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Calendar of State Papers of Spain Volume 5
Calendar of State Papers of Spain Volume 5 Part 2 1516-1538
Calendar of State Papers of Spain Volume 5 Part 2 1516-1538. 21 Jan 1536. Eustace Chapuys to the Emperor (35).
The good Queen breathed her last at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Eight hours afterwards, by the King's (44) express commands, the inspection of her body was made, without her conFessor or physician or any other officer of her household being present, save the fire-lighter in the house, a servant of his, and a companion of the latter, who proceeded at once to open the body. Neither of them had practised chirurgy, and yet they had often performed the same operation, especially the principal or head of them, who, after making the examination, went to the bishop of Llandaff, the Queen's conFessor, and declared to him in great secrecy, and as if his life depended on it, that he had found the Queen's body and the intestines perfectly sound and healthy, as if nothing had happened, with the single exception of the heart, which was completely black, and of a most hideous aspect; after washing it in three different waters, and finding that it did not change colour, he cut it in two, and found that it was the same inside, so much so that after being washed several times it never changed colour. The man also said that he found inside the heart something black and round, which adhered strongly to the concavities. And moreover, after this spontaneous declaration on the part of the man, my secretary having asked the Queen's physician whether he thought the Queen had died of poison, the latter answered that in his opinion there was no doubt about it, for the bishop had been told so under conFession, and besides that, had not the secret been revealed, the symptoms, the course, and the fatal end of her illness were a proof of that.
No words can describe the joy and delight which this King (44) and the promoters of his concubinate (35) have felt at the demise of the good Queen, especially the earl of Vulcher (59), and his son (33), who must have said to themselves, What a pity it was that the Princess (19) had not kept her mother company. The King (44) himself on Saturday, when he received the news, was heard to exclaim, "Thank God, we are now free from any fear of war, and the time has come for dealing with the French much more to our advantage than heretofore, for if they once suspect my becoming the Emperor's friend and ally now that the real cause of our enmity no longer exists I shall be able to do anything I like with them." On the following day, which was Sunday, the King (44) dressed entirely in yellow from head to foot, with the single exception of a white feather in his cap. His bastard daughter (2) was triumphantly taken to church to the sound of trumpets and with great display. Then, after dinner, the King (44) went to the hall, where the ladies were dancing, and there made great demonstration of joy, and at last went into his own apartments, took the little bastard (2), carried her (2) in his (44) arms, and began to show her first to one, then to another, and did the same on the following days. Since then his joy has somewhat subsided; he has no longer made such demonstrations, but to make up for it, as it were, has been tilting and running lances at Greenwich. On the other hand, if I am to believe the reports that come to me from every quarter, I must say that the displeasure and grief generally felt at the Queen's demise is really incredible, as well as the indignation of the people against the King (44). All charge him with being the cause of the Queen's death, which I imagine has been produced partly by poison and partly by despondency and grief; besides which, the joy which the King (44) himself, as abovesaid, manifested upon hearing the news, has considerably confirmed people in that belief.
Great preparations are being made for the burial of the good Queen, and according to a message received from Master Cromwell (51) the funeral is to be conducted with such a pomp and magnificence that those present will scarcely believe their eyes. It is to take place on the 1st of February; the chief mourner to be the King's own niece (18), that is to say, the daughter of the duke of Suffolk (52); next to her will go the Duchess, her mother; then the wife of the duke of Norfolk (39), and several other ladies in great numbers. And from what I hear, it is intended to distribute mourning apparel to no less than 600 women of a lower class. As to the lords and gentlemen, nothing has yet transpired as to who they are to be, nor how many. Master Cromwell (51) himself, as I have written to Your Majesty (35), pressed me on two different occasions to accept the mourning cloth, which this King (44) offered for the purpose no doubt of securing my attendance at the funeral, which is what he greatly desires; but by the advice of the Queen Regent of Flanders (Mary), of the Princess herself, and of many other worthy personages, I have declined, and, refused the cloth proffered ; alleging as an excuse that I was already prepared, and had some of it at home, but in reality because I was unwilling to attend a funeral, which, however costly and magnificent, is not that befitting a queen of England.
The King (44), or his Privy Council, thought at first that very solemn obsequies ought to be performed at the cathedral church of this city. Numerous carpenters and other artizans had already set to work, but since then the order has been revoked, and there is no talk of it now. Whether they meant it in earnest, and then changed their mind, or whether it was merely a feint to keep people contented and remove suspicion, I cannot say for certain.
Calendar of State Papers of Spain Volume 5 Part 2 1516-1538. 17 Feb 1536. Eustace Chapuys to the Emperor (35).
On that very day the good queen of England's burial took place, which was attended by four bishops and as many abbots, besides the ladies mentioned in my preceding despatches. No other person of rank or name was present except the comptroller of the Royal household. The place where she lies in the Peterborough Cathedral is a good way from the high altar, and in a less honourable position than that of several bishops buried in the same church. Had she not been a dowager Princess, as they have held her both in life and death, but simply a baroness, they could not have chosen a less distinguished place of rest for her, as the people who understand this sort of thing tell me. Such have been the wonderful display and incredible magnificence which these people gave me to understand would be lavished in honour and memory of one whose great virtues and royal relationship certainly entitled her to uncommon honours!! Perhaps one of these days they will repair their fault, and erect a suitable monument or institute some pious foundation to her memory in some suitable spot or other.
On the same day that the Queen was buried this King's concubine (35) miscarried of a child, who had the appearance of a nude about three months and a half old, at which miscarriage the King (44) has certainly shown great disappointment and sorrow. The concubine (35) herself has since attempted to throw all the blame on the duke of Norfolk (63), whom she hates, pretending that her mishap was entirely owing to the shock she received when, six days before, he (the Duke) came to announce to her the King's fall from his horse. But the King knows very well that it was not that, for his accident was announced to her in a manner not to create alarm; besides which, when she heard of it, she seemed quite indifferent to it. Upon the whole, the general opinion is that the concubine's miscarriage was entirely owing to defective constitution, and her utter inability to bear male children; whilst others imagine that the fear of the King treating her as he treated his late Queen, which is not unlikely, considering his behaviour towards a damsel of the Court, named Miss Seymour (27), to whom he has latterly made very valuable presents—is the oral cause of it all. The Princess' governess, her daughters, and a niece of hers, have greatly mourned over the concubines miscarriage, never ceasing to interrogate one of the Princess' most familiar maids in waiting on the subject, and asking whether their mistress had been informed of Anne s miscarriage, for if she had, as was most likely, they still would not for the world that she knew the rest of the affair and its causes, thereby intending to say that there was fear of the King's taking another wife.