On 26th May 1536, a week after Anne Boleyn’s execution, Henry VIII’s eldest daughter, Mary, had written to Thomas Cromwell, asking him to intercede with her father on her behalf and for permission to write to the king. On 8th June 1536, Mary then wrote to her father. Letters and Papers has a record of her letter:
“Begs his daily blessing. Though she understands, to her inestimable comfort, that he has forgiven all her offences and withdrawn his displeasure long time conceived against her, her joy will not be full till she is allowed to come to his presence. Begs pardon for her continual suit and rude writing, for nature will suffer her to do no otherwise. Hopes God will preserve him and the Queen, and send them a prince. Hownsdon, 8 June.”
Mary appears to have believed that Anne Boleyn had been responsible for her ill-treatment and the breach in the relationship between father and daughter, and thought that she could be reconciled with her father now that her stepmother was gone. How wrong she was! Henry was not interested in a reconciliation until his daughter toed the line by submitting to him and accepting him as Supreme Head of the Church of England. Instead of allowing her to “come to his presence”, he sent members of his council to Hunsdon 15th June 1536 to bully his twenty-year-old daughter into submission. It must have been a terrifying encounter for Mary – click here to read about it – and a shock for her to find out that her father could be even crueller without Anne by his side. Poor Mary.
Notes and Sources
- Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume X: 1083.