On this day in 1536 – Eustace Chapuys bowed to Anne Boleyn

Eustace Chapuys was the Imperial Ambassador in England and was loyal to Queen Katherine of Aragon. When King Henry VIII began divorce proceedings against Katherine Chapuys understandably stayed loyal to the daughter of Spain, Katherine. In his writings to the Holy Roman Emperor Chapuys referred to Henry’s new love, Anne Boleyn, as the concubine. Chapuys refused to acknowledge Anne as Henry’s wife let alone queen of England.

On 18th April 1536 Chapuys was tricked into bowing to Anne Boleyn in the chapel at Greenwich Palace. Chapuys had already asked Thomas Cromwell to be excused from the event as he did not want to visit Anne let alone kiss her hand Henry however, wanted Chapuys to acknowledge his wife as the lawful queen.

Chapuys was escorted to the chapel by George Boleyn and he was placed behind the door that Anne would enter through in a tactical move by the king and the Boleyns. As Anne entered the chapel she stopped and turned around to bow at the ambassador. An awkward encounter left Chapuys with no choice but to bow in response to Anne.

In a letter to Charles V Chapuys wrote:

“I was conducted to mass by lord Rochford, the concubine’s brother, and when the King came to the offering there was a great concourse of people partly to see how the concubine and I behaved to each other. She was courteous enough, for when I was behind the door by which she entered, she returned, merely to do me reverence as I did to her.”

eustace chapuys

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