed for a few days, and last, not least, the very lamentable death of the good queen (Katharine), have altogether prevented me. The latter, who bore you great affection, and considered herself very much indebted for your good offices with the Emperor, our master, was continually asking for news of you and of the High Commander. Her last words and commendations to me were that I should write and plead her excuses with His Imperial Majesty, as well as with you and Covos, if her illness, which proved fatal at last, and the close confinement in which she was kept prevented her from writing. I was (she said) to write to the Emperor, her nephew, and beg he would request you and the Commander, for God's sake, to put an end to her sufferings one way or another; for she said all delay in the proposed remedy, and the mild terms used by Rome towards these people, would ultimately cause her ruin and also that of her daughter the Princess, as well as confusion in the kingdom. However, though the good Queen herself was unable, through the precarious state of her health, to let you know her fears and hopes, the Princess, I have no doubt, should God grant her life and health, will completely fulfil her commendations, being, as she is, very virtuous, and at the same time well aware of what you and the said Commander have done for her mother and for herself.
"Some one has come to tell me that there was a rumour at Court of this King and that of Scotland (James) being about to hold an interview somewhere on the Borders, about Easter; but I do not attach any faith to such news, for if there was any truth in the report, the Scotch ambassador would certainly have told me.
"Having during the last few days kept the house, and scarcely spoken to a living soul, I am afraid of having written too diffusely to His Majesty. I, therefore, beg and entreat you to suppress what may appear to you superfluous, and otherwise supply what may be wanted in my despatches.—London, 21 Jan. 1536."
P,.S,.—It had been settled between the Queens physician and myself that, should he despair of her life, he was to take care that she again, in extremis, declared and affirmed that she had not been known by Prince Arthur; but it appears that he was so much affected and troubled that he forgot it entirely.
It is surmised that the poison which caused the Queen's death came from Italy; but, as I will tell you in my next, (fn. n18) I do not believe a word of it
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Addressed : "To Monseigneur de Grandvelle."
French. Holograph. pp. 3.
23 Jan. 11. Dr. Ortiz to Commander Juan Vazquez de Molina.
S. E., L. 865, f. 77.
B. M. Add. 28,588,
f. 137.
Since his last letter to the Empress, in date of the 1st and 10th inst., no news from England has reached him (Ortiz).
The bull excommunicating the king of England, and depriving him of his kingdom, is already sealed with the leaden seal, but has not yet been made public.
The archbishop of Paris (Jean du Bellay) and his case.
Not only did the archbishop go personally the other day to the Governor's office, during the Pope's absence, to ask in very intemperate and harsh words for the release of a servant of his, who had been locked up for some misdemeanor or other, but no later than yesterday, in consequence of a quarrel between his own servants and those of the archbishop of Conchano (Conciano), the former broke into the Archbishop's palace, slew two of his men, took another one prisoner, and brought him to the French embassy. The archbishop of Conchano (Conciano) had his teeth broken, his palace plundered, and 400 ducats which he had in a chest robbed. It is even rumoured that Monsignor the archbishop of Paris (Jean du Bellay) was present at this highly meritorious deed excuted by men who call themselves friends of the Holy Apostolic See ! Everyone here is amazed at the coolness with which His Holiness has received the news of so irreverent an act against one of his archbishops.—Rome, 23 January 1536.
Signed : "El Doctor Ortiz."
Spanish. Holograph. pp. 2.
23 Jan. 12. Martin Vallés to the Same.
S. E., L. 1484
B. M. Add. 28,588,
f. 145.
When the ambassador (Hannaërt) wrote to Your Majesty that he could not make out what king Francis intended doing with these German levies, and how he purposed employing them, hehad, no doubt, his motives for saying so. The common voice, however, is that they are destined against Savoy. Unless the Duke (Carlo III:) makes over to this King what the latter pretends is his own, as inherited from his mother (Louise), or belonging to the sons of the count de Geneve, (fn. n19) and nephews of the Duke; and, lastly, unless he redeems Nizza by paying the sums for which it was mortgaged, the Germans are to invade the duchy, and take by force what belongs to France. Also, that unless the Emperor return a favorable answer to king Francis' demands his army will proceed to take possession of Milan. Cannot say whether the above is being said and repeated by way of brag, or whether the French are really in earnest; certain it is that since the demise of the queen of England (Katharine) they seem fiercer than ever. Immediately after the death of that good Queen the English ambassadors in France (fn. n20) went up to king Francis, and were a long time closeted with him. Of the three who are here one went off post-haste to England, and many here suspect that the eldest daughter of this king will be married to king (Henry); (fn. n21) which union (they say) is partly intended to secure his co-operation in a war against us (the Imperialists).
