On this day in 1533 – William Blount instructed to deliver to Katherine of Aragon her new title of Princess Dowager

On 3rd July 1533 Katherine of Aragon’s chamberlain William Blount, Lord Mountjoy, received instructions from Thomas Cromwell to instruct Katherine that she should no longer be referred to as Queen and instead should go by the title of ‘Princess Dowager’, her status upon the death of her first husband, Prince Arthur.

The instructions came after Archbishop Cranmer declared the marriage between Katherine and King Henry VIII as invalid and that Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn was legitimate.

William Blount received a letter from Thomas Cromwell on behalf of the King’s council that read;

“As the King cannot have two wives he cannot permit the Dowager to persist in calling herself by the name of Queen, especially considering how benignantly and honourably she has been treated in the realm. She is to satisfy herself with the name of Dowager, as prescribed by the Act of Parliament, and must beware of the danger if she attempt to contravene it, which will only irritate the feelins of the people against her. If she be not persuaded by these arguments to avoid the King’s indignation, and relent from her vehement arrogancy, the King will be compelled to punish her servants, and withdraw her affection from his daughter. Finally, that as the marriage is irrevocable, and has passed the consent of Parliament, nothing that she can do will annul it, and she will only incur the displeasure of Almighty God and of the King.”

Blount along with Sir Robert Dymok, Thomas Vaulx, John Tyrell and Gryffith Richards visited Katherine at Ampthill to deliver the news and reported back to Cromwell and the council;

To the effect that on Thursday, 3 July, they found her lying on a pallet, as she had pricked her foot with a pin, and could not stand, and was also sore annoyed with a cough. On our declaring that our instructions were to her as Princess Dowager, she took exception to the name, persisting that she was the King’s true wife, and her children were legitimate, which she would claim to be true during her life. To our assertion that the marriage with Anne Boleyn had been adjudged lawful by the universities, the Lords and Commons, she said the King might do in his realm by his royal power what he would; that the cause was not theirs but the Pope’s to judge, as she had already answered the duke of Norfolk. To other arguments, that she might damage her daughter and servants, she replied she would not damn her own soul on any consideration, or for any promised the King might make her. She did not defend her cause upon obstinacy, nor to create any dissension in the realm, but to save her own rights; and as for the withdrawing of the King’s affection from her, she would daily pray for the preservation of his estate; but as she sues by his licence, she trusts in so doing to lose no part of his favour. In fine, she will not abandon the title till such time as a sentence is given to the contrary by the Pope. She asked for a copy of these instructions, which she would translate into Spanish, and send to Rome.”

Katherine until her dying day refused to be referred to anything but Queen and Henry’s lawful wife.

Katherine of AragonKatherine of Aragon

On this day in 1536 – Thomas Cromwell apointed Lord Privy Seal

Following the execution of Anne Boleyn and her brother George at the hands of King Henry VIII, their father on 29th June 1536 was stripped of his office of Lord Privy Seal. This was a position he had held since January 1530 after Cardinal Wolsey’s fall from grace.

On 2nd July 1536 Henry appointed Thomas Cromwell to the vacant position as well as being created Baron Cromwell of Wimbledon just days later. Cromwell’s rise to power was not to everyone’s liking he was seen by many as just a blacksmith’s son and had no right at court, however, Henry regarded him as one of his most trusted aides.

The Lord Privy Seal is a lower rank to that of President of the Privy Council and the Lord Chancellor but it is a role that has great honour despite the fact it is an almost entirely ceremonial role. The Lord Privy Seal is the bearer of the King’s personal seal and has access to the King and council’s documents. Cromwell would have also have had unrestricted access to Henry as well.Thomas CromwellSir Thomas Cromwell painted by Hans Holbein

On this day in 1543 – The treaty of Greenwich was signed

The Treaty of Greenwich was signed on 1st July 1543 between England and Scotland, the treaty was put forward after the Scottish defeat at Solway Moss the November before. Two sub treaties’s made up the full treaty in a plan developed by King Henry VIII to unite both kingdoms. The Scottish commissioners that were acting on behalf of Mary and her regent were Earl of Glencairn, James Learmonth of Dairsie and Henry Balnaves. Acting as commissioners for Henry were Baron Audley of Walden, Thomas Howard 3rd Duke of Norfolk, Stephen Gardiner Bishop of Winchester, Thomas Thirlby Bishop of Westminster and Barons St John and Gage.

The first sub treaty was to establish peace between England and Scotland in the hope of ending the years of war between the two nations. The second was a marriage proposal between Henry’s son, the future King Edward VI and Mary, Queen of Scots. The marriage proposition put forward that Mary would be appointed a nobleman and his wife who would remain with Mary until she reached the age of ten. At this time Mary would be sent to England to live until her marriage to Edward; this was so she could be taught the English ways.

The treaty was initially signed by the Earl of Arran, Mary’s regent and it was ratified on 25th August 1543 however, when it was put in front of the Scottish Parliament on 11th December 1543 it was rejected. This rejection would lead to eight years of fighting between the two countries in a conflict that would be known as Rough Wooing. The conflict was sanctioned by Henry in an attempt to force Scotland into agreeing to the terms of the treaty.

Instead of Mary marrying Edward she would go on to be betrothed to the French dauphin, F

rancis, son of Henry II.

Edward_VIMary-Queen-of-ScotsLeft – Prince Edward

Below – Mary, Queen of Scots