Katherine – Tudor Duchess (Guest Post)

Attractive, wealthy and influential, Katherine Willoughby is one of the most unusual ladies of the Tudor court. A favourite of King Henry VIII, Katherine knows all his six wives, his daughters Mary and Elizabeth, and his son Edward, as well as being related by marriage to Lady Jane Grey.

She marries Tudor knight, Sir Charles Brandon, and becomes Duchess of Suffolk at the age of fourteen. Her Spanish mother, Maria de Salinas, is Queen Catherine of Aragon’s lady in waiting, so it is a challenging time for them all when King Henry marries the enigmatic Anne Boleyn.

Following Anne’s dramatic downfall, the short reign of young Catherine Howard, and the tragic death of Jane Seymour, Katherine’s young sons are tutored with the future king, Prince Edward, and become his friends.

Katherine and Charles Brandon are chosen to welcome Anna of Cleves as she arrives in England. When the royal marriage is annulled, Katherine’s good friend, Catherine Parr becomes the king’s sixth wife, and they work to promote religious reform.

When King Edward dies, his Catholic sister Mary is crowned queen and Katherine’s Protestant faith puts her family in great danger – from which there seems no escape.

Katherine’s remarkable true story continues the epic tale of the rise of the Tudors, which began with the best-selling Tudor trilogy and concludes with the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

Order your copy today!

Amazon

Author Bio

Tony Riches is a full-time UK author of best-selling historical fiction. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a specialist in the history of the Wars of the Roses and the lives of the early Tudors. Tony’s other published historical fiction novels include: Owen – Book One Of The Tudor Trilogy, Jasper – Book Two Of The Tudor Trilogy, Henry – Book Three Of The Tudor Trilogy, Mary – Tudor Princess, Brandon – Tudor Knight and The Secret Diary Of Eleanor Cobham. For more information about Tony’s books please visit his website tonyriches.com and his blog, The Writing Desk and find him on Facebook and Twitter @tonyriches

 

Excerpt from his new book, Brandon – Tudor Knight (Guest Post by Tony Riches)

 

New on Amazon UK and Amazon US

From the author of the international bestselling Tudor Trilogy comes a true story of adventure, courtly love and chivalric loyalty. 

Handsome, charismatic and a champion jouster, Sir Charles Brandon is the epitome of a Tudor Knight. A favourite of King Henry VIII, Brandon has a secret. He has fallen in love with Henry’s sister, Mary Tudor, the beautiful widowed Queen of France, and risks everything to marry her without the King’s consent.

Brandon becomes Duke of Suffolk, but his loyalty is tested fighting Henry’s wars in France. Mary’s public support for Queen Catherine of Aragon brings Brandon into dangerous conflict with the ambitious Boleyn family and the king’s new right-hand man, Thomas Cromwell.

Torn between duty to his family and loyalty to the king, Brandon faces an impossible decision: can he accept Anne Boleyn as his new queen?

Excerpt from Chapter One, April 1505:

Cold rain dripped from the brim of Brandon’s hat as he waited in the shadows at Anne’s back door. He cursed and tried his secret knock again. Candlelight glimmered through the gap between the closed wooden shutters, so he knew she was at home. He was beginning to wonder if she would ever answer when the door opened.

Anne Browne leaned out and glanced down the narrow street, then ushered him inside before anyone could see. She looked beautiful, in a cornflower-blue silk gown, and wore a fine silver necklace with a pearl pendant, his present to her last New Year’s Day. Her dark hair, normally plaited under a fashionable French hood, hung loose and lustrous, reaching over her shoulders.

Anne’s father, Sir Anthony Browne, had been the king’s standard-bearer and an important man at court. He’d found her a position in the Palace of Westminster, which was how she shared her lodging with two ladies of the king’s household. As they were away at Richmond Palace, Anne had the lodging to herself – a rare chance to entertain in private.

Brandon, at over six feet tall, had to duck his head under the wooden roof beams in the low-ceilinged room. He glanced around out of habit to make sure they were alone. There was always the risk of being discovered, yet he felt more at home in Anne’s cramped lodgings than in his Uncle Thomas’s grand manor house in Southwark.

A welcoming log fire blazed in the stone hearth and beeswax candles lit the room with a soft yellow light. Brandon pulled off his damp coat and hat while Anne poured him a goblet of warmed mead. He sipped it gratefully and felt its sweet heat warm his throat.

She studied his face and frowned. ‘The bruising is worse.’ She reached out a hand as if to touch his swollen cheek but stopped herself and let it fall to her side. ‘My mother used to make a poultice from parsley – or perhaps it was daisies – for the bruising.’ She gave him a mischievous look. ‘I don’t think I’ll find either at this time of night though.’

