Francis I
Francis I

On 21st October 1532, Henry VIII left Anne Boleyn in Calais to spend four days with Francis I, “his beloved brother”, at the French court in Boulogne.

When Henry and Anne’s trip to Calais had first been planned, Anne had wanted to attend the meeting at the French court in Boulogne as Henry’s consort. She had hoped that she would be treated as Queen and that she would at least meet Francis’ sister, Marguerite of Angoulême, if Francis’ wife, Eleanor, who was a niece of Catherine of Aragon, would not attend. However, Francis I did not want his sister to be compromised in any way by meeting a woman who was seen as the King of England’s mistress, so he suggested the attendance of the Duchess of Vendôme, a woman of “regrettable reputation and light morals who therefore had no dignity left to preserve.” When Anne heard this, she made the decision to stay behind in Calais and then meet with Francis I when he travelled back with Henry on 25th October.

Click here to read more about Henry’s meeting with Francis.

Also on this day in history…

  • 1536 – Lancaster Herald, on nearing Pontefract Castle, encountered a group of armed peasants. The peasants explained that they were armed “to prevent the ‘comontte’ and Church being destroyed; for, they said no man should bury, christen, wed, or have beasts unmarked without paying a tax and forfeiting the beast unmarked to the King’s use.” Rebel leader Robert Aske then met with Lancaster Herald at Pontefract Castle. Aske refused to let the Herald read out the proclamation which told of how the Lincolnshire rebels had submitted, and declared that he and his people were intent on staying true to their cause and would be marching on London. Lancaster Herald reiterated that he was required to read his proclamation to the people but Aske would not let him and instead offered him safe conduct out of the castle and town.

Related Post

8 thoughts on “21 October 1532 – Anne Boleyn Stays in Calais while Henry VIII meets with Francis I”
  1. Claire, do you (are any Anne Boleyn File member) know of any good, modern biographies written about Francis? I can’t seem to find a really good one. Francis has always fascinated me, but Ive really only learned about him through tv shows like The Tudors and through books about Henry.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hello, Lady Princess, I have a couple: I do not think they are very modern, but I will make a note of them and get back to you.

        1. Hello Lady Princess: sorry for delay in getting back, but these are the books that I have at home; and I can confirm tha they are not vey modern: however a new biograthy is due out in 2016, but that is a time off yet. I have also checked and these are available on Amazon market and one on prime.

          Prince of the Renaissance the Golden Age of Francois I by Desmond Seward 1973

          Francis I by R J Knecht 1984 and 1992.

          Renaissance Warrior and Patron The Reign of Francis I by R.J Knecht 1996

          Renaissance Monarchy Reigns of Henry VIII, Francis I and Charles V by Glen Richardson 2002

          Hope it helps; as I said they are not up to date but still good books, and vary in price. The last one is quite expensive.

          Good luck, hope you find what you are looking for.

          Lyn-Marie Banditqueen

  2. While I can understand Francois wanting to protect his sister and not compromise her by treating Anne as Queen when she was still Henry’s official mistress, although Henry wanted to present her as his future consort and future queen, the mere idea of him being worried about anyone’s reputation is great; here is a man of the Tudor period, mistress around every corner (well not quite) a King with a reputation for the ladies, even more so than Henry, and he is worried about presenting Anne as his English brother’s future wife? Oh but of course, the double standard! I can fully understand that his niece and other ladies would not want to meet Anne, given that they probably felt sympathy for his legitimate wife Catherine of Aragon, but then to ask someone with a ‘regrettable’ reputation to meet her instead of his wife and his neice, that just adds poison to the wound. Anne must have felt really insulted and isolated. Even though she received Francis at Calais and they had a good time; this visit was not quite going to plan. Never mind, she could put all that aside soon and take her place as queen. Francis was also meant to have promised to further their cause with the Papacy but did not keep his promise, and in reality, how could he; it would have put him and his kingdom under papal censor.

    1. I’ve often wondered how Anne felt about Francis having his mistress meet her instead of his wife and sister.

      By Francis doing this it was like he was making the statement that Anne was nothing more than Henry’s glorified mistress. A title which Anne had vehemently tried to avoid.

      I know that Anne knew and admired Marguerite of Angoulême so for Marguerite to have snubbed her most have been very hurtful to Anne. It’s the equivalent of someone looking up to their favorite celebrity only to have their illusions dashed when that celebrity ignores/insults them in some way.

      We also know that Anne was fond of French customs so to have been given such an icy reception in France (a place where she spent a good deal of her growing up years in) must have been quite a devastating experience for her.

      I think this situation must have had an impact on Anne in some way. It must have made her more determined to become Queen.

      1. I should ask –since my knowledge of Francis is a bit limited– is there any evidence to prove that the Duchess of Vendôme was ever (at least) an unofficial mistress to Francis?

        I know that she was Marguerite’s sister in law, would that in anyway have influenced Francis from not “courting” her?”

      2. I’m not sure Anne’s overall impression would have been to be mortally offended by the ‘snub’ of Marguerite’s non-appearance. This was of course in general terms a huge triumph for Anne – accompanying Henry as his de facto consort after a long period of inertia in the Great Matter and being feted by Francis would I’m sure have been compensation enough for any details of the trip that might not have been perfect.

        I’m not sure that there’s any definite evidence that either Francis or Marguerite truly intended to snub Anne. There’s also the international politics of the time to bear in mind – Francis was at the time negotiating for the marriage between his middle son and the pope’s niece, so he had to avoid ruffling feathers. Presumably if he really wished to snub Anne he’d have refused to meet her at all…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *