15 June 1536 – Mary should be beaten to death

Posted By on June 15, 2017

On this day in history, 15th June 1536, a week after she had reached out to her father Henry VIII in a letter, twenty-year-old Mary received a visit at Hunsdon from members of the king’s council led by Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk.

Rather than informing her that the king was willing to receive his estranged daughter back at court, Mary was threatened by these men, allegedly being told by one that “Were she his or any other man’s daughter, he would beat her to death, or strike her head against the wall until he made it as soft as a boiled apple.” Mary must have been incredibly shaken up by this visit and it is little wonder that her dear friend, Eustace Chapuys, the imperial ambassador, feared for her life and was able to persuade her to submit to her father’s wishes, recognising the annulment of her parents’ marriage and her father’s supremacy.

You can click here to read more about the visit and what Chapuys did. Poor, poor Mary.

Also on this day in history…

  • 1519 – The traditional birthdate of Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset, and the illegitimate son of Henry VIII. Click here to read more about him.
  • 1560 – The death of William Somer (Sommers), former court fool to Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I, in Shoreditch, London. He was buried at St Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch. Click here to read more about Somer.

4 thoughts on “15 June 1536 – Mary should be beaten to death”

  1. Banditqueen says:

    This is truly shocking, a mere subject telling Mary, a King’s daughter, recognised as legitimate or not, she is higher than these men that he would literally bash her brains in is akin to treason and he probably didn’t have any authority to say this. The delegation were ordered to warn Mary that she must accept what the King wanted and accept his will and she must sign the document, even to warn her that Henry may proceed legally against her, not to directly threaten to beat her to death. Her intelligence also showed as Mary gave a good account of herself to their questions and arguments. She must have been shocked, however in this direct attack in response to the letter she had sent to her father and was traumatised afterwards. Eustace Chapuys was most definitely one to be watching over Mary and he was right to be concerned for her safety. He did the right thing in gently persuading her to sign.

  2. Christine says:

    Mary was brave and stoic and did not let these bully boys of her father intimidate her, but she must have been shocked to hear those words, wether they were reported back to Henry is unknown but I’m sure he would have been enraged to hear how his daughter was threatened, she had been waiting for a warm reply to the letter she had written him and instead was faced by a group of older men who had been told in no uncertain terms that she had to sign his document concerning his first marriage and her legitimacy, Mary’s naivety in underestimating her fathers reaction to her stubbornness is reminiscent of her mothers belief that Henry would one day forsake Anne Boleyn and return to her, the both possesses the same narrow mindedness regarding their situation, Mary could do nothing but sign and for this one gesture she was allowed back to court and in her fathers good books, but this one act broke her it was something her mother had fought against since the day Henry told her their marriage Beas not valid since she had been married to Arthur, in one hand she had signed away her very right to the crown but she was embraced in the bosom of her father again, what a price to pay, she must have thought, her mentor and dear friend Chapyus was pleased as he was concerned for this wayward girl who he feared would be in very hot water otherwise, she could have ended up in the Tower, we can sympathise with this unhappy woman who should have been happily married with babies instead of being forced to sign a legal document that threw her inheritance away, however the fact that years later Henry put her back in the succession proves that this one act was pointless, the same for Elizabeth newly bastardised, these two daughters of Henry V111 both suffered through their fathers marital problems and fickle nature, in the end they both inherited the crown but at a cost, it was only his adored little son who he lavished such love and care upon, his daughters it must have seemed to them both, that it was a case of out of sight, out of mind.

    1. Claire says:

      Mary must have felt that she was selling her soul to the devil. It must have felt like a betrayal of everything her mother fought against and a betrayal of her faith. I’m sure her health suffered as a result of this crisis of conscience. It is very sad that her future happiness was dashed by her father, when, as you say, she could have been married by this point. She was responsible for some awful atrocities later, but her estrangement from her parents and her treatment must have had such an effect on her.

      1. Banditqueen says:

        Hi Claire, from the sunny Wye Valley, I am with you there. Mary should have been properly betrothed when she was a child as she was to the Dauphan of France but Henry kept swapping alliances, but he could have still made a good marriage for Mary. This may have doubled up as an answer to his heir problems as if Mary had a son, he could succeed. Mary was a devout Catholic, as was Katherine of course, so I agree, she must have felt terrible about being forced to betray all they both believed in. Henry had believed all this once upon a time, until he couldn’t get his own way with the divorce and then hey presto the Pope is public enemy no one. O.K yes it was more complex but that I think was the essential thing. I also agree her health problems stem from all of this. Mary had great potential as a ruler and Henry really should have seen it, but he believed quite fiercely that only a son would do and his marriage to Katherine was cursed as he didn’t have one. Now he thought his marriage to Anne had gone the same way, but he went another way with Anne as accusing your poor wife with adultery is more convenient. Henry wouldn’t let go of the Supremacy either as it gave him too much power. What a terrible shame he couldn’t be more secure as a man as it would have made him a better King and allowed his daughter to have a proper royal life.

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