He drained his goblet of mead. ‘I’ll live.’ Taking her in his arms, he gave her the long, slow kiss he’d been looking forward to all day. He liked the soft touch of her hands on his back, holding him close. The delicate scent of lavender aroused memories of their first time together. With reluctance he pulled himself away and gave her a wry grin. ‘It might have been worth it, after all. I have news. Good news.’

‘You’ve been spared a flogging?’ She raised an eyebrow.

He smiled. ‘It seems my luck is changing, for the better. Sir George Talbot has agreed to put my name forward for the King’s Spears.’

‘His personal bodyguard?’

‘The king’s yeomen are his bodyguard.’ He had to think for a moment, and then decided to be honest with her. ‘In truth, the Spears are something of a club for gentlemen adventurers – I’ve yet to learn what they get up to all day. The important thing is I’ll be one of the king’s trusted men.’ He heard the pride in his voice.

‘You already are. You’ve been serving at his table for how many years?’

Brandon frowned as he tried to remember. ‘Three, maybe four – but this is different. The king takes little enough notice of his servants.’ He realised she was teasing him.

Anne looked thoughtful. ‘You’ll be paid more?’

‘Of course.’ He grinned.

‘Enough to make an honest woman of me?’ There was an edge to her voice.

Brandon studied her face, unsure what to say. ‘I need the forty pounds’ worth of estates which would make me eligible for a knighthood. Then we shall talk of marriage.’

‘You talk of being a knight but do you think it will ever happen?’ She sounded doubtful.

‘I do. My father and my grandfather were both respected knights, and one day I will be too. This chance with the Spears is just the beginning. I’m going to make a name for myself, Anne. The King’s Spears are chosen men. If we go to war against the French we’ll be made captains and commanders – and I’ll be in all the jousts now, not just filling in when everyone else has fallen off.’

It was the most heartfelt speech he’d made in a long time and he believed the truth of his words. He’d somehow won over the Lord Steward and been offered the chance he’d been waiting for since becoming a servant of the king.

She pulled him closer with a look of concern. ‘You will take care? I’ve seen good men horribly wounded and even killed at the king’s jousts…’

Brandon kissed her again to silence her. ‘I promise to take care. That’s how I will become famous – by winning.’

***

Purchase: on Amazon UK and Amazon US

* * * 

About the Author

Tony Riches is a full-time UK author of best-selling historical fiction. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a specialist in the history of the Wars of the Roses and the lives of the early Tudors. Tony was a finalist in the 2017 Amazon Storyteller Awards and is listed 130th in the 2018 Top 200 list of the Most Influential Authors. For more information about Tony’s books please visit his website tonyriches.com and his popular blog, The Writing Desk and find him on  Facebook and Twitter @tonyriches

Book Review: “La Reine Blanche” by Sarah Bryson

Of the two surviving sisters of Henry VIII, his younger sister Mary was by far his favorite. Nothing shows that more than when he forgave her for secretly marrying Charles Brandon before returning from France after the death of her first husband, King Louis XII of France.

When I heard that author Sarah Bryson was releasing a book about Mary Tudor I was excited to learn more about the Tudor princess and French queen. She has fascinated me since her amalgamation in Showtime’s “The Tudors”. I say amalgamation because the character on the series was a combination of both Mary and Margaret Tudor. If you’re not familiar with the actual history of Mary Tudor the show’s story line will utterly confuse you. The biggest fictionalization (in my opinion) was when Mary, at eighteen years old married the King of Portugal. I’m really not sure why the writers of the series chose Portugal and not the King of France. In all the reading I do on the Tudor dynasty I have never come across any mention of Manuel I of Portugal. What we didn’t learn from that series is what an amazing person Mary Tudor was.

With all this in mind I was eager to learn more facts about the life of Mary Tudor, Queen of France.

Description of book:

Mary Tudor’s childhood was overshadowed by the men in her life: her father, Henry VII, and her brothers Arthur, heir to the Tudor throne, and Henry VIII. These men and the beliefs held about women at the time helped to shape Mary’s life. She was trained to be a dutiful wife and at the age of eighteen Mary married the French king, Louis XII, thirty-four years her senior. When her husband died three months after the marriage, Mary took charge of her life and shaped her own destiny. As a young widow, Mary blossomed. This was the opportunity to show the world the strong, self-willed, determined woman she always had been. She remarried for love and at great personal risk to herself. She loved and respected Katherine of Aragon and despised Anne Boleyn – again, a dangerous position to take. Author Sarah Bryson has returned to primary sources, state papers and letters, to unearth the truth about this intelligent and passionate woman. This is the story of Mary Tudor, told through her own words for the first time.

