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2 January 1536 – Chapuys arrives at the dying Catherine of Aragon’s bedside

Posted By on January 2, 2016

Catherine of AragonOn 2nd January 1536, Eustace Chapuys, the imperial ambassador, arrived at the dying Catherine of Aragon’s bedside in Kimbolton Castle. He wrote to Emperor Charles V on 9th January of his four-day visit to Catherine:

“As I stated in my despatch of the 30th of December ult°., almost immediately after closing it I mounted my horse in order to repair in all possible haste to the Queen’s residence, followed by a numerous suite of my own servants and friends. Arrived at Kimbolton, the Queen sent immediately for me; and lest people should imagine that her illness was a feint, and also for fear of a friend of Cromwell’s whom that secretary had sent to accompany me, or rather to act as a spy on my movements and report what I might say or do during my visit, she (the Queen) was of opinion – as I also was – that the said guide, as well as the principal officers of her household, such as her own chamberlain, who had not seen her for more than a year, and many others, should witness the interview. After making my reverence, and kissing the Queen’s hand, she was pleased, out of sheer kindness and benevolence, and without any occasion or merit it on my part, to thank me for the many services which, she said, I had rendered her on former occasions, as well as the trouble I had taken in coming down to visit her, at a time too when, if it should please God to take her to Himself, it would at least be a consolation to die as it were in my arms, and not all alone like a beast.

I failed not to give her on this occasion all possible hope of a speedy recovery, as well as of the prospect there was of her being shortly removed to other quarters, since the King, of his own accord, had recently offered to let her choose among various royal manors of his own that he named to me, and likewise to pay certain arrears of pension due to her, adding for her greater consolation that the King had been very sorry to hear of her illness.

After this I entreated her to take courage, and do her best to get well. If not entirely for her own sake, I said she ought at least to consider that on her recovery and life depended in a great measure the union, peace, and welfare of Christendom, To enforce which, I made use of several arguments. as previously preconcerted between her and myself, through the intermediary of a third person, all this being said aloud that the guide I have alluded to, and several others present at the interview, might, if necessary, report our conversation, and my words be the cause of greater care being taken to preserve her life.

After some more conversation on the above topics the Queen bade me retire and rest after the fatigues of my journey. She herself longed for some, as she had not slept two hours for the last six days. Not long after this she again sent for me, and we talked together for two long hours; and I must say that although, for fear of overtiring her, I made several attempts to get up and leave the room, she would not hear of it, saying that I afforded her great pleasure and consolation by remaining where I was.”

You can read the rest of Chapuys’ letter in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, on the British History Online website. Chapuys visited Catherine every afternoon for two hours over four days and left for London on 6th January 1536, believing her to be on the mend.

Catherine of Aragon died on 7th January 1536 and you can read more about her last days in my article The Death of Catherine of Aragon.

Notes and Sources

11 thoughts on “2 January 1536 – Chapuys arrives at the dying Catherine of Aragon’s bedside”

  1. LINDA FOX says:

    HELLO
    I WAS WONDERING IF YOU HEARD THE NEWS FROM CANADA THAT IT CAN NOW BE CONFIRMED THAT KATHERINE PARR WROTE THE MAJORITY OF THE ANGLICAN BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER WHICH IS STILL USED ANGLICAN CHURCH TODAY .

    1. Claire says:

      Linda,
      Do you mean the article http://www.cbc.ca/radio/tapestry/a-prayer-a-sin-an-arranged-marriage-1.3297125/how-two-queens-revolutionized-the-book-of-common-prayer-1.3297188
      As Duchess pointed out, it doesn’t claim that Katherine wrote the majority of the book, it just states that she wrote the Prayer to the Monarch.

  2. LINDA FOX says:

    THIS MAKES COMPLETE SENSE TO ME AS I READ IN SO MANY SOURCES THAT KATHERINE SPENT A GREAT DEAL OF TIME COMPOSING PRAYER COLLECTIONS FOR HENRY VIII . I WILL TAKE A PHOTO OF THE ARTICLE THAT CONTAINS THIS NEWS. THE BCP WAS REVISED BY QUEWEN ELIZABETH II BUT OTHER THAN THAT IT REAMINS THE SAME TEXT THAT KATHERINE WROTE .

    1. Anyanka says:

      ttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Common_Prayer

      Thomas Cramner did most of it..Although Katherine Parr published 2 books, as a woman, she would have been permitted to work on something as important as BCP.

  3. Duchess of Lancaster says:

    The article says the Prayer for the Monarch, which Elizabeth reworked a bit as the Prayer for the Queen, is pared down a little from A Prayer for the King, which Katherine Parr wrote for Henry VIII. The researcher didn’t say Katherine Parr wrote the whole Book of Common Prayer. But the Prayer for the Monarch is still in the book and still used.

    1. Claire says:

      That article says the same as the one I linked to, that Katherine was responsible for a prayer in the book and not the majority of the book. Is there another report claiming that Katherine wrote the book or has Linda misread something?

  4. Banditqueen says:

    Katherine Parr wrote a number of prayers including a national prayer for the monarchy. She could not have written the Book of Common Prayer as it was brought together in stages, being mostly the work of Cranmer and revised until we have the current one. It first appeared in 1549, to be greeted ironically with riots and revolts and then in 1552, then several revisions, the one we have now being the 1662, with further updates and minor changes by later monarchs. Elizabeth I produced a revision for example. It may include a prayer by Katherine Parr, just as other prayers were included, but people commenting that Katherine Parr wrote most of the BCP is distorting history. I have not read the article, so have no idea what it says, but people on here claiming Katherine Parr wrote Cranmers masterpiece is ridiculous. No wonder kids cannot get the information about history. Claire is presenting the facts about history and other people present invention. Articles should be read carefully, the information double checked and cited correctly. I know it’s easy to misread something, but even if any article did claim Katherine Parr as the author of the BCP it is impossible. For one thing, she died before it was published, and for another, she was a woman. It’s highly unlikely that other than a few of her prayers being included, that she would be allowed to be or accepted as the author of a major liturgical work.

  5. Banditqueen says:

    I am pleased that Katherine of Aragon had Chapyus and her friend Maria with her at the end. At least Henry allowed Chapyus to be with his queen, to comfort her and he was a witness. Maria had made her way through the snow, refusing to leave her side.

  6. Tisha says:

    Why didn’t king Henry the viii, let Mary see her mother knowing that she was dying? So cold and heartless

    1. Sandra says:

      I think this was because Mary did not sign the document that would announce her mothers marriage to Henry VIII nul and void and declare herself a bastard. As long as She did not do this he would not allow her to see her mother. Yeah Henry was cruel to her and I feel sad mother snd daughter did not get to say goodbye

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