Henry VIII, the Reign
Letters & Papers: 1536 Volume 10
199. Chapuys to Charles V.
Wrote at length on the 21st. My man has since arrived, by whom I have learnt part of what has been proposed by the Regent of Flanders and also by De Roeulx touching the enterprise, the transport of which is the question. The rest I am to learn from the man whom De Roeulx will send hither shortly. To say the truth, I fear that the time for the enterprise has gone by, at least for a while, seeing that, [the Princess] is to be removed in six days from the place where everything was prepared, and would have been removed already, but for the arrangements for the Queen's burial, to a place very unsuitable for the attempt. For this reason I had asked the house to which she is to be removed for the Queen, and though I have no hope of success, I will do my best to discover some means of carrying it into effect. This very morning I secretly sent for one of those who had hitherto been of counsel in the matter, but it has become more difficult because my men are forbidden to frequent the neighbourhood. If matters could be delayed, I think a better opportunity would offer, because the removal of the personages cannot but be to a more propitious place.
The gouvernante of the Princess having lately informed her niece the concubine that the Princess did not care about the offers made to her on her part, and would rather die a hundred times than change her opinion or do anything against her honour and conscience, the concubine wrote to the said gouvernante a letter, (fn. 3) which might almost be called a libel against the Princess; at which, nevertheless, she only laughs. Since then I have informed the Princess of my suggestion, which I lately wrote, viz., that she [should say she] was strongly desirous of entering religion, provided she came to full age, and not sooner, in order that it might not be imputed to lightness or despair, especially considering that the King, her father, was expelling monks and nuns from monasteries who had entered such houses before that time (i.e., before they were of age). The Princess approves of this ruse, and means to put it in practise with such additions as she may think suitable.
Some days ago I was informed from various quarters, which I did not think very good authorities, that notwithstanding the joy shown by the concubine at the news of the good Queen's death, for which she had given a handsome present to the messenger, she had frequently wept, fearing that they might do with her as with the good Queen. This morning I have heard from the lady mentioned in my letters of the 5th November, (fn. 4) and from her husband, that they were informed by one of the principal persons at Court that this King had said to some one in great confidence, and as it were in confession, that he had made this marriage, seduced by witchcraft, and for this reason he considered it null; and that this was evident because God did not permit them to have any male issue, and that he believed that he might take another wife, which he gave to understand that he had some wish to do. The thing is very difficult for me to believe, although it comes from a good source. I will watch to see if there are any indications of its probability. Yet I have not forborne to give some little hint of it by a third hand to the Princess' gouvernante, so as to warn her to treat the Princess a little better; and I have advised the latter to be as familiar as possible with her gouvernante so as to make her feel that when the Princess comes to her estate she will not regard her with disfavour.
The Queen's physician and apothecary, upon what I wrote to them, as I lately informed your Majesty, were two days with the Princess, who, thank God, is well, and had no need of them, except to know particulars of her mother's illness and death. I am now surprised that the King allowed me to send them thither, as they received no more promise of being allowed to enter than my own men. They have forbidden her to speak to anybody, but she has recompensed herself well by continually writing, for which she has better opportunities than hitherto, because by reason of her mourning she remains most of her time alone in her chamber.
Yesterday Brian returned in post from France, who, as I wrote to you at his departure, went to congratulate the French king on his convalescence, which this King lately confirmed to me, and was also charged to demand the release of certain English ships detained at Bordeaux. I think he has not been successful on the last point, because, as soon as be had arrived, the King sent for Cromwell and his other councillors, and to-day he has sent for the French ambassador, to whom I hear complaint has been made of the detention of the said ships, of which they say he has been partly the cause by writing that French merchants were illtreated here, new imposts being levied upon them in violation of treaties between the two Kings, which the Council deny to be the case.
For his own justification the ambassador, immediately on his return from Court, sent for all the French merchants to hear their complaints, and will send to me to-morrow a servant to learn what the then ambassador of France and I concluded three years ago with the Council of this King touching the complaints both of the French merchants and of your Majesty's subjects. Brian is also said to have brought news that your Majesty had offered the duchess and dukedom of Milan to the king of France for the duke of Angoulême, and that this was the cause of his speedy return, in order that the King, if he wished to break the said understandings, might consent to all that the French desired. I am told that Brian is returning to France, I know not if it will be before Monday or Tuesday, because the French ambassador is put off to these days for his coming to Court with the merchants. He who was governor of Ireland (fn. 5) is dead, and it is said affairs are not settled there, and that some of the kinsmen and friends of young Kildare resent the wrong and breach of faith that has been done to him. London, 29 Jan. 1535.