I ordered this book directly through Amberley Publishing in England because it is not released in the U.S. until June 2018.

Review:

Sarah Bryson did a phenomenal job bringing to life one of the lesser written about women of Tudor court, Mary Tudor.  While many of us are aware of who Mary Tudor was we might not know very much about her life. Mary was beautiful, well-liked and smart.

La Reine Blanche: Mary Tudor, A Life in Letters is just that, a book about the life of Mary Tudor (sister of Henry VIII) supplemented by letters. Bryson did a lot of research to be able to show us the most comprehensive look at the beautiful English princess to date.

Katherine of Aragon, Henry VIII, Francis I, Cardinal Wolsey, Charles Brandon and a plethora of other Tudor figures make an appearance in this book. It’s interesting to see how they all interacted with Mary throughout her life. It’s also interesting to see how close Mary had become with the children of her husband’s from his marriage with Anne Browne – she was indeed a kind stepmother.

Mary’s life wasn’t without adversity and Bryson did a brilliant job bringing it all to life for the reader. I was moved at the loss of her son with Brandon. As a mother, my heart breaks every time a parent loses a child.

I was pleasantly surprised by Mary’s relationship with her first husband, King Louis XII of France. I had previously known that she went into the marriage with an open mind but had no idea of her feelings for the King until reading this book.

If you’re as obsessed with the Tudor period as I am then you’ll love this book. It’s also a great book to read if you’re interested in French traditions.

Interested in learning more? Here is Sarah Bryson’s guest post for my site: The Princess and the Knight

Buy This Book

Amazon.com (available June 1, 2018 – Pre-order today!)

Amazon.co.uk (available now)

Book Depository (available now)

Author Bio:

Sarah Bryson is a researcher, writer and educator who has a Bachelor of Early Childhood
Education with Honours. She currently works with children with disabilities. She is
passionate about Tudor history and has a deep interest in Mary Tudor, Charles Brandon,
Duke of Suffolk and the reign of Henry VIII and the people of his court. She has run a
website dedicated to Tudor history for many years and has written for various websites
including ‘On the Tudor Trail’ and ‘QueenAnneBoleyn’. She has been studying primary
sources to tell the story of Mary Tudor for a decade. Sarah lives in Australia, enjoys reading,
writing and Tudor costume enactment.

Links:

Website: https://sarah-bryson.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SarahBryson44/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarahBryson44

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The Princess and the Knight (Guest Post)

 

The Princess and the Knight

Guest post by Sarah Bryson

The story of Charles Brandon and Mary Tudor reads like a fairy tale. Born in 1496 she was the youngest surviving child of King Henry VII and his beautiful wife Queen Elizabeth. Mary was raised to be the perfect image of a princess. Mary was educated in all the necessities for royal women of the time including singing, dancing, embroidery, and playing a musical instrument. In fact Mary was an excellent player of the lute and clavichord (a type of stringed instrument). In addition, she received training in social etiquette including table manners, polite conversation and the importance of dressing and presenting herself as a daughter of the new Tudor king.

Mary was renowned throughout Europe for her great beauty. Philippe Sieur de Bergilies, ambassador to the Court of Margaret of Austria, Regent of the Netherlands, stated that ‘never man saw a more beautiful creature, nor one having so much grace and sweetness, in public or private.’ Less than three months later Derard de Pleine wrote to Margaret of Austria stating that ‘Madame the Princess [Mary], until I had seen her several times. I can assure you that she is one of the most beautiful girls that one would wish to see; it does not seem to me that I have ever seen one so beautiful. She has a good manner, and her deportment is perfect in conversation, dancing or anything else.’

Mary was in essence the perfect princess. The fairy tale of her life continued until when she was just eighteen years old, she was married to the fifty two year old King of France, Louis XII. Louis was an old man riddled with gout and the marriage was a condition of a peace treaty negotiated between England and France.

However, just three months after her marriage, Louis XII died on 1 January 1515. Mary, now the Dowager Queen of France as well as being an English princess, was trapped in a foreign country, her servants dismissed and she was sent to the Hotel de Cluny for forty days of mourning.

At eighteen years of age Mary was young, beautiful and as a widow she was once more a useful political tool. While she remained in France, Francis I could easily use her as a bargaining tool for his own purposes. He could organise a marriage between Mary and a French nobleman or even arrange a marriage with a member of the aristocracy from another country in order to secure a political alliance against England.

