Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd: Part VII

Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd: Part VII

Elizabeth had the common touch, the ability to ‘work a crowd’.  Many rulers including, Mary and Philip, did not.  It is interesting that all three had classical educations and they used those foundations completely opposite.  Mary and Philip’s studies prepared them to be patriarchal, Catholic monarchs: Elizabeth’s studies prepared her to be a humanist Protestant monarch.  Philip entered his inheritance viewed as the king and his subjects were literally subject to him.  He also did not have to assure anyone that he could rule.  Mary and Elizabeth entered their inheritance in a world where Catholic and Protestant interests were in competition after several altering successions and, as women, they were forced to prove themselves as a leader of men. 

Elizabeth certainly held an emotional sway over her peoples; she inspired them to her vision of England via her propaganda and her imagery and provided intellectual stimulation by supporting and encouraging the arts.  No one can deny that Elizabeth instilled loyalty in her civil servants, something at which her sister was less successful.

The Roots of Mary’s Problems

King Henry VIII’s will and that of his son, Edward VI, were problems for Mary.  She could not countenance Elizabeth inheriting her throne.  According to Mary, Elizabeth was the daughter of a concubine, from an unlawful union.  Yet, Henry’s will and his Act of Successions stipulated Elizabeth as a successor while Edward’s will eliminated both of his half-sisters.  Mary was in a difficult position as she had declared Edward’s will ineffectual based on her father’s legal provisions; obviously, this was convenient for her at the time of her accession to solidify her position.  Her brother had declared that because of acts of parliament stating their illegitimacy “the said lady Marye as also the said ladie Elizabeth to all intents and purposes are and be clearly disabled to aske, claime, or challenge the said imperiall crowne… as also for that the said lady Mary and lady Elizabeth be unto us but of the halfe bloud, and therfore by the auntyent lawes, statutes, and customes of this realme be not inheritable unto us, although they were legitimate, as they be not indeed” (Nichols The Chronicle of Queen Jane 92-93).

oath of alligence
Oath of Allegiance as part of The Act of Succession of 1534

If Mary were to ignore her brother’s will using the right and statutes of her father acts, she then was bound to Henry’s last will and testament.  Below is a contemporary’s summary of the will of Henry VIII (this was written by ‘A Resident in the Tower of London’ and edited by John Gough Nichols).

“In conformity with the enactment of his 35th year,
king Henry the Eighth made a will, and by that will
the crown was to devolve, 1. on his son Edward and
the heirs of his body  2. on his own heirs by queen
Katharine (Parr) or any other future wife; 3. on his
daughter Mary; 4. on his daughter Elizabeth;
5. on the heirs of the body of his niece the lady Frances;
6. on those of her sister the lady Eleanor; 7. to the
next rightful heirs. In the event of either the lady Mary
or the lady Elizabeth marrying without the consent of the
privy council, they were respectively to be passed over
as if dead without lawful issue” (Nichols Chronicle of Queen Jane 85-86).

Henry VIII will
Last Will and Testament of Henry VIII

To honor these provisions, there is urgency for Mary to gain the permission of the Privy Council for her marriage contract to Philip of Spain. She knew it was not popular and there was a fear of his taking over England and not respecting its customs.  This was even seen as an argument by her brother’s heightening the fear that if either Mary or Elizabeth married a foreign prince “the same stranger, havinge the governemente and the imperiall crowne in his hands, would rather adhere and practice to have the lawes and customes of his or their owne native countrey or countreyes to be practised or put in ure within this our realme” rather than English laws and customs which would lead to the utter subversion of the comon-welth of this our realme, which God defend” (Nichols Chronicle of Queen Jane 93). 

A union between Mary and Philip was not universally accepted and she expended some effort to convince her subjects all would be well.  In a speech to Parliament she setdown assurances.  “I am already married to the Common Weal and the faithful members of the same; the spousal ring whereof I have on my finger: which never hitherto was, nor hereafter shall be, left off. Protesting unto you nothing to be more acceptable to my heart, nor more answerable to my will, than your advancement in wealth and welfare, with the furtherance of God’s glory” (Loades Chronicle of Tudor Queens 36).  It took some convincing people to see the marriage “presented as not only for the comfort and benefit of this entire realm, but universally of the entire Christendom” (Hunt 152).

