On this day in Tudor history, 26th May 1536, Mary, the eldest daughter of King Henry VIII, sought the help of Master Secretary Thomas Cromwell, the king’s right-hand man.

Now that her stepmother, Anne Boleyn, was out of the way, Mary was hoping for a reconciliation with her father.

What did Mary want Cromwell to do for her?

What happened to Mary after Anne Boleyn’s death?

How was Mary treated?

In this video, I consider Mary’s situation and what happened between her and her father after this point.

If you prefer articles to videos, you can read an article on this here.

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One thought on “May 26 – Henry VIII’s daughter, Mary, seeks Cromwell’s help”
  1. Poor Mary we can see how easy it was for her to blame the wicked stepmother, but she soon got a rude awakening when members of the council came to visit her, Henry V111 was in a happy mood he’d got rid of Anne and was enjoying supposedly, domestic bliss with his new queen, then his Secretary arrived and informed him his errant daughter wished to see him and be part of his life again, her biographer Linda Porter explains how Mary wrote a letter to the king shortly after his marriage congratulating him and Jane, but she received no reply and must have been puzzled, but here Mary completely misunderstood her father, she had defied him with her mother for many years and he could not just accept her back into the fold because Anne Boleyn was dead, she credited her hated step mother with too much influence, yes she did encourage Henry’s ill treatment of his daughter because Mary was rude to her and insulting by refusing to acknowledge her as queen, and Elizabeth as the legitimate heir, she even wrote to her father and the letter survives in which she expresses with a good deal of sarcasm, how amazed she is that the title of Princess was not hers anymore and she knows of no queen but her mother, so Henry on discussing his daughter with Cromwell, but have been somewhat irked that the stubborn miss now wanted to be his obedient daughter again, ‘she will be welcome at court he told him but she must concede to my demands’, so poor Mary and she was just twenty was at home in her country residence at Hudson when several grim faced men arrived and asked for an audience with her, they had with them a document it required Mary’s signature, she will be welcome back to court they said, but as the kings subject she must sign the act of supremacy acknowledging her father as supreme head of the church, his first marriage invalid and herself illegitimate, this was not what she had expected and she was extremely distressed, her deep Catholic faith told her she should not sign away her birthright and her mother’s status as her fathers one true legal queen, but faced with a certain amount of bullying, (and we can see that Henry V111 had instructed them not to come back without a signature), she had no choice but to give in, as Linda Porter explains, he had to have obedience from Mary for a king who was seen to be openly defied by his child was no king at all, Henry V111 did treat both his daughters badly but he also loved them and was very proud of them both, during the years of courtship with Anne Boleyn, he often spoke of Mary with tears in his eyes, he was hurt by her siding with her mother but he never allowed himself to be influenced by his second queen, it was Henry V111 who pulled the strings and when Mary did eventually sign, he welcomed her back with open arms, the story of how one of the kings delegation told Mary he would beat her head against the wall till it was as soft as a boiled apple is sometimes attributed to the crusty old Duke of Norfolk, but did he say it and if not whom? It seems inconceivable that a daughter of a king should be addressed as such by one of her fathers council, but I believe these men were desperate and did not want to arouse the kings wrath if they failed in their mission, Chapyus her old friend and adviser told her to sign the pope would not condemn her for it, she was under duress and such a signature would be considered not really legal, but it broke her heart and she must have felt her mother’s reproachful eyes on her, but I feel Katherine would not have wished her daughter to be deemed a traitor, Chapyus was worried she might go to the block, but even Henry V111 would not have executed his own daughter, regardless of what people thought at the time, she was after all ‘his Pearl’, and he only had one other child, as soon as Henry received the document he must have been overwhelmed with joy, he had missed his daughters presence and now with Jane they could be a proper family again, but Mary alone with her thoughts must have wept for the mother she had betrayed, it was said she never forgave herself till the end of her days.

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