Francis I may have also been concerned that should Mary return to England the her brother, Henry VIII, would renege on the original treaty with France and seek a renewal of the English treaty with the Holy Roman Empire, seeking to revive the planned marriage between Mary and Prince Charles of Castile, to whom she had been betrothed to before her marriage to Louis XII. In addition, while Mary remained in France Francis I could retain Mary’s jewels and would not have to pay for her travelling expenses back to England.

That is when her knight in shining armour came to rescue her. Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk was one of Henry VIII’s closest friends. He was twenty nine years old, tall, athletic and known as one of the best jousters in England, but he was also a rogue. Already having two marriages under his belt, Brandon had a reputation as a ladies man, not just English women, but he even dared to steal a ring from Margaret of Austria, Duchess of Savoy and daughter of Maximillian I, the Holy Roman Emperor!

The fairy tale continues, and Brandon, under orders from King Henry VIII, was sent to France in order to bring Mary safely back to her homeland. Brandon scooped Mary up and falling for her great beauty and charm married her instantly – and without the English king’s permission. Fearing Henry VIII’s wrath both Mary and Charles threw themselves on the king’s mercy and because of his great love for the pair they were forgiven and allowed to return home.

On the face of it, this is a superb example of the chivalric romantic tale of a beautiful, helpless princess saved by her handsome knight. Yet the story is just that… a story. The truth about Mary Tudor and her marriage to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk is far more than a helpless woman seeking to be saved. In fact it was Mary who proposed marriage to Brandon and it was Mary who manoeuvred her way through a male dominated world to pave her own future.

Faced with such uncertainty, Mary Tudor did not sit back as the helpless, weak princess needing to be rescued. Instead she took matters into her own hands. Shortly after Brandon’s arrival in Paris Mary proposed marriage and the duke accepted. The couple were married in secret, without Henry VIII’s permission and also without the knowledge of the king of France.

While the exact date of the marriage is unknown it is probable that the couple married before ten witnesses in the Chapel in Cluny, between 31 January, when Brandon arrived in Paris, and 3rd February.

Mary boldly wrote to her brother reminding him of the promise that he had made at Dover before she boarded the ship that took her to France, which was that should Louis die before her and there was no progeny of that marriage, she could take a second husband of her own choosing.

‘Sir, I beseech your grace that you will keep all the promises that you promised me when I took my leave of you by the w[ater s]ide. Sir, your grace knoweth well that I did marry for your pl[easure a]t this time, and now I trust that you will suffer me to [marry as] me l[iketh fo]r to do ; for, sir, I k[now that yo]u shall have . . . s that they . . . for I assure your grace that [my mi]nd is not there where they would have me, and I trust [your grace] will not do so to me that has always been so glad to fulfil your mind as I have been : wherefore I beseech your grace for to be good lord and brother to me; for, sir, an if your grace will have gran me married in any place, [sav]ing whereas my mind is, I will be there, whereas your grace nor no other shall have any joy of me : for, I promise your grace, you shall hear that I will be in some religious house, the which I think your grace would be very sorry of, and all your realm. Also, sir, I know well that the King, that is [my so]n, will send to your grace by his uncle the duke of . . . for to ma[rry me here, but I tru]st you[r grace … I sha]ll never be merry at my heart, (for an ever that I d[o marrjy while I live). I trow your grace knoweth as well as I do, and did before I came’ hither, and so I trust your grace will be contented, unless I would never marry while I live, but be there where never [no] man nor woman shall have joy of me ; wherefore I beseech your grace to be good lord to him and to me both, for I know well that he hath m[et ma]ny hindrances to your grace of him and me both. Wherefore, an your grace be good lord to us both, I will not care for all the world else, but beseech your grace to be good lord and brother to me, as you have been here aforetime, f[or in you] is all the trust that I have in this world after God. No m[ore from m]e at this [time].

God send your grace [long life an]d your heart’sde[sires].

By your humble and loving sister, Mary Queen of France.

To the King my brother this be delivered, in haste.’

Brandon’s letter to Henry VIII shows Mary’s determination not to be remarried to a foreign prince, but to take a husband of her own choosing.

‘Sir, so it is that when I came to Paris the Queen was in hand with me the first day I [came], and said she must be short with me and [open] to me her pleasure and mind; and so she b[egan] and show how good lady [she] was to me, and if I would be ordered by her she would never have none but me. … She showed me she had wyerelle und[erstood] as well by Friar Langglay and Friar Fr … dar that and yewar sche cam in Ynggyll[and she sho]uld newar have me; and ther for sche … wr that and I wold not marre her … have me nor never come to [England] When I heard her say so I showed … plied that but to prove me with, and she … would not you knew well that my coming … it was showed her … and I axsed her wat [it] was; and she said that the best in France had [said] unto her that, and she went into England, she should go into Flanders. To the which she said that she had rather to be torn in pieces than ever she should come there, and with that wept. Sir, I never saw woman so weep; and when I saw [that] I showed unto her grace that there was none such thing [upon] my faith, with the best words J could: but in none ways I could make her to believe it. And when I saw that, I showed her grace that, and her grace would be content to write unto your grace and to obtain your good will, I would be content; or else I durst not, because I had made unto your grace such a promise. Whereunto, in conclusion, she said, ‘If the King my brother is content and the French King both, the tone by his letters and the todar by his words, that I should have [y]ou, I will have the time after my desire, or else I may well think that the words of … in these parts and of them in England [be] true and that is that you are come to tyes me home (?) [to the in]tent that I may be married into Fland[ers], which I will never, to die for it; and so [I posse]ssed the French King ar you cam (?); and th[at if] you will not be content to follow [my] end, look never after this d[ay to have] the proffer again.’ And, Sir, I …  in that case and I thought … but rather to put me … than to lyes all, and so I gra … an too; and so she and I was ma[rried] … and but ten persons, of the which [neither Sir Richard] Wyngfyld nor Master Dyne (Dean) was not [present] on my faith; for she would that I should [not take] them on council, for she said and I did [so] … she thought they would give mo couns[el] to the contrary; and therefore they know not of it, nor that the writing of this letter, on my faith and truth.”’

Brandon’s frantic letter to Henry VIII show’s that Mary took possession of the situation and was prepared to act in order to have what she wanted – her freedom of choice. She was determined to have her brother’s best friend for her second husband, rather than be used again as a bargaining tool for another political alliance with a foreign country.

Mary was not a helpless, meek princess needing to be rescued by a knight in shining armour. Instead she was a cunning woman who took her life into her own hands and forged her own destiny. Mary’s marriage to Brandon was calculated.  It stopped any chance that Francis I might have had of using her for his own political ends. It also stopped any potential marriages that Henry VIII may have planned for his sister. She gambled her brother’s love and ultimately came up winning. Mary was married to the handsome, greatly respected and beloved Duke of Suffolk, one of the most powerful men in England, as well as retaining her brother’s love and affection. If Mary’s marriage to Charles Brandon is written as a fairy tale then it must be regarded as the story that Mary wrote for herself.

You can find her book on Amazon:

Amazon – US

Amazon – UK

Sources:

Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII, 1509–47, ed. J. S. Brewer, James Gairdner and R. H. Brodie, (His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1862–1932).

Loades, David, Mary Rose (Gloucestershire: Amberley Publishing, 2012).

Mumby, F, The Youth of Henry VIII: A Narrative in Contemporary Letters (Boston New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1913).

Richardson, Walter C., Mary Tudor The White Queen (Great Britain: University of Washington Press, 1970).

Author Bio:

Sarah Bryson is a researcher, writer and educator who has a Bachelor of Early Childhood
Education with Honours. She currently works with children with disabilities. She is
passionate about Tudor history and has a deep interest in Mary Tudor, Charles Brandon,
Duke of Suffolk and the reign of Henry VIII and the people of his court. She has run a
website dedicated to Tudor history for many years and has written for various websites
including ‘On the Tudor Trail’ and ‘QueenAnneBoleyn’. She has been studying primary
sources to tell the story of Mary Tudor for a decade. Sarah lives in Australia, enjoys reading,
writing and Tudor costume enactment.

Links:

Website: https://sarah-bryson.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SarahBryson44/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarahBryson44

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Reine-Blanche-Mary-Tudor-Letters/dp/1445673886/ref=sr_1_19?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1503666367&sr=1-19&cn=bWVzc2FnZQ%3D%3D&refsrc=email

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Book Review: “Mary Tudor” by Tony Riches

Jane Seymour (10)

Last year I read all three books in the trilogy by author Tony Riches about the Tudor dynasty. Book One was about a Owen Tudor, second husband of Catherine of Valois and stepfather to King Henry VI. Book Two was about Jasper Tudor, half-brother of King Henry VI and uncle of the future Henry VII. The final book, Book Three was about Henry Tudor and his struggle to become King of England. After finishing the trilogy on the Tudor dynasty Riches decided to try his hand at Mary Tudor, Queen of France and sister to King Henry VIII.