Mary Acknowledges Succession—Elizabeth Becomes Queen

Another main purpose of the union between Mary and Philip was to provide a Catholic heir to succeed in England.  Of course, this was not to transpire.  Although Mary had not formally acknowledged Elizabeth as her heir until the autumn of 1559, Elizabeth had been laying the groundwork for her succession throughout that summer. Mary had to be aware of what was happening as Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador to King Philip’s Court reported that Elizabeth “may be said never to have been at liberty, for although she is allowed to live at a house of hers called Hatfield, 12 miles from London, the Queen has nevertheless many spies and guards in the neighbourhood who keep strict watch on all persons passing to and fro, nor is any thing said or done that is not immediately reported to the Queen, so she is obliged to act very cautiously” (Brown VI May 1557 884).

ChildrenofHenrvyVIIIb
The children of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I, in a copy of the 1545-1550 original.  Property of the Duke of Buccleuch, Boughton House.

Regardless of what was perhaps being reported, Elizabeth began to employ talented political and military men of the Court, who willingly flocked to her side.  Men were already in place with Elizabeth by the time Mary sent “a message to her half-sister, acknowledging Elizabeth’s right” (Loades Mary Tudor 196). Mary sent her Comptroller Sir Thomas Cornwallis and her Secretary John Boxall on behalf of the Council to visit Elizabeth with the news that she could succeed if she fulfilled two requests: “one, that she will maintain the old religion as the Queen has restored it; and the other that she will pay the Queen’s debts” (Tyler XIII November 1558 498). According to the Memoirs of Jane Dormer, Mary’s trusted companion who married Count de Feria and returned with him to Spain, Elizabeth, when implored by Mary’s Councilmen to maintain the orthodox religion, declared vehemently “that she prayed God that the earth might open and swallow her alive, if she were not a true Roman Catholic” (Queen Elizabeth I 244).

Jane’s memoirs imply that Elizabeth was at Court when Mary died and owed her succession to Mary’s appointment.  As far as we know, Elizabeth did not respond by letter to the visit by the Council’s representatives nor did the two sisters meet.  Elizabeth was at Hatfield.  In contrast to the passionate declarations from Jane Dormer, the ever-popular story that has been relayed down through history is that Elizabeth was seated under an oak tree in the grounds of Hatfield when she learned she was Queen. Elizabeth quoted a psalm in Latin: A Dominium factum est illud, et est mirabile in oculis notris – “It is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes” immediately upon hearing the news.  Shortly thereafter, Articles of Parliament proclaimed her Queen to the rejoicing of the people of England. Mary had done what was necessary: she had ensured a peaceful transfer of power.

Wallace MacCaffrey, in his book Elizabeth I, noted the manner in which, and the extent to which, Elizabeth was able to illicit strong emotions in her supporters and identification with her people. Common purposes with her people were religious stability and economic security. “She had imposed her will on her people as effectively as her father ever did.  He had ruled by fear; she had won her people’s loving devotion, and achieved a degree of personal popularity unequalled by her predecessors or successors” (MacCaffrey 445).

Philip—As a Person not a Politician

Through the diplomatic dispatches, the paper portrait of Philip is of a rather cold, calculating politician with only one focus and that is the promotion of his dynasty and its interests.   Yet, there is a person hidden within who was a caring father and master.

A series of letters he wrote to his daughters in Spain when he was in Portugal, reveals Philip’s more human side. For instance it is revealed how when an old beloved servant Magdalena teased him for travelling on horseback like a child instead of in a carriage he replied “I feel so lonely in the carriage without you both and the days are so beautiful that it would be a shame to miss them” (Ravencroft 28).  Is this the man who stated upon the death of his wife, “I felt a reasonable regret for her death”?

servant magdalena
Isabella, eldest daughter of Philip II and loyal servant Magdalena Ruiz by Alonso Coello.

