26 May 1536 – Mary hopes for a reconciliation with her father

May26,2017 #Mary I

On this day in history, Friday 26th May 1536, exactly a week after the execution of Queen Anne Boleyn, her stepmother, Henry VIII’s eldest daughter, the Lady Mary, wrote to Thomas Cromwell. Mary wanted Cromwell, the king’s right-hand man, to intercede with her father on her behalf and she wanted permission to write to the king.

Mary was hoping that her relationship with her father could be mended now that her stepmother was out of the way, as she held Anne Boleyn responsible for her ill-treatment. She was wrong.

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9 thoughts on “26 May 1536 – Mary hopes for a reconciliation with her father”
  1. Mary was rather narrow minded like her mother on this one as she assumed her fathers treatment towards her was Annes fault, yet she could not see it was because of her own continued flouting of his wishes, her refusal to accept Anne as the queen, refusing to accept her new status as the Lady Mary instead of Princess Mary, refusing to acknowledge him as head of the church, when he sent some courtiers to her to tell her of her new title she wrote him a letter and it was quite stinging in its fashion, we can have sympathy for Mary, to be brought up a princess then to be told that title was stripped from you must have been devastating, yet when Henry read her letter he was incensed by it, he was her father and King, just because she was his daughter did not mean she could flout him when no one else could, More had gone to the block because he would not sign the act of supremacy, Mary was in a sense treading with fire here, she had to be bundled into the coach when she was ordered to attend Elizabeth at Hunsdon or Hatfield,( cannot remember which one) in fact ever since her mother Katherine had defied Henry on the divorce and continued to do so Mary instead of keeping neutral rather foolishly, decided to go along with her mother and defy her father also, it did not bode well for her as both were seperated from each other and she had to endure years of being apart from her mother, not even being allowed to visit her on her death bed, Katherine had been his wife and queen consort and also a princess of mighty Spain, she had powerful relations behind her, yet when she died Mary had lost the one person who had given her support, Chapyus was a great mentor yet he did not think it was wise of her to disobey her fathers wishes, as his daughter Henry must be seen to be in control, he could allow Mary to continually flout him just because the wicked stepmother was dead, Mary naively had undersetimated the situation, she had blamed Anne because it was easier to do that, she had not understood her fathers wishes and believed he had been pressured by Anne, as one biographer of Mary said, a king who allowed his daughter to defy him was no King at all, after the jubilant news that her stepmother was dead Mary exultantly wrote Cromwell a letter requesting help with Henry, and was mystified when she heard nothing, she wrote him one letter and was met with silence, she did not know how angry he was with her still and wrote him another, Henry then sent his servants to her to order her to sign the agreement that she was a bastard thus admitting her parents had never been lawfully married, and betraying her beloved mother, it was this final act that haunted her to the grave though it was made under duress, Chapyus that wise old statesman advised her to sign as he feared she would go to the block, Henrys temper was getting worse and he may have been a new bridegroom yet he was not letting nuptial bliss get in the way of his plans to finally get his stubborn daughter under his control once and for all, Mary was learning the hard way that old dad was not going to let her push him around, he loved Mary he had been a doting father and had delighted in her learning and her skill in music, yet first and foremost he was the King and as the years went by the subtle change in his character emerged as a monarch totally bent on the utmost control and obedience of his subjects, he was slowly changing from the benovelent sunny prince he had been to a more darker twisted version, to finally becoming the ultimate dread ruler of legend.

    1. I think it was easier for Mary to blame her stepmother rather than to believe that her father could be so cruel. Anne may have supported Henry’s treatment of Mary and Catherine and may have said awful things about them, but there was only one person who was responsible for it and that was the king.

      Yes, it is clear that Chapuys, the imperial ambassador, feared for Mary’s safety in 1536 and that was why he persuaded her to submit to her father despite her conscience. The ill-treatment and the fact that she had to go against everything she believed really had an impact on Mary. I think she felt that she was letting down her mother, as well as acting against her faith.

      1. Yes she felt she had let her mother down yet Katherine I feel would have understood, Mary really had no choice in the matter, had she refused she could well have found herself in the Tower, Chapyus was quite genuinely concerned for her, it was Jane who reconciled Mary and her father and when she met him again at court he embraced her and they sat together and chatted, Henry was pleased to have Mary playing the obediant daughter, he was always sentimental about her as he was with his other children, it seemed happy times were ahead at last for Mary, it is bad enough losing one parent, when you are left with just the one it’s time to let differences be put aside and be grateful you have each other, however Marys angst with Henry was not just any old row between a father and daughter, but some very serious issues, namely her illegitimacy for one and her father making himself head of the church, Marys religion meant a lot to her but she had to just accept the fact that her father was King and demanded total obedience, it was later on in her brothers reign she would be called into question for those same beliefs, Edward who was a fervent Protestant deplored papists and she was rebuked for celebrating mass, poor Mary, religion was very real in that age and it did cause strife in most families if they did not have the same belieit’s, when young Edward looked upto Mary as his big wise elder sister, he loved her and there was real affection between them, it was the the difference in their religion that caused very real enmity later on.

  2. It is perfectly normal that Mary should now attempt a reconciliation with her father as he will in a few days marry a lady whom she had been advised was her supporter and hoped would raise her status back into her father’s grace and hopefully one day into the succession. Mary had been fed tales about how much of a wh*re Anne Boleyn had been and Henry had removed his daughter back to her own household, away from Anne’s threats and orders to physically mistreat Mary, thus appearing as the gracious, loving father, protecting his once adored daughter from her evil stepfather, who he made out had threatened to kill Mary and her half brother, Henry Fitzroy. She seeks the aid of Cromwell as her father’s chief advisor and now a friend to the Seymour family. Cromwell was also sympathetic towards Mary and Katherine and he was the natural choice to plead her cause.

    Of course it’s all not as Mary sees it. Mary blamed Anne directly for her mistreatment and Anne was mostly to blame as she gave the orders, but it was her father who allowed or encouraged Anne to do so because of Mary’s defiance and refusal to accept Anne as Queen. Mary assumed now that Anne was dead that she would be forgiven by her father and allowed back to court and Jane would receive her graciously. Jane had begged Henry to bring Mary back into the family but he laughed and said she should think of their future children only, but Jane insisted she was thinking of his peace and consulation. Mary hoped her father would see again his beloved child and could never have guessed he had a hand in Anne’s mistreatment of her.

    Unfortunately, as we will see at a later date, Henry would not accept Mary back until she renounced her mother’s Queenship and acknowledged him as Head of the Church. She also had to say her mother’s and his marriage was not lawful. Henry didn’t physically continue to mistreat Mary, so in that sense it didn’t get worse, but what he did do was to bully her with delegations to demand she submit to him. Ironically it was Eustace Chayus who persuaded Mary to accept and sign a set of articles about the above, in order to save her life. Mary was shocked when she opened her eyes to realise Henry had approved Anne’s actions. Anne had also tried to befriend Mary, but she refused and Anne became angry. In fact she tried a few times, but Mary could not betray her mother or her lawful status. Now, with the promise that she could protest signing her father’s demands aside to the Pope for absolution, Mary on the advice of Chapus, who is deeply anxious about her life and health, signs those demands and submits to her father, probably without even reading them. I doubt Henry would have executed his daughter, but he would have continued to send delegates to bully her until she gave in.

    1. Just realised I am becoming a Tudor and spelling Chapuys six different ways in the same post. Oh my.

  3. I doubt Henry would have had Mary executed either, I think there would have been repercussions there had he done so, besides he had lost too many precious children in the past and would not have had his own child killed, he loved all his children although he doted on Edward, he was also known to speak of Mary with tears in his eyes, their relationship before Anne had come along had been one of deep affection, she was the only surviving child of his long marriage with Katherine Of Aragon, Marys spirit was broken and capitulated and Henry was delighted when told she had submitted to his demands, when later she realised that it was her father who was behind her ill treatment she was devastated but here was a man who also executed his queens and he treated her younger half sister Elizabeth shabbily, she also was stripped of her title as princess and lived in penury forcing her governess to repeatedly write to Cromwell requesting more money for new clothes, it appeared he had chosen to ignore her and just as he had deserted her mother, so Elizabeth was left forgotten at her country retreat, with one stroke of the sword Elizabeths fortunes changed and just like Mary she had to endure her changed status, with Mary it had been worse as she was old enough to know what was going on but Elizabeth wrapped in the innocence of childhood was for now blissfully unaware of what had happened, her precocious remark she had made when addressed as the Lady Elizabeth instead of Lady Princess shows how observant young children can be and it must have been a daunting task having to break the sad news of her mothers death, thankfully she was told she had gone to heaven and much later when she was considered old enough, she had been told the truth about what happened to her, both Mary and Elizabeth had suffered through their fathers obsessive desire for a son and for now they were both in the same boat, Mary must have felt some empathy for Elizabeth at this moment.

    1. Henry certainly did enjoy children when they were around him, but he had some strange ways of showing he loved them. Mind you he was also thinking as a King and not a father. You are right, he couldn’t afford to execute Mary as she was his fail safe and popular, as well as his daughter. Elizabeth was a toddler and the child of the woman he had just executed, so he had many doubts and fears about her parentage. He also saw Anne looking back at him so it’s not surprising he tried to banish her from his mind. Elizabeth was too young to rule in any event should he have died at this time and Jane simply couldn’t guarantee a son at the start of their marriage. Even when Edward was born, Henry needed an alternative and additional heir in case he died. Mary as an adult woman should have been married by now with children, possibly a son or two who could also have been Henry’s heir. Otherwise she was now old enough to rule in her own right and a stroke of a pen and a new law rushed through could easily restore her as the legitimate heir. He would see common sense eventually when he had his final wife and a son and was off to war in 1544 when both Elizabeth and Mary were back in the succession. Elizabeth was in and out of favour but by 1540 she was at court more often and Anne of Cleves was visited by her on several occasions. Even Katherine Howard showed some interest in her, although her relationship with Mary was strained. Henry at least spent his final years surrounded by his children.

      1. I think Mother Nature had played a trick on Henry here also as all of his children resembled their mothers, he must have felt twinges of guilt when he looked at his daughters, but with Edward however he was different, his mother had not disappointed him and he lavished such love and care upon him, after thirty or so years he finally had his precious heir, it was true Elizabeth was often in and out of favour she had her mothers feisty spirit and like her was possibly quite demanding, after she learnt what had happened to her mother quite possibly she had challenged her father on this most delicate of subjects and he could well have been angered by it, anger caused by guilt maybe? I can see Elizabeth making comments on her mothers behalf which he found infuriating, both his daughters had angered him from time to time but I can imagine when he was in a gentle mood he was quite amiable and loved to cuddle his children, they probably thought of him like a grizzly bear, big and cuddly yet take a wrong move and you would get a swipe from a big paw, the fact that all his children revered his memory shows he was much loved by them even though he certainly would never have won father of the year award.

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