The love story of Mary and Charles Brandon has always intrigued me. A man whose family had been mostly servants and who was raised to Duke of Suffolk married the sister of the King in a secret ceremony in France. This unauthorized act would by a subject of Henry would usually end with the participants locked in the Tower of London, or worse yet, executed. Luckily for Mary and Charles they were both favorites of Henry and he merely fined them.

When the couple were finally allowed to return to England, Henry VIII insisted that they have a public ceremony at Greenwich Palace. He did not wish for his favorite sister’s future children to be declared illegitimate – they would be, after all, in the line of succession.

This story is wonderfully told by Riches as the life of an English princess who only wished to do what was right. Mary was loyal to those close to her, none more than to Katherine of Aragon during the King’s Great Matter. Mary despised her former maid of honor, Anne Boleyn and wanted nothing more than to see her good friend regain her position.

Unfortunately for Mary her life wasn’t always rainbows and butterflies. She lost a son after a freak accident and then she herself became extremely ill and would be unable to see her daughters Frances and ELeanor give her grandchildren.

If you love to read about the women of the Tudor dynasty I highly recommend you buy this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and cannot wait for the author’s next book about Charles Brandon.

If you’d like to pick up a copy of the book it is available on Amazon.

Amazon – US

Amazon – UK

Book Cover of Mary ~ Tudor Princess

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Evidence Against the Marriage of Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves

evidence-against-the-marriage-of-henry-viii-and-anne-of-cleves

Here we look at all the King’s men and their given depositions regarding the validity of the marriage between Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves. It gives us an interesting insight into each of their statements.

We recently looked at Thomas Cromwell: Downfall and Execution and the events of his decline – now we look at what happened after his execution. How Henry VIII wished to rid himself of his fourth wife with the help of his closest courtiers: Suffolk, Wriothesley, Audley, Russell, Browne, Hennage, Denny, Cobham, two doctors and the ladies, Rutland, Rochford and Edgecomb.

We’ll look at letters to understand how everything played out in this saga, firstly one that is labeled, “The Deposition of Henry VIII”:

That after the Queen was brought to Greenwich, at her first arrival, in order to ascertain whether such promises as were made for the clearing of the espousals or marriage between the Queen and the duke of Lorraine were performed, the King had put off the espousing of the Queen two days, and the same evening entered communication by his counsel with them that were her conductors as to “what they had brought in that matter”; who said they had brought nothing at all in writing. Yet at Windsor it was promised that the said espousals should be clearly put out of doubt; and thereupon Dr. Wotton, then resident at Cleves, was instructed to solicit the clearing thereof, “as he, brought forth before the ambassadors, avouched that he had done.” Yet the conductors of the Queen made a light matter of it, saying that it was done in their minority and had never after taken any effect. At which the King was marvellously discontent, and would have stayed the solemnization, but that the conductors of the Queen promised shortly after their return home to send such a discharge as should put all out of doubt. This promise not only have they not fulfilled, but they have sent such a writing for discharge (not being authentic) as puts the matter in much more doubt, “couching the words of that sort that th’espousals by them spoken of to have been made long ago may be taken for espousals not only de futuro but also de presenti.” Thus “it appeareth plainly the King’s marriage not to be cleared as was promised, but to remain more intrykyd, and the condition of the clearing thereof, put always thereunto by the King’s Majesty, not to be fulfilled in any wise by them that so promised.”

Signed: Thomas Audeley, Chauncellor: T. Cantuariensis: T. Norfolk: Charlys Soffolke: W. Southampton: Cuthbert Duresme.
In Tunstall’s hand, pp. 3.

‘Henry VIII: July 1540, 1-10’, in Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 15, 1540, ed. James Gairdner and R H Brodie (London, 1896), pp. 412-436.



The King’s good friend, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk gave his take on the matter and said:

Charles Brandon Photo Christie's Images Ltd 2011
Charles Brandon Photo Christie’s Images Ltd 2011

In the beginning of the treaty he noted specially that the King constantly affirmed that he would do nothing in the matter of the marriage unless the precontract between the lady Anne of Cleves and the marquis of Lorraine were first cleared. Whereupon the commissioners of the dukes of Saxe and Cleves promised on her coming to England to bring the full and evident clearing thereof, which they did not. The King, not content to be so handled, and as earnest as before to have that matter cleared, deferred the solemnization from Sunday until Tuesday “to compass the end; wherein, the earl of Essex travailed with the King’s Highness apart, and so that matter passed over.” He saw that the King liked not the Queen‘s person, and thought that the King “would have been glad if the solemnization might then to the world have been disappointed, without note of breach of his Highness’s behalf.” Signed.