His letters covered many topics: fashion, he compared the styles in Portugal to those “worn in Madrid”; teething, he commented that his youngest child’s first teeth “must be in place of the two that I am about to lose”; and, pride, he warned his daughters who were angling to be praised for being taller than their cousin not to “be conceited about this as I believe it is because she is very short rather than you being tall” (Ravencroft 26).  Moreover, a poetic Philip expressed that the servant Magdalena “has a great desire for strawberries and I of nightingales, although they can sometimes be heard from one of my windows” (Ravencroft 27).

These fatherly comments are a window through which we can see the man who one could believe was truly “not only popular and universally beloved, but even longed for…by good men and by all who know the good effect produced by his presence” (Brown VI May 1557 884).  Count Michiel, the Venetian Ambassador to England, explained how Philip gained this devotion from those men in positions of power close to him.

By respecting the authority of the Queen and Cardinal Pole, Philip “won the whole Court, especially the chief nobility, by so much the more as he has made no alteration whatever in the style and form of government, nor has he departed a hair’s breadth from the marriage contract” (Brown VI May 1557 884). He was reported to have “behaved in line with English customs….”  In addition, by altering some of the ceremonies subtly there was no need for the English to “fear that their queen would be dominated by her Habsburg husband….” Even after Mary’s death, “it was still stated that he had managed to convince the English that they did not need to fear foreign domination” (Hunt 151).

Count Michiel described the difficulty that would arise from Philip staying in England mainly that “the customs there and the mode of governing differing so much from what he has been used to” (Brown VI May 1557 884).  Michiel speculated that having subjects from such diverse nations from Burgundians to Italians, makes them all “indifferently his subjects” but the English “do not brook being treated as their companions” (Brown VI May 1557 884).  If the King were to remedy the situation, it would “turn the English constitution topsyturvy and perhaps revolutionize the kingdom completely.”

Another positive action, or lack of action, taken by Philip was that he did not replace officials nor force his countrymen into government positions and “he rendered himself yet more popular, not only by purposely dispensing with many pecuniary advantages and prerogatives, to which he had a personal right, but also because during his stay in England, …he showed that he had not come from ambition to be King, he having so many crowns, he always paid his own expenses” (Brown VI May 1557 884).  Beyond these righteous moves, the Ambassador stressed that Philip was not in England to act as sole sovereign.  King Philip acted more “as mediator and intercessor with the Queen (towards whom he shows deference in everything), rather than from any wish to be considered either master or lord-paramount” (Brown VI May 1557 884).

Philip—Widower, Friend, Enemy

Upon Mary’s death and Elizabeth’s ascension, Philip’s policy toward England did not take much of a change.  As seen in the previous blog postings in the series, “Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd,” http://elizregina.com/ Philip proposed marriage to Elizabeth and when that bid was not successful, he promoted his nephew. She exclaimed that even though they could not marry they could continue their friendship. In later years Elizabeth knew she could count on Philip “exerting his powerful influence in her favour at Rome” (Neale 56) and even as late as 1577 diplomats wrote to Philip that “the Queen did not forget the favour he had showed her in her sister’s time” (Allan 1236).  Unfortunately, friendship could not be maintained as the international scene shifted.  Spain’s treaty with France, the power of the Hapsburg empire, England’s assistance to the Low Countries, the position of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the treatment of Protestants in Catholic countries (the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre) are just samples of the churning diplomatic world which culminated in the Spanish Armada.

Giovanni Gritti, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, quoted Pope Sixtus V in a dispatch to the Doge and Senate on 19 March, 1588. The Pope stated that he had heard from Spain that the Armada was ready.  He exclaimed that the English were ready, also giving credit to Queen Elizabeth: “She certainly is a great Queen, and were she only a Catholic she would be our dearly beloved.  Just look how well she governs; she is only a woman, only mistress of half an island, and yet she makes herself feared by Spain, by France, by the empire, by all” (Brown VIII 641).

Sixtus5
Pope Sixtus V

For references, please refer to the blog entry “Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd: Part I.”

Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd: Part V

Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd:  Part V

Already in December of 1558 Gómez Suárez de Figueroa, Count de Feria was plotting how to approach Elizabeth on marrying King Philip.  He knew that she was convinced that a foreigner was too divisive for the realm.  Added to this he had to persuade her not to marry an Englishman by pointing out that she would not want to “hold herself less than her sister, who would never marry a subject” (Hume Simancas: December 1558 4). His strategy included telling her it would look bad for her to marry a subject where there are so many worthy princes.  “After that we can take those whom she might marry here and pick them to pieces one by one, which will not require much rhetoric, for there is not a man amongst them worth anything” (Hume Simancas: December 1558 4).  The Count would stress the need for an alliance with Spain against the French threat and add the argument of maintaining the Catholic faith to secure her throne.  Okay, he had the strategy, now to implement it.

Philip’s Decision to Propose Marriage

Philip’s instructions to his ever-faithful ambassador, de Feria, on 10 January 1559 were to propose marriage to Elizabeth Regina when de Feria could obtain a private audience with Elizabeth.  The ever-cautious king did stipulate that Count Feria was not to propose any conditions until he ascertained “how the Queen is disposed towards the matter itself” (Hume Simancas January 1559 8).  Philip did struggle with his conscience and “many great difficulties” but he “decided to place on one side all other considerations which might be urged against it” and was “resolved to render this service to God, and offer to marry the queen of England”  (Hume Simancas January 1559 8).  He wrote to his Ambassador in England that he believed as a faithful Catholic he had “to sacrifice my private inclination” and if “it was not to serve God, believe me, I would not have got into this… Nothing would make me do this except the clear knowledge that it would gain the kingdom [of England] for his service and faith” (Somerset 107).

The difficulties Philip envisioned with the marriage included his obligation to be in his other dominions and therefore could not be in England; Elizabeth’s lack of sincere commitment to the Catholic faith; the French perceived threat to their interests; and, Spain’s exhausted treasury.  Despite these and “many other difficulties no less grave,” Philip admits that he “cannot lose sight of the enormous importance of such a match to Christianity and the preservation of religion” (Hume Simancas January 1559 8).   Philip did not think he could, in all conscience, risk the loss of England, and put neighboring countries in danger, to the Protestant faith.  

Ip2 for part V
Philip II by Anthonis Mor Van Dashorst, 1549-1555

Philip figured that as Elizabeth would have to be Catholic to marry him, it would “be evident and manifest” that he was “serving the Lord in marrying her and that she has been converted by his act” (Hume Simancas January 1559 8).   Not so astonishingly, Philip wanted to portray himself with having the upper hand, being seen as the benefactor of as many things as possible and to once again force a sense of obligation on Elizabeth.

Count de Feria, so loyal to his country and king, could not contemplate that Elizabeth would not readily marry Philip.  Imagine his surprise when she thanked him for the compliments but requested time to think it over—which she did for several months. 

Perhaps de Feria would have done well to have remembered Elizabeth’s comments in November 1558 when she referred to the loss of the peoples’ affections that her sister Mary experienced upon marriage to a foreigner.  This topic was discussed more thoroughly in the blog entry, “Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd: Part IV” at http://www.elizregina.com.

Elizabeth told de Feria that she would lay the question before her Privy Council and Parliament.  The Ambassador certainly had an ear to the ground.  He heard the rumblings that Elizabeth’s First Parliament was going to push forward the issue of her marriage (this topic has been discussed in the blog entry “Heir Unapparent” at http://elizregina.com/2013/04/02/heir-unapparent/).  He advised his king on 31 January 1559 “to wait for Parliament to press the Queen to marry” which she did not want to have happen.  If she did declare her choice while Parliament was sitting, “if the person chosen is not to their liking they could use the national voice to stop the affair” (Hume Simancas January 1559 13).

Elizabeth assured Count de Feria that if she were to marry anyone it would be Philip. Of course, the councilors were against it, just as she probably suspected they would be.  Elizabeth understood the diplomatic responses she had to make.  She was holding out on giving a true answer as she waited for the international scene to unfold and she did not think it was politic to turn Philip down outright, as she needed Spain and his good will.

One objection Elizabeth raised to the marriage was the consanguinity of her relationship with Philip. As the widow of her sister, she walked the fine line as her father had married his brother’s widow.  Henry VIII divorced Catherine of Aragon based on the violation of the Book of Leviticus.  A dispensation from the Pope would tactically admit her illegitimacy by saying that she and Philip could marry; there could be no way to apply the objection of consanguinity to Henry and Catherine’s marriage because if they were legally married, Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn would have been bigamous.