It is reported that the Germans are coming down, and that they are well provided with ordnance and money. This last intelligence is perfectly true. All gentlemen throughout France as well as the officers of the King's household, have been summoned to be ready for the 20th or 21st of March, to enter on a campaign against Savoy.—Lyons on the Rhone, 23 January 1536.
Signed: "Martin Vallez." (sic) (fn. n22)
Addressed: "To Monsieur the Commander Juan Vazquez de Molina, of Her Majesty's Council, and Secretary."
Spanish. Holograph. pp. 1½.
29 Jan. 13. Eustace Chapuys to the Emperor.
Rep. P. C.,
Fasc. 229, No. 6.
On the 21st inst. (fn. n23) I wrote to Your Majesty at full length of events in this country. Since then my man (fn. n24) has returned [from those parts], and verbally communicated a portion of what has been decided by the queen [of Hungary], regent of Flanders, as well as by Mr. de Roeulx, respecting the enterprise and transport [of troops] in contemplation. The rest I am to hear from the lips of the messenger, whom the said Mr. de Roeulx is shortly to send me. But to tell Your Majesty the plain truth, I am very much afraid that the season and opportunity for such an undertaking have already passed away, nay are lost for some time to come, inasmuch as there is now a talk of removing [the Princess] from the house where she is staying, and where the necessary preparations for her flight had already been made, to another not so well suited for the undertaking. Indeed, had it not been because they are waiting for the good Queen's burial, they would already have had her daughter removed elsewhere. For this reason, and in order to obviate the said difficulty, I had previously asked for the Queen the very same house where they now intend taking the Princess ; and although there was then very little hope of their granting my application, and hardly any chance of my being able to carry out Your Majesty's views with regard to the Princess' flight, yet I would have done my best, as I am still doing, to look out for the means of her escape. Indeed, I have this very morning sent for one of the men who is concerned in the plot; he has secretly called at this embassy, and after some talk with him, we have come to the conclusion that the undertaking is waxing daily more and more arduous, owing to my people not being allowed now to frequent the house as formerly. Could matters be delayed for some time, I fancy that there might surely be a better opportunity for the removal of the Princess and other persons in the house to a more convenient spot for our plans, as sooner or later the change of residence must take place.
The Princess' governess having lately informed her niece, the Royal mistress, that the former disregarded entirely the offers made to her in her name, (fn. n20) and would rather suffer a hundred deaths than change her opinion, or do anything against her honor and conscience, the concubine addressed a letter, or rather defamatory libel, to the governess, at which the Princess has been laughing ever since. I failed not at the time to inform Your Majesty of the fantastic plan formed [for the Princess' escape], namely, to represent her as desirous of entering a convent in order to attain a state of perfection there, and not be accused of lightness or despair, since her father, the King, was actually expelling from their convents both friars and nuns who had before that time entered into religion. The Princess approved of the stratagem, and is ready to carry it out, adding that she herself will say and do whatever may be considered most fit for the success of our enterprise. I will not fail to inform Your Majesty of what may turn out.
(fn. n25)
I heard some days ago from various quarters, though I must say none sufficiently reliable, that the King's concubine, though she showed great joy at the news of the good Queen's death, and gave a good present to the messenger who brought her the intelligence, had, nevertheless, cried and lamented, herself on the occasion, fearing lest she herself might be brought to the same end as her. And this very morning, some one coming from the lady mentioned in my letter of the 21st of November ultimo, (fn. n26) and also from her husband, has stated that both had heard from the lips of one of the principal courtiers that this King had said to one of them in great secrecy, and as if in confession, that he had been seduced and forced into this second marriage by means of sortileges and charms, and that, owing to that, he held it as nul. God (he said) had well shown his displeasure at it by denying him male children. He, therefore, considered that he could take a third wife, which he said he wished much to do.