‘Henry VIII: July 1540, 1-10’, in Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 15, 1540, ed. James Gairdner and R H Brodie (London, 1896), pp. 412-436.

So with that we are to understand that all along there was concern about a precontract between Anne of Cleves and the Marquis of Lorraine and the King wished to have that cleared up before she came to England – it apparently had not.

The Lord Privy Seal, William FitzWilliam, 1st Earl of Southampton had the following deposition:

Portrait of William Fitzwilliam, Earl of Southampton, by Hans Holbein the Younger
Portrait of William Fitzwilliam, Earl of Southampton, by Hans Holbein the Younger

That, when admiral, he received the Queen at Calais. Upon first sight of her, considering it was no time to dispraise her whom so many had by reports and painting so much extolled, he did by his letters much praise her and was very sorry to perceive the King, upon sight of her, so to mislike her person. The earl of Essex laid sore to his charge that he had so much “praised the Queen by his letters from Calais” and declared his intention to turn the King’s miscontentment upon him. He answered he thought his praise to good purpose if he could have done any good by it, the matter being so far passed. He was sorry to see the King proceed so coldly with the marriage, the solemnization being deferred from Sunday to Tuesday, “and much fault found for the clearing of the precontract and want of a commission;” the ending of which controversy the earl of Essex, repairing secretly to the King, did procure; but what he said to the King the Earl cannot tell. That, eight days after the marriage, the earl of Essex told him that “the Queen was then a maid for the King’s Highness,” who had no affection for her; and a little before Easter the King declared to him that the marriage had not been consummated. Signed.

‘Henry VIII: July 1540, 1-10’, in Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 15, 1540, ed. James Gairdner and R H Brodie (London, 1896), pp. 412-436.

 Next we look at John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford and his words on the matter when he was Lord High Admiral – Bedford would later take Cromwell’s position of Lord Privy Seal:
John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford, by Hans Holbein the Younger; Royal Collection, Windsor Castle
John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford, by Hans Holbein the Younger; Royal Collection, Windsor Castle
That he saw the King at his first view of the Queen at Rochester marvellously astonished and abashed. And the next day the King asked him if he thought the woman so fair and of such beauty as report had been made of her; to which he answered that he took her not for fair but to be of a brown complexion; and the King said, “Alas, whom should men trust? I promise you I see no such thing in her as hath been showed unto me of her, and am ashamed that men hath so praised her as they have done, and I like her not.” I saw his Highness was sore troubled at the time. All which matter he told to Sir Anthony Browne, who declared that the King had shewed the like to him. Signed: J. Russell, L. A.

‘Henry VIII: July 1540, 1-10’, in Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 15, 1540, ed. James Gairdner and R H Brodie (London, 1896), pp. 412-436.

Sir Anthony Browne was the Master of Horse to Henry VIII and surely had a close relationship with the King – here we look at his take on the first meeting between Henry and Anne, the famous meeting where Henry felt rebuffed by his future wife. Browne also mentions how he had seen her before the King and also thought she did not look like her portrait, but he had not warned Henry of his find. Plus Browne’s wife had nothing polite to say about Anne either, as you’ll see.

Sir Anthony Browne after Unknown artist, line engraving, possibly late 18th century NPG D24235
Sir Anthony Browne after Unknown artist, line engraving, possibly late 18th century NPG D24235

That being sent to the Queen at Rochester by the King on new year’s day with a message that he had brought her a new years’ gift, he was never more dismayed in all his life to see the lady so far unlike that which was reported; but on his return he said nothing of this to the King; nor durst not. When the King entered to embrace and kiss her, he noted on his countenance a discontentment and misliking of her person, and the King tarried not to speak with her twenty words. The King that night deferred sending the presents that he had prepared for her, viz., a partlet furred with sables and sable skins for her neck, with a muffler furred and a cap, but sent them in the morning by Sir Anthony with a cold message. When returning from Rochester to Greenwich in his barge, the King said to him very sadly and pensively, “I see nothing in this woman as men report of her, and I marvel that wise men would make such report as they have done.” At which he was abashed, fearing for his brother, the earl of Southampton, who had written in her praise.

That lady Browne, his wife, departed, who was appointed to wait upon the Queen, told him before the marriage how she saw in the Queen such fashion and manner of bringing up so gross that in her judgment the King should never heartily love her. That on the evening before the marriage he heard the King say he had a great yoke to enter into, and the next morning the King prepared himself so slackly for chapel that he showed he went to do an act to which he was not moved by his entire and hearty consent, and said to the earl of Essex some words which seemed to mean that “he must needs.”