Elizabeth_I_in_coronation_robes
Elizabeth Regina, Coronation Portrait

By the time of his letter to his King on February 12th, de Feria was clued to Elizabeth’s responses and her delays.  He reported that at his audience with her the day before she “began to answer me by keeping to her old argument for not wishing to marry” but when he “cut short the reply” and pressed for an answer his exasperation could be felt.  “I soon understood what the answer would be, namely, that she did not think of marrying, and so to shelve the business with fair words” (Hume Simancas February 1559 14). So ended this conversation, yet, the Count’s optimism could not be curtailed.  He believed that even though he “would have no answer that was not a very good one” he “left the matter open” (Hume Simancas February 1559 14).

By February 12, Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador to King Philip’s Court was conceding that “the discussion about the Queen’s marriage to this King has in great measure ceased, and it seems that the whole of this negotiation will depend on the resolve of Parliament about religion” (Brown Venice February 1559 21).

Some flippancy could not be held back from a London writer in correspondence with Paulo Tiepolo. Tiepolo related that the Londoner revealed that “Parliament also sent a deputation to pray the Queen that she will be pleased to marry within the Realm” and although no particular candidate was mentioned “her Majesty, after having first made some verbal resistance to the first point, as becoming a maiden, replied that to oblige them she would marry; adding with regard to the second point, that she had well seen how many inconveniences her sister was subjected to, from having married a foreigner. Obviously, knowing Elizabeth fairly well, the correspondent continued “some persons are of the opinion that she will marry to please herself (as it seems to me that I also should do the like), and perhaps a person of not much lineage. Amongst those most frequently mentioned is a gentleman who is now in Flanders, and who is said to be ill there. Guess who he is!” (Brown Venice February 1559 19).  Robert Dudley never was out of peoples’ thoughts as Elizabeth’s possible consort.

Robert_Dudley_Leicester8
Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester 

One thing that discomposed the Ambassador was the suspicion he had over the integrity of his correspondence with Spain.  He wrote to his fellow ministers in a debriefing at the end of February 1559 that sometimes it seemed as if Elizabeth could read his thoughts.  He speculated that Elizabeth was “so well informed about this that it looks as if she had seen His Majesty’s letters.  This should be taken good note of” (Hume Simancas February 1559 17).

The Rejection

On 19 March, de Feria shared with Philip that during his audience with Elizabeth she told him “she could not marry your Majesty as she was a heretic. I was much surprised to hear her use such words and begged her to tell me the cause of so great a change since I last discussed the subject with her, but she did not enlighten me” (Hume Simancas March 1559 18).

By this time the international situation had shifted as she was in sounder diplomatic standing with France and she could not keep up the pretext that she would be a Catholic.  She and Parliament were pressing forward with religious changes as de Feria wrote to Philip on March 18th that she was “resolved about what was yesterday passed in Parliament, and which Cecil and Chamberlain Knollys and their followers have managed to bring about for their own ends” (Hume Simancas March 1559 18).

Feria was quite astounded by her response which he could only contribute to those heretics who “leave no stone unturned to compass their ends that no doubt they have persuaded her that your Majesty wishes to marry her for religious objects alone, and so she kept repeating to me that she was heretical and consequently could not marry your Majesty” (Hume Simancas March 1559 18).  Fearful of losing the objective Feria told his King that he assured her that he “did not consider she was heretical and could not believe that she would sanction the things which were being discussed in Parliament, because if she changed the religion she would be ruined” (Hume Simancas March 1559 18).

Now we see the blend of religious policy, marriage policy and foreign policy. In Spanish eyes to balance all three was virtually impossible. Those Spanish eyes were not viewing Elizabeth Regina in all her determined glory.  Elizabeth was determined to return her country to the Church of Henry VIII if not Edward VI; she was determined not to marry; and she was equally determined to pacify French and Spanish demands.  Paulo Tiepolo wrote from Brussels on 19 March 1559 to the Doge that the Bishop of Aquila told him that Elizabeth risked “alienating herself entirely from the Catholic religion” but he also “bestowed on her as much praise for talent and ability as was ever given to any other woman” (Brown Venice March 1559 44).  High praise indeed.

Lorenzo_Priuli_Cropped
Lorenzo Priuli, Doge of Venice

Philip wrote to his Ambassador, Count de Feria, on 23 March after the negotiations for marriage to Elizabeth had failed expressing lukewarm regret.  “By your letters and by the bishop of Aquila I am informed of the Queen’s decision about the marriage, and, although I cannot help being sorry that the affair has not been arranged, as I greatly desired and the public weal demanded, yet as the Queen thinks it was not necessary and that with good friendship we shall attain the same object, I am content that it should be so” (Hume Simancas March 1559 19).

Elizabeth was to rely on Philip’s “friendship implicitly so that no opportunity shall be presented for the French to be appealed to in case of necessity.…”  The Hapsburg interests emerged in the direct mission for de Feria: “The main end and aim that you must have in view in all things is to obstruct and impede, by every way, form and means, any rupture between the Catholics and heretics in England, this being the best course for the pacification of the country, and for the welfare of our interests, as it will deprive the French of any excuse for putting their foot in the country, which is the thing principally to be avoided” (Hume Simancas March 1559 20).  Quite an assignment.

As always Philip needed to cover all his bases.  Worried that “the Queen might perhaps think I was offended at her rejection of the marriage,” he wrote a separate letter to de Feria that was to be presented to Elizabeth. For a man who approached the proposal feeling “like a condemned man awaiting his fate” (Somerset 107), he wanted to maintain the idea of friendship between them.  The letter Feria was commissioned to give to Elizabeth stressed to her that Philip was “quite satisfied with what pleases her.”  Feria was given a bit of leeway by his boss to give the necessary “complimentary words and offers of service…in accord with the contents of the letter” and Spanish interests (Hume Simancas March 1559 20).

It is good to see Philip acknowledge the diligence of his hard-working Ambassador by including in the letter praise for “the prudence, moderation and zeal” Count de Feria had shown in all his dealings with the Queen.  The King thanked his servant but could not help but send a not-so-subtle message that he expected Feria “to continue the same care, diligence and good will in the guidance of affairs touching my interests” (Hume Simancas March 1559 20).

The King wanted his ambassador to ensure the Queen understood that he would always be ready to assist her and cooperate with her government.  Philip did want to assure her that he would “preserve the good friendship and brotherhood that I have hitherto maintained.” Elizabeth was also to be advised that Philip would “render her any service in the matter of her marriage …with all the goodwill …ever shown in matters that concern her” (Hume Simancas March 1559 19).

Elizabeth took the chance to tease de Feria on his master’s inconstancy saying that if Philip would not change religions for “all the kingdoms of the earth” then “much less would he do it for a woman.”  Feria’s romantically diplomatic answer was that “men did more for a woman than for anything else” (Hume Simancas March 1559 18).  According to his report, Elizabeth shifted the line of the interview by discussing the large sums of money taken out of the country every year for the Pope and that she knew it must be ended.

Interestingly, Feria revealed a maneuver on the part of Sir Francis Knollys.  He said that about a half hour after they were talking, Knollys came to announce supper was ready.  Feria clearly thought this was “arranged by those who are working this wickedness, for there is nothing that annoys them more than that I should speak to her.”  He took his leave and informed Philip that he told her “that she was not the Queen Elizabeth that I knew and that I was very dissatisfied with what I had heard, and if she did what she said she would be ruined” (Hume Simancas March 1559 18).  Pretty courageous fellow.

francisknollys
 Sir Francis Knollys

For references, please refer to the blog entry “Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd: Part I.”

Fit for a King

Fit for a King

The need to express majesty may have been greater in Henry VII and Elizabeth I than in royals contemporary with them or even before and after their reigns.  Both had precarious claims to the throne, both had rivals waiting to step in and both had to project strength to Continental Courts. Henry and Elizabeth used Court ceremonial, dress and jewels and building programs / portraiture to convey their royal dignity.

Henry VII realized the need to show his majesty to the nobles at home and abroad at his coronation.  If he “looked, behaved and ruled like a king, perhaps the exhausted, traumatized country of England would come to believe he was one” (Penn 11). Apparently he succeeded as a contemporary recalled the rejoicing “[f]or whan the kynge … was crowned in all that grete tryumphe & glorye…” (Fisher 306).

One of the greatest ceremonials that Henry VII hosted was the marriage of his son Arthur to Catherine of Aragon in November of 1501.  It is not the scope of this entry to discuss the entire celebrations but it was well-known to have cost a great deal of money with the purpose being to emphasize to the Spanish the affluence and security of his Court.  The Spanish were impressed as were envoys from around Europe. A contemporary who attended the wedding feast described the display of plate which was intended to show Henry’s wealth, “And ye shall understande that in the said halle was ordeyned a cupbourde of 6 stages height, being Tryangled; the which Cupbord was garnysshed w gilt plate, as fflagons, greate pottes, standing, cuppys, and bolles, to a greate value” (Kingsford 250).

Henry VII’s expenses reveal that he did not spare for his attire of which he had a “penchant for expensively dyed black clothes” (Penn 6). Jewelry purchased for large sums of money were of “diverse precious stones and other juells that come from beyond the see” (Norton 147).  Raimondo de’ Raimondi of Soncino, Milanese Ambassador in England, wrote to Ludovico Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan: “His Majesty, in addition to his wonderful presence, was adorned with a most rich collar, full of great pearls and many other jewels, in four rows, and in his bonnet he had a pear-shaped pearl, which seemed to me something most rich” (Hinds).

Henry had an affinity for the European Courts, which is understandable when one thinks of the many years he spent on the Continent, and tried to copy many of their fashions, be it traditions or architecture. Building projects culminated in his stunning chapel at Westminster Abbey, although Richmond Palace, built on the site of the burned Sheen, was also a great showpiece.  Henry spared no expense in providing the palace with tapestries, furnishings and other costly adornments. In fact, Richmond was referred to by contemporaries as …“Riche mount a pun on Henry’s title as Earl of Richmond, and his conspicuous talent for heaping up wealth” (Perry 17).

Richmond 1562
Richmond 1562

Although not as ‘cash rich’ as her grandfather, Elizabeth understood the need to display her majesty at her coronation.  Sir John Hayward, writing his recollections of Elizabeth’s reign, recalled how for her coronation procession she was “most royally furnished, both for her persone and for her trayne, knowing right well that in pompous ceremonies a secret of government doth much consist, for that the people are naturally both taken and held with exterior shewes” (Bruce 15).  And what a show she put on!  C. S. Knighton and Richard Mortimer, while quoting the oft-footnoted Neville Williams’ estimate that the cost of the coronation was £16,742, believe it was closer to £20,000—or about 10% of her annual revenue (Knighton 125).  Since Williams’ figure is the most credited, I used that to calculate the current value of costs:  £4,730.00 using the retail price index or £73,900.00 using average earnings figures*. “We learn that besides the queen’s parliament robe there were provided a kirtle, surcoat, and mantle of crimson velvet furred with ermine, and like robes of purple velvet, also furred with ermine” (Grindal).

Westminster
Westminster Abbey

As queen, Elizabeth had gowns from all over Europe and was described by a German visitor, Heutzner, as “very majestic” (Ripley 317). Her wardrobe was extensive and famous.  Not only were the dresses and sleeves made of costly fabrics such as satin and velvet (her favored color scheme was of black and white), they were also embellished with gold braid, fur (mink) and precious gems.  The French were impressed with the number of pearls on her gowns saying that “…all the other princes of Christendom had not the like quantity of pearls of that sort” (Somerset 360). Elizabeth loved clothes and realized “the part which external magnificence could play in propagating an image of regality and power…” (Somerset 357).