I must say that this intelligence, though coming from sufficiently authentic quarters, seems to me almost incredible. I will consider what appearance or sign of truth there may be in the report, and look out for the means of letting the governesswho, as I said before, is the concubine's aunthave a hint of it through a third person, that she may take in future better care of the Princess, and treat her well. My intermediary agent on this occasion has been instructed by me to treat the said governess in the most friendly terms possible, and assure her that, should the Princess recover her state, she will experience no displeasure at her hands, but, on the contrary, shall be favored and rewarded. This much have I thought of promising her in the Princess' name in order to guard against possible events.
Both the physician and apothecary of the late Queen (as I lately informed Your Majesty) have been to visit the Princess who, thanks to God, is now in good health. They have spent two days at the house, not that she herself required their attendance and advice, but because she wanted, as I informed Your Majesty, to hear from them the particulars of the illness and death of the Queen, her mother. It is, however, a wonder to me that the King, after giving the said physician and apothecary permission, at my request, to go to——and visit the Princess, should have scarcely allowed them to speak to her in private, no more than my own servants, who went thither at the same time. Not one of them has had permission to see the Princess in her apartments, and yet she seems to be taking good revenge on her guardians just now, for she hardly ceases writing to me, having now greater opportunity than ever she had, inasmuch as on account of her mourning she remains mostly in her rooms alone.
Yesterday [the 28th] Sir [Francis] Brian returned from France; as I informed Your Majesty at his departure, and as this King himself stated to me, he had gone thither to congratulate king Francis on his recovery, and likewise to ask for the release of certain English ships detained at Bordeaux. It seems to me as if on this last point Sir Francis had not been at all suceessful, for immediately after his arrival the King sent for Master Cromwell and the rest of his Privy Councillors, and he has this very morning summoned to his presence the ambassador of France, and complained to him, as I hear, of the detention of his ships, accusing him of being partly the cause of it for having written home that French merchants in this country were badly treated, and that every day new taxes were imposed upon them, against the letter of the treaties agreed upon between the two kings; which fact the Privy Councillors flatly denied. Whereupon, and in order to justify his assertion, the Frenchman, on his return from Court, summoned the French merchants of this city to put down in writing the grievance they complain of, and to-morrow he is to send to me one of his secretaries to learn what the former French ambassador and myself concluded and settled upwards of three years ago with this King's Privy Council with regard to the grievances complained of by the French merchants, as well as by Your Majesty's subjects.
It is also reported that the said Brian (fn. n27) has brought news that Your Majesty has offered the hand of the duchess [Margaret] as well as the dukedom of Milan to king Francis for his son the duke of Angoulesme (Charles), and that this was the cause of Brian's sudden return to this country with a message to this effect; but adding that should this King wish to defeat the said plan he has only to consent to what the French ash of him.
I am told that Brian is shortly to return to France with the answer, they say before Monday or Tuesday of next week. But I doubt it, for the latter day has been fixed by the Privy Council as that on which the French ambassador is to appear at Court, followed by a deputation of the merchants of his nation, in justification of the assertions he has made respecting their grievances, &c.
This King's lieutenant-governor in Ireland has lately died. (fn. n28) It is said that affairs in that country are still far from being settled, and that some relatives of the young Childare, (fn. n29) and several of his friends, resent much the wrong that was done to him in violation of the security promised to him.— London, 20 Jan. 1536.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Addressed: "To the Emperor."
French. Original, almost entirely in cipher. pp. 6.


  • n1. Montesa(?).
  • n2. "Et [ceux] qui ne monstreront se ressentir de [la mort de] la dicte royne ilz prendront hardiesse dacbeuer lautre; et iaçoit quil ne soit propos de faire mencion de poison, si a lon (ont ilz) occasion de causer (d'excuser) aucunement la rigueur et mauvais traictement dont lon luy a use. l'luseurs deulx confessent, voire sement, que le regret est cause do sa mort, et ce pour exclure la suspicion du surplus."
  • n3. Fr. Jorge de Ateca, bishop of Llandaff, Katharine's almoner and confessor.
  • n4. "Freres Observantins do lordre de St. François."
  • n5. That of Peterborough.
  • n6. "Le iour suyvant, que fust le dymanche, ce roy fat tout accoustre de iaune de pied en cap, ce ne fut la plume blanche quil auoit au bonnet, et fust la petite bastarde conduite a la messe avec trompettes et autres grans trihumphes. Lapres disne le roy se trouva en la salle ou dançoient les dames, et la, comme transporte de ioye, feist pluseurs chores, et [a] la fin il fut querre sa petite bastarde, et la pourtant entre ses bras, il laloit mostrant a ung puis a lautrc lesiours eaeuyvant. Depuis il a en use corrcspondentement."
  • n7. "Et si y a une autre chose quil ne peult auoir ceste femme çi, ne aussi autre durant la vie de ceste, selon la disposition du droit."
  • n8. "Que bien tost apres elle mescripuoit une tres bonne lectre, bien escripte et bien dictce, ou oultre les infinites remerciacions de linextimable bien que luy avoye fait, elle me prioit faire entendre au roy son pere que ne la osteroit (sil ne l'ostoit) de la compaignie ou elle estoit, elle se tenoit pour despechee et perdue."
  • n9. See above, p. 17.
  • n10. Mary, the dowager queen of Hungary, Charles' sister.
  • n11. "Frances, daughter of Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk, and of Henry's sister (Mary), formerly married to Louis XII., king of France.
  • n12. Elizabeth Stafford.
  • n13. The duke Francesco Maria Sforza died on the 24th of October 1535.
  • n14. "A quoy respondit ce roy que nestoit nul besoing que le dict roy descosse ne autres sen meslat, car estant morte la royne, a instance ou contemplation de la quelle Je tout se faisoit, il tenoit quil ne seroit plus question de riens, car, comme iay dessus touche, il pensoit que sa sainctete noseroit riens attenter pour la primatie de leglise actendu que la question et difficulte en auoit este de tous temps, et que oultre que les grecqs auoient tousiours tenue son oppinion, la pluspart de la Germanie y concurroit, et autres princes septentrionaulx."
  • n15. Lord William Howard, whose mission to Scotland in January 1535 has already been recorded. See Part I., pp. 355, 577.
  • n16. Bishop Betoun and Secretary Erskine, as above. See p. 9 note.
  • n17. This bailiff (bailli) whose name I have in vain tried to ascertain, came to England on a secret mission of Mme. d'Albret, the widow of Henri king of Navarre, in December 1535. See Part I., pp. 586-9, 590-93.
  • n18. If Chapuys wrote again to Granvelle on the subject, the letter is not in the Imperial archives of Vienna.
  • n19. Philipe de Savoie, the Duke's brother. Both were the sons of Philippe called Sans terre, who was the seventh Duke, and died in 1497. As to Philippe, the brother of the duke Carlo, he was made count of Geneva by his brother; but having since attached himself to king Francis, his nephew, he was in 1528 created duke of Nemours. At this time he was no longer alive, having died on the 21st of November 1533, leaving one son, Jacopo or Jaque, who became duke of Nemours.
  • n20. Wallop, Gardiner, and Brian ? This last (Sir Francis) was the one who left for London on this occasion.
  • n21. "Luego que tuvicron la nueva della [de la muerte], los embaxadores de Inglaterra vinieron a hablar al Rey, y tuvieron muy largas platicas [con él], y de tres embaxadores questavan aqui fue el uno en posta á Inglaterra, y muchos sospechan acá que casaran la hija mayor deste Rey con el de Inglaterra."
  • n22. I suspect that instead of Vallez, as in the copy, the true reading is Vallés.
  • n23. See above, No. 9, pp. 10-24.
  • n24. Probably Montesa, who went to Italy with a message, and who, on his return from Rome, stayed some time in Flanders. See above, p. 10.
  • n25. See above, No. 9, p. 10.
  • n26. See Part I., p. 570.
  • n27. Sir Francis. See above, p. 26.
  • n28. Skeffington.
  • n29. That is, of Sir Thomas Fitzgerald, executed with five of his uncles on the 3rd of February.