By the King’s behaviour before and after the marriage he judgeth that the King did never in his heart favour the lady to marry her if outward respects had not enforced him to that act. Signed: Antone Browne.

‘Henry VIII: July 1540, 1-10’, in Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 15, 1540, ed. James Gairdner and R H Brodie (London, 1896), pp. 412-436.

 

A Gentleman of Henry’s Privy Chamber by the name of Sir Thomas Heneage mentions what he heard the King say:

Ever since the King saw the Queen he had never liked her; and said as often as he went to bed to her, he mistrusted the Queen‘s virginity, by reason of the looseness of her breasts and other tokens; and the marriage had never been consummated. Signed.

‘Henry VIII: July 1540, 1-10’, in Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 15, 1540, ed. James Gairdner and R H Brodie (London, 1896), pp. 412-436.



As a prominent member of Henry VIII’s Privy Chamber, Anthony Denny was a confidant of the King’s, he essentially reiterated what Heneage said:

Probably a portrait of Sir Anthony Denny. Some people however say it is Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey.
Probably a portrait of Sir Anthony Denny. Some people however say it is Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey.

That he had continually praised the Queen to the King, who did not approve such praises, “but said ever she was no such as she was praised for,” and afterwards upon continual praisings the King told him, as a confidential servant, that he could not induce himself to have affection for her, for she was not as reported and had her breasts so slack and other parts of her body in such sort, that he suspected her virginity, and that he could never consummate the marriage. In reply he lamented the state of princes to be far worse than that of poor men who could choose for themselves. This communication, he thinks, was before Lent; and the King has since said things to the same effect. Signed

‘Henry VIII: July 1540, 1-10’, in Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 15, 1540, ed. James Gairdner and R H Brodie (London, 1896), pp. 412-436.

Thomas Wriothesley was one of two of the King’s principal secretaries – he arguably had as close of a relationship to the King that Cromwell had — this deposition from Wriothesley gives us a look at conversations that the two men had while Cromwell still lived…of course Cromwell is not around to defend himself.

Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton by Holbein Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York.
Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton by Holbein Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York.

Detailing two conversations he had with lord Cromwell [the earl of Essex] in June last. On June 6th or 7th, when lord Cromwell came home to Austin Friars from the Court, he told him (Sir T.) that one thing rested in his head which troubled him, that the King liked not the Queen, nor did ever like her from the beginning, and that the marriage had not been consummated. He (Sir T.) said he thought some way might be devised to relieve the King, to which lord Cromwell answered that it was a great matter. The next day he asked lord Cromwell to devise some way for the relief of the King, for if he remained in this grief and trouble, they should all one day smart for it. To which lord Cromwell answered that it was true, but that it was a great matter. “Marry,” said Sir T., “I grant, but let the remedy be searched for.” “Well,” said lord Cromwell, and then brake off from him. Signed.
Hol., pp.
2.

‘Henry VIII: July 1540, 1-10’, in Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 15, 1540, ed. James Gairdner and R H Brodie (London, 1896), pp. 412-436.

When it came time to discuss whether or not the marriage was consummated we look at Henry’s doctors and the ladies that were near Anne of Cleves.

609px-hans_holbein_d-_j-_043-1
Dr. John Chambre
Dr. Butts
Dr. Butts

Henry’s doctors, Dr. John Chambre and Dr. William Butts both gave their evidence to the non-consummation of the marriage. Henry was said to tell Butts that although he was unable to perform with Anne that he had “two wet dreams”. This proved that it was not Henry’s fault that Anne had failed to excite and provoke any lust in him.

Next we have the deposition of the ladies that Anne confessed the non-consummation of the marriage. Eleanor Paston, Countess of Rutland reported that when Anne was asked if she could be with child she said to her “When he comes to bed he kisseth me, and he taketh me by the hand, and biddeth me ‘Good night, sweetheart’; and in the morning kisseth me and biddeth ‘Farewell, darling’.” She responded to Anne, “Madam, there must be more than this, or it will be long ere we have a duke of York, which all this realm most desireth.” (Weir, Alison; Six Wives of Henry VIII)

It’s interesting to look at all the statements made here and makes one wonder if things had gone differently upon their first meeting would they have stayed married? Do you believe that Henry was not attracted to Anne and that’s what it boiled down to? I’d love to see some discussion on this. I am no expert on Anne but truly enjoy gathering evidence on her story.


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