October 25 – A diamond for Anne Boleyn

Posted By on October 25, 2022

On this day in Tudor history, 25th October 1532, in the reign of King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Marquess of Pembroke, was sent “a diamond worth 15,000 or 16,000 crowns” by King Francis I, who, that day, had accompanied King Henry VIII from the French royal court at Boulogne to Henry and Anne’s accommodation at Calais.

Find out more about the events of 25th October 1532, which included a chapter meeting of the Order of St Michel and a spectacular welcome, as well as Anne’s gift…

Transcript:

On this day in Tudor history, 25th October 1532, during Henry VIII’s visit to Calais and Boulogne, King Francis I of France made Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, Knights of the Order of Saint-Michel, which was the French equivalent of the Order of the Garter.

Chronicler Edward Hall wrote:
“While the king of England, lay thus at Boulogne, the French king to show himself loving to the noble men of England, the. 25th day of October, called a Chapter of the companions of his Order, called San Michel, of whom the king of Englande was one, and so there elected Thomas Duke of Norffolke, and Charles Duke of Suffolke, to be companions of the said Order, which were brought into the Chapter, and had there Collars delivered to them, and were sworn to the Statutes of the Order, their obeysaunce to their sovereign Lorde, always reserved: which Dukes thanked the French Kyng, and gave to the Officers of Arms two hundred Crownes a piece.”

Henry VIII reciprocated on 28th October by holding a chapter of the Order of the Garter and making Anne, duc de Montmorency and Grand Master of France, and Philippe de Chabot, Admiral of France, Knights of the Garter.

This chapter meeting took place before Henry VIII and Francis I left Boulogne, where Henry VIII had been Francis’s guest at the French court, to go to Calais and there meet with Anne Boleyn, Marquis of Pembroke.

Wynkyn de Worde wrote of their journey in his “The Manner of the triumphe of Calais and Boulogne”:
“And on fridaye following the kynges came to Calais. And the dauphin with the cardinals and all their gentlemen brought the kynges unto the place where they fyrst met and then departed. The frensshe king had great carriage for there came 300 mules laden with stuff. And when they came to Calais they were saluted with great melody what with guns and all other instruments and the order of the town, it was a heavenly sight for the time, First at Newnam bridge 400. shot at the blockhouse, 40 shot at Rycebanke tower, 300 shot within the town of Calais, 2000 shot great and small besides the ships it was all nombered, 3000 shot. And at Boulogne, by estimation it past not 200 shot but they were great pieces. Also for the ordre of the towne there was set all servinge men on the one syde in tawny coates and soldiers on the other syde all in coates of red and blue with halberdes in their handes. And so the kynges came riding in the midst and so the frensshe kynge went to staple hall which is a princely house and upon saturday bothe the kynges rode to our lady churche to mass.”

Chronicler Edward Hall agrees with this account, adding that Francis I’s train comprised 1200 people “and so many horse more”. He also adds that when they were two miles outside of Calais, they were met by Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond, who was Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, and “a great company of noble men”. The English and French parties then carried on with their journey, being met at Newnam Bridge by Thomas Palmer, captain of the fortress, and soldiers, who all saluted the two kings. As they entered Calais, they were met with shot from the town, castle, Ricebank and ships, the French men commenting that “they never heard such a shot”. They were then greeted by the sight of the soldiers of Calais standing on one side of the road, dressed in red and blue, and on the other side of the road the serving men of England dressed “in coates of Frenche Tawney” with “a Scarlette cap and a white feather.”

Henry VIII then escorted Francis I to his lodgings at Staple Hall, where his chambers were “hanged with so rich verdour, as hath not been seen, the ground of it was gold and damask, and all over the tufts and flowers, were of Satin, Silke and Silver, so curiously wrought that they seemed to grow; every chamber was richer, and other: the second chamber all of Tissue, with a cloth of estate of needle worke, set with great Roses of large pearle. The third was hanged with Velvet, upon velvet pearled greene and Crimson, and embroidered over with branches, of flowers of Gold Bullion, and garnished with arms and beasts of the same gold, set with pearle and stone.”

There was no sign, however, of Henry VIII’s sweetheart, the woman who had accompanied him on his journey from England to Calais, Anne Boleyn. On his arrival in Calais, King Francis I sent the Provost of Paris to Anne with a gift, “a diamond worth 15,000 or 16,000 crowns.”, but still Anne didn’t appear. Anne was biding her time, she was going to make a dramatic entrance on 27th October 1532, at the special banquet held by Henry VIII in Francis I’s honour.

Perhaps I’ll tell you about that on 27th!

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