21 October 1532 – Henry VIII left Anne Boleyn in Calais while he met with Francis I

Francis I and Henry VIII
Francis I and Henry VIII

On Monday 21st October 1532, according to Edward Hall’s Chronicle and Wynkyn de Worde’s The Maner of the tryumphe of Caleys and Bulleyn, Henry VIII left Anne Boleyn in Calais to spend four days with Francis I, “his beloved brother”, at the French court in Boulogne.

Hall describes how Henry was “accompaignied with the Dukes of Norffolke and Suffolke, and with the Marquesses of Dorcet and Excester, the Erles of Arundell, Oxford, Surrey, Essex, Derby, Rutlande, Huntyngdon, and Sussex, and diuerse Viscountes, Barons, Knightes of the Garter, and Gentlemen, freshely appareled, and richly trimmed”1 and Wynkyn de Worde2 adds that there were seven score men accompanying the King, all dressed in velvet coats. The two kings met at Sandingfield, as arranged. Hall describes how Henry VIII was wearing a “cote of great riches, in braides of golde laied lose on Russet Veluet, and set with Traifoyles, full of pearle and stone”, while Francis I wore “a coate of crimosin veluet, all to cut, lined with slender cloth of gold plucked out through the cuttes.”3 The Kings embraced and after drinking each other’s health they processed on to Boulogne.

When the Kings had got within a mile of Boulogne, they were met by Francis I’s three sons (the Dauphin, the Duke of Orléans and the Duke of Angoulême), the Admiral of France and three cardinals (Wynkyn de Worde says four). Francis I said to his sons, “My children, I am your father, but to this Prince here you are as much bound, as to me your
naturall father, for he redemed me and you from captivitie: wherfore on my blessyng I charge you to be to hym louyng alwaies.”4 Henry VIII then embraced the three princes. As the party arrived at Calais, there was “a greate shot of Artilery” which, apparently, could be heard twenty miles away.

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.”5 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.

As I said in my post about Anne and Henry setting sail, the main purpose of this trip was for Henry and Anne to gain Francis I’s public recognition and approval of their relationship. Henry wanted Francis to then meet with the Pope and push the case for the annulment of Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

Notes and Sources

  1. Hall’s Chronicle, Edward Hall, printed for J. Johnson in London (1809), p790
  2. The Maner of the tryumphe of Caleys and Bulleyn and The noble tryumphaunt coronacyon of Quene Anne, wyfe unto the most noble kynge Henry VIII, Wynkyn de Worde, edited by Edmund Goldsmid (1884), p8
  3. Hall, p791
  4. Ibid.
  5. Two Gentleman Poets at the Court of Henry VIII, Edmond Bapst, translated into English by J.A. Macfarlane, translated and edited by Claire Ridgway (2013)

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