Appendix: Miscellaneous 1560

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1890.

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'Appendix: Miscellaneous 1560', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580, (London, 1890) pp. 659-662. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]

Miscellaneous 1560

1560. Jan. 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 4. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor to the Signory.
The Emperor has received letters from England advising him that the Queen is again showing signs of her inclination to take the Archduke Charles for her husband, and I understand that Ser Prainer, who has long resided in England for this purpose, had a dispute with the son of the King of Sweden concerning precedence, and subsequently another dispute in the antechamber of the Queen upon religious questions, and that on the last occasion matters went to such extremities that unless the Queen herself had interfered, a serious scandal would have resulted ; but the Queen, saying that her presence was not the place for such proceedings, took Ser Prainer by the hand, conducted him to her apartment, and conferred with him for some time, while she left the Prince of Sweden outside without showing him any mark of honour; and later, when the Queen was conversing with the Bishop of Aquila, the Ambassador of the Catholic King, she introduced the subject of this marriage, but the Bishop, as I hear, avoided it altogether, and said that the Count of Helfenstein would soon arrive at the Court, when her Majesty could discuss the whole project with him, for that he (the Bishop) was not accredited as a minister in this matter, whatever might be the case hereafter. The Count of Helfenstein has remained at Rochester, a city not far distant from London, for many days, and I can hear no reason for this delay except that he had loaded all his baggage and effects in certain vessels which are missing, and no tidings of them have been received, and as this baggage was furnished at the expense of the Emperor the value is very great.
Two matters worthy of attention have come to my knowledge. First, that all the orders relating to this business do not emanate from hence but from the Duchess of Parma, to whom, together with the representative left by the King of Spain in Flanders, and the representative of the Queen, the Emperor has remitted the entire control of the marriage negotiation. Secondly, that there being great apprehensions of war breaking out between England and France, no decisive step with regard to the marriage will be taken until it is seen how these powers will act towards one another; and the principal ground of this apprehension is that the French suspect that the Queen of England is favouring and aiding the insurgents in Scotland. Indeed, the French had certain proof that this is so, because letters written by the Queen to the chiefs of the insurgents, and also considerable sums of money which the Queen was sending to these insurgents, have fallen in their hands; and although the French are formally complaining to her Majesty in regard to these matters, they are nevertheless highly suspicious of her actions, and therefore it is readily believed that the forces which the King of France is now sending into Scotland will, after having reduced the insurgents to obedience, be employed in levying war against England. The Queen of England has in consequence sent one of her Admirals to Spain, ostensibly to congratulate the King on his marriage, but principally to negotiate with his Majesty relative to the above-mentioned circumstances. I have thought it right to give you all possible information in order that you may perceive that the negotiation for this marriage may yet be postponed, notwithstanding that the Queen shows greater signs of inclination to its completion than previously.
Vienna, 14th January 1559[–60.]
Feb. 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 5. Giacomo Soranzo, Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Signory.
The King of Bohemia spoke to me about the shipwreck which the French vessels on their way to Scotland had suffered, and said that only three or four of those which had infantry on board had perished. In reply to my inquiry whether the Queen of England had sent further aid to Scotland, his Highness replied he did not believe that she had done so beyond the sixteen vessels which had already sailed thither, but that he had heard that the Queen had taken the Count of Mansfeldt, with ten thousand horse and two thousand foot, into her service ; and that to-day the Emperor had received further advices that the Duke of Saxony, who assisted the King of France in the last war, was enlisting soldiers who were believed to be for the service of France.
His Highness added, “This Queen of England cannot make up her mind to take a husband, and now the son of the King of Sweden has returned to her Court in great state, and the Queen has sent to meet him on landing; but still it is not believed that she cares much for him ; she has also made great approaches towards my brother, Prince Charles, but we have never been able to arrive at her real intentions because she first says one thing and then another, and she gives out that it is not expedient that she should marry without having seen the man who is to be her husband; and she therefore desires that the Archduke should visit her without her binding herself in such a case to marry him, though she assures the Emperor that he, the Archduke, would not leave her kingdom otherwise than honourably and with full satisfaction to himself. As it was impossible to arrive at any conclusion from these professions of the Queen, the negotiation has stopped at that point, nor do I know what will happen, because with her it is necessary to await time and opportunity. However, according to my opinion, if the affairs of Scotland proceed to her liking, she will marry that Scotchman (quel Scocese) [the Earl of Arran?] in order to bring about the union of the two kingdoms.”
I then expressed my hope that everything would be done to satisfy the Archduke Charles, because there could not be a more honourable nor fitting husband for the Queen than he. and also that a marriage would be made between the Archduke Ferdinand, the elected King of Poland, and the King's sister. His Highness replied, “The Archduke Ferdinand persists in his intention not to marry, and writes me that my sons are quite sufficient, and he has been many years of this opinion, because when he was in Flanders I set on foot a negotiation to marry him to my sister-in-law, the sister to the King of Spain (the Queen of Portugal), and this negotiation had advanced so far that it would soon have been concluded, but the Archduke resolved to decline the marriage; and we have also offered to negotiate for him to become husband to the Queen of England, but he has remained constant in his refusal to marry, and I believe the same thing will happen with regard to this lady (questa) of Poland. And touching the succession to that kingdom, the natives are divided into five parties: the first would wish for the son of the Marquis of Brandenburg, son of the eldest sister of the King; the second, the Vaivode of Transylvania ; the third, my brother; the fourth, the Muscovite; and as to the fifth, the greater portion of the people would wish for the election of a native of the kingdom, and not a foreigner.”
Vienna, 3rd February 1559[–60.]