11 November 1534 – An important mission for George Boleyn

Philippe de Chabot
On 11th November 1534, Philippe de Chabot, Seigneur De Brion and Admiral of France, landed on English soil. The purpose of the diplomatic mission he was leading was to renew Anglo-French relations. George Boleyn, Lord Rochford and brother of Queen Anne Boleyn, was chosen to meet the Admiral and escort him from Dover to London.

As Clare Cherry and I point out in our biography of George Boleyn, England had become “more and more isolated from her European cousins” due to Henry VIII’s annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, his break with Rome and his marriage to Anne Boleyn, so this French embassy was hugely significant.

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Also on this day in history, 11th November 1541, the king’s council sent Archbishop Thomas Cranmer a letter giving him instructions to move Queen Catherine Howard from Hampton Court Palace to Syon House, formerly Syon Abbey. Click here to read more.

Today is also Armistice Day, the day we remember those who have died, whether in the armed forces or as civilians, in wars and conflicts. Click here to read more about how this is marked in the UK.

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3 thoughts on “11 November 1534 – An important mission for George Boleyn”
  1. It is so very sad that in the next year and a half the Boleyns are going to be destroyed by the King and Cromwell because of Henry’s determination for a male heir and others at court who are jealous of the family’s power and influence. I am amazed that there are constantly factions at court who are jealous of other’s success and don’t learn from their predecessors that they could just as quickly become the next targets.

  2. This visit was designed to go wrong. The Duke and Duchess of Suffolk were appointed to entertain the Ambassador and his train at their home. Suffolk entertained him so well for two weeks that he failed to attend a banquet offered in his honour by Queen Anne Boleyn. Suffolk was clearly hoping to influence his guests by overwhelming them with kindness. Anne was not amused. They attended a grand banquet by the King at which Anne acted bizarrely. In the discussion later it was made clear that Francis would only offer his eldest son the Dauphan to his legitimate daughter, Princess Mary and not to Elizabeth, whom Henry now promoted as his heir. She was offered King Francis ‘s third son instead. This was not what Henry expected. It all went down like a led balloon.

    Henry would come to see Anne as a liability, but for now he still hoped for a son with her. It was only after her last miscarriage and his own accident and change of personality that Henry turned against Anne and her enemies found a way to bring her down. The rise of the Seymours gave him a way to annul his wife, something he explored, to remarry, in this case Jane Seymour and have sons. Even now, with doubts being pressed about the legitimacy of his new wife and his new daughter, Henry had rows with Anne, blaming her for his problems. Henry still had affairs but only when Anne was pregnant but she fought with him over this and was rebuked to keep her place. Henry was no longer patient but he was committed to Anne and they were still very much a power team and looking forward to their marriage being fruitful. This is shown by their ambition to marry Elizabeth to the French King’s heir, just as Mary had once been promised to him. Henry and Anne are still working together to the benefit of their first born child whom they both adore and for a new alliance to protect themselves and England from attack under the terms of Henry’s Excommunication. This rebuff must have been a smack in the face. It is no wonder that fresh doubts surfaced.

    1. That makes sense indeed, even if of course, the royal pair were very aware of how uncomfortable their position towards the christian world.
      Chapuys insists on french admiral’s cold behavior when faced the english sovereigns.
      But,it was a step on the french king’s side, rather (well, it’s just my opinion).
      Philippe Chabot was a very close friend of his – and, which is more a childhood one (and closely related too, since he had married the very niece of king Francis, ie his half sister’s daughter, Françoise de Longwy, dame de Buzançais, the said sister Jeanne of Orléans having been legitimated after her father’s death) .
      The french king, was Charles V’s brother-in-law and would certainly not disavow this latter’s cousin, Princess Mary Tudor by accepting a match between his heirson and Mary’s rival to the english crown.
      The french king could directly not support Henry’s and Anne’s hasty projects, it is a fact.
      But, his game was never to choose between his “friends and rivals” (Henry VIII and ‘Charles V), which would have been very naive indeed, I guess.
      To KH’s sister, she had probably remained on good terms with the french ambassador.
      Even if her stay as queen of France had been quite short-lived, she knew lord Chabot perfectly, as he was already a major figure at french court (it was long before his military failures laid way to more gifted soldiers, such as the duke of Montmorency and others – but, well, unfortunate militaries can turn to good ambassadors after all)
      Mary née Tudor and her husband had no reason to complain about the french sovereign’s benevolence when Charles Brandon planned to marry the widowed queen.
      So,I too would say that it was far from the beginning of the end for Anne Boleyn.
      The imperial envoy certainly saw noon at his door when concluding that the french position was that unfavorable to the new english queen

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