30 April 1536 – A Royal Argument, a Cancelled Trip and the First Arrest

Posted By on April 30, 2014

The argument scene from "The Tudors" series.

The argument scene from “The Tudors” series.

On 30th April, Scottish theologian Alexander Alesius witnessed an argument between Queen Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII. He later wrote of this argument to the couple’s daughter, Elizabeth, during her reign:

“Never shall I forget the sorrow which I felt when I saw the most serene queen, your most religious mother, carrying you, still a baby, in her arms and entreating the most serene king your father, in Greenwich Palace, from the open window of which he was looking into the courtyard, when she brought you to him. I did not perfectly understand what had been going on, but the faces and gestures of the speakers plainly showed that the king was angry, although he could conceal his anger wonderfully well. Yet from the protracted conference of the council (for whom the crowd was waiting until it was quite dark, expecting that they would return to London), it was most obvious to everyone that some deep and difficult question was being discussed.”1

Had this argument been caused by Henry VIII hearing of Anne Boleyn’s argument with Henry Norris? It’s impossible to know, but at 11pm the King and Queen’s upcoming visit to Calais was cancelled and arrangements were made for the King to journey alone a week later.2 Also on that day, Mark Smeaton, was taken to Thomas Cromwell’s house in Stepney and interrogated. Within 24 hours he had confessed to sleeping with the Queen three times. It is not known whether he was tortured into his confession. He was then taken to the Tower of London and put in irons.

The Spanish Chronicle, a primary source known for its inaccuracy and tabloid style, has a rather funny story about Anne Boleyn, Mark Smeaton and a marmalade coupboard – see Mark Smeaton with the Marmalade in the Cupboard for more information.

Notes and Sources

  1. Calendar of State Papers Foreign, Elizabeth, Volume 1 – 1558-1559, 1303
  2. LP x. 789