Mary IOn 26th May 1536, a week after Anne Boleyn had been executed, Henry VIII’s eldest daughter, Mary, wrote to Thomas Cromwell from her household at Hunsdon. The purpose of her letter was to ask for Cromwell to intercede with her father on her behalf now that “that woman” was gone. The letter is damaged but these are the snippets we have:

“Master Secretary, I would have been a suitor to you before this time to have been a mean for me to the King’s Grace to have obtained his Grace’s blessing and favor; but I perceived that nobody durst speak for me as long as that woman lived, which is now gone; whom I pray our Lord of His great mercy to forgive.” Is now the bolder to write, desiring him for the love of God to be a suitor for her to the King, to have his blessing and leave to write to his Grace. Apologises for her evil writing; “for I have not done so much this two year and more, nor could not have found the means to do it at this time but by my lady Kingston’s being here. Hunsdon, 26 May.”1

Mary obviously held Anne Boleyn responsible for her ill-treatment and the breach in her relationship with Henry, and was now hopeful that Cromwell could help her rebuild her relationship with her father. Mary was to be disappointed because things were actually going to get worse, as she found out on 15th June 1536 – see Henry VIII’s Council Bullies Mary.

Notes and Sources

  1. LP x. 968

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22 thoughts on “26 May 1536 – The Lady Mary’s Letter to Cromwell”
  1. I think I can somewhat understand Mary,she was really treated badly by the King!But Henry treated everyone he was displeased with in such a way,and althouhg Mary 1 was my least fav of a Queens,I get why she so bitter ,and had every right too be.Yes she was intitle to the Throne, in her own right,but along came Prince Edward.Then his death, and that mess with the Family Greys/Dudleys.Truely a dog eat dog world back then,you really had too claw your way up as a Royal, or even just being at the Kings court,you did not want too step on any of those ‘Tudor toes,wish there was a bit more Claire on this Mary and Cromwell situation,it’s very interesting,have you any good sites were we can get more info??Also Claire I recieved my Jewlery it Stunnig!! as all ways!! If you have a site on this matter please share. Kind Regards Baroness x

    1. Me too! I’d like to know the relationship between Mary and Cromwell. Did he speak to her, was she just an annoyance? Did he disregard and not think of her at all? Oh, why wasn’t I born in this time? Keep up the great articles Claire, it’s so interesting to read about these times, and share thoughts with others as well.

      1. yes I think we would all like to have a quick trip back to henrys court ,of course just to SEE them all would be enough for me ,preferably completely unnoticed of course and to not get somehow stuck in that time (be able to get away if for instance henry decided he liked the look of you and had you lined up for next wife position).

        1. I agree with you,. Fascinating as it is, I wouldnt want to have been there for any length of time! I quite like my head on my shoulders, and I dont like dupliciity! On a more mundane note, I quite like clean bodies, and clean clothes and not succumbing to plagues and other nasty things! As for being a peasant, if you kept your head down (Pun intended and if you were a peasant you weren´tm afforded that honour) Forget it! Lol

  2. Mary may have been mistaken in her belief that her ill treatment was due to Anne. Henry was always happy to allow the blame for his atrocities to fall onto someone else so he could remain beloved by the people. Tudor historians have long given Anne a bad rap but their writings have little to no credibility.

    Mary was an unforgiving hate-filled wretch. Yes, I can see how her childhood led her down that road, but she always claimed to be a Christian, yet she felt no compunction to follow Christ’s teachings on forgiveness. I’ve always found it hard to feel much sympathy for her.

      1. Oh I know she was a Catholic; nobody disputes that. I’m saying that she didn’t follow Christ’s teachings on forgiveness. So sad.

        1. “She was a Catholic” What are you trying to say? She was a Catholic by the perceptions then, or she was a Catholic, as a definition of character? Interesting.

        2. Forgiveness from who exactly because unlike I, if you are talking forgiveness from Anne Boleyn, she did forgive Boleyn in the end for all the things she did. It was Boleyn who asked Lady Kingston to go on her behalf and ask for forgiveness from Mary in the days before her execution. Of course we all know she wouldn’t ask her for anything from Mary had she carried to full term that miscarried son.

      1. you are absolutely right. I am happy that she begged her forgiveness by proxy while she was in the Tower. My sympathies are for Mary; she had an untenable position, both before and after her mother’s death, the poor girl.

    1. I really don’t get why there is so much ignorance about Mary I. Mary wasn’t an unforgiving wretch.

      She was far more forgiving than her siblings, she forgave those who rebelled against her and kept her from her crown. She forgave the father who treated her so badly and kept her from her mother. She even forgave Jane and her rebellious family, until they rose a second time and she had no choice. To be a Queen whose life is threatened wasn’t easy, but she personally pardoned 500 rebels who had just been tried. She kept the executions after Wyatt to a minimum. She still forgave Frances Brandon after her daughter and husband rebelled again. She forgave her sister and released her, after Elizabeth was implicated in the Wyatt plot and she was merciful to the ordinary rebels. She abolished the law of treason invented by Henry Viii to allow him to execute Jane Boleyn, even though she was insane by making it that people insane can’t be executed.

      There is no evidence that she was sadistic or personally cruel. Nor is there any evidence of bitterness.

      The one contentious thing here with Mary was her treatment of heresy. Obviously she didn’t set out to execute 280 people for heresy and her reign was no different to anyone else in this regard. Elizabeth I was also to execute Catholics and Puritans and in far greater numbers. Her father didn’t care which side he executed. Elizabeth was far more harsh with rebels as was her father, so we should look at all of the Tudors as being equally unforgiving if we are to call Mary this, without any evidence at all.

      Yes, the execution of Protestants is controversial, yes we cannot excuse it, but it wasn’t out of personal cruelty, it was because she saw them as dangerous and that heresy was to be wiped out. Heretics were to be educated first and a campaign of publicity as well as the possibility of returning to the flock was held out to all. This took two years before the legislation which had existed since 1400 was allowed to be put into place. It was cruel by our standards, just as hanging, drawing and quartering was cruel under Elizabeth I and Henry Viii. When we condemn Mary for one thing, we should be honest enough to say that she had good qualities as well.

      Its not even as if the information isn’t available. Anna Whitelock and John Edwards as well as Linda Porter have done wonderful work on Mary. I recommend them.

  3. I am thinking this particular “Mary” would later be known as “Bloody Mary”, am I correct or am I in the wrong time period, or have I been watching too many Hollywood Lies? She was Catholic, and facts from her own time period tell us, crimes against humanity were committed by the Catholic Church [at that time], who protected and loved her dearly, little serial killer & mass murderer that she was.

  4. No, this was not Bloody Mary and she was never a queen. The Mary you are thinking of was the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon and the half sister to Queen Elizabeth I whose mother was Anne Boleyn.

    1. Mike,
      Karen is correct. The letter in the above post was written by Henry VIII’s daughter and she became Queen Mary I and has gone down in history as “Bloody Mary”.

  5. I think Henry VIII did a great disservice to Mary, she should have been found an advantageous match long before the separation of her parents and the subsequent issue of her legitimacy.
    Instead he used her like bear bait for his own political aims until he died and she was unable to have the children she so desperately wanted.

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