Her jewels were beyond compare as she had at her disposal the wealth which her father had accumulated from the dissolution of the monasteries and the rings, pendants, necklaces and bracelets she acquired.  of her ostentatious display.  Andre de Maisse, the French Ambassador to her Court, wrote to Henry IV of her ostentatious display that she “wore innumerable jewels on her person, not only on her head, but also within her collar, about her arms and on her hands, with a very great quantity of pearls, around her neck and on her bracelets”…(Erickson 389). Another Ambassador of Venice, Giovanni Scaramelli, described her gown of silver and gold which “showed her throat encircled with pearls and rubies….”  Elizabeth “wore great peals like pears round the forehead.  She had a vast quantity of gems and pearls upon her person; even under her stomacher she was covered with golden jeweled girdles and single gems, carbuncles, balas-rubies and diamonds.  Round her wrists in place of bracelets she wore double rows of pearls of more than medium size” (Perry 316).

demassie                                         sforza
Attributed as  Andre de Maisse            Giovanni Scaramelli, 
Ambassador to France                           Ambassador to Venice

As Roy Strong reminds us, the purpose of state portraits was to “depict a ruler accompanied by the full panoply of state …posed in a majestic and grave manner…” (Strong 37). Elizabeth knew she needed portraiture “designed to emphasize the legitimacy of the Tudor right to the throne” (Strong 12) and this was demonstrated in the painting, The Allegory of the Tudor Succession, 1572.  It is well-known that the images approved by Elizabeth Regina were not intended to imitate her features true to life.  State portraiture was to convey her majesty, power and successes.

Although other rulers of the era used similar elements such as dress and ceremonies to project royal imagery, Henry VII and Elizabeth I understood their particular need to convey the legitimacy of their power.

*Used the calculator at Measuringworth http://www.measuringworth.com/ppoweruk/

 

Works Cited

Erickson, Carolly. The First Elizabeth. New York: Summit Books. 1983. Print.

Fisher, John. The English Works of John Fisher, Bishop of
Rochester.
London: Published for the Early English Text
Society by Trübner, 1876. Google Books. Web. 24 Nov. 2012.

Grindal, Edmund. The Remains of Edmund Grindal: Successively Bishop of London and Archbishop of York and Canterbury. Cambridge [England: Printed at the UP, 1843. Google Books. Web. 21 Nov. 2012.

Hayward, John, and John Bruce. Annals of the First Four Years of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth. London: Printed for the Camden Society by J.B. Nichols and Son, 1840. Google Books. Web. 24 Nov. 2012.

Hinds, Allen, ed. “Milan: 1497.” Calendar of State Papers and Manuscripts in theArchives and Collections of Milan: 1385-1618. (1912): 310-341. British History Online. Web. 24 November 2012.

Kingsford, Charles Lethbridge. Chronicles of London (1189-1509). Oxford: Clarendon, 1905. 234-50. Google Books. Web. 21 Dec. 2012.

Knighton, C. S., and Richard Mortimer. Westminster Abbey Reformed: 1540-1640. Aldershot, Hants, England: Ashgate, 2003. Google Books. Web. 25 Nov. 2012.

Norton, Elizabeth.  Margaret Beaufort: Mother of the Tudor Dynasty.  Stroud: Amberley, 2010. Print.

Penn, Thomas.  Winter King; the Dawn of Tudor England.  New York: Penguin Books, 2012. Print.

Perry, Maria.  The Word of a Prince: A Life of Elizabeth from Contemporary Documents. Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press, 1990.  Print.

Ridley, Jasper. Elizabeth I: The Shrewdness of Virtue.  New York: Fromm International Publishing Corporation, 1989.  Print.

Somerset, Anne. Elizabeth I.  New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991. Print.

Strong, Roy C. Gloriana: The Portraits of Queen Elizabeth I. London: Pimlico, 2003. Print.

Eat, Drink and Be Moderate

Eat, Drink and Be Moderate

We all have the image of Henry VIII as a man who did nothing in moderation, especially eating and drinking.  The last suit of armor that was created for him in the later years of his reign shows a waist measuring 52 inches and his chest at 53 inches. Contrast Henry VIII’s  measurements to the physical appearance, obviously maintained from moderation, of his father and daughter.

Although Edward Hall, a contemporary of Henry VII, was not using the following to describe Henry and his eating habits, the words could certainly apply. “Surely, this good & modest prince did not deuoure cosume y substance & ryches of his realme…” (Hall 505). Although there are not reams of written documentation of Henry VII being moderate in his consumption the evidence rests in his portraits and the few descriptions of his physical appearance.

Hall wrote “He [Henry] was a man of body but leane and spare, albeit mighty and stronge therwith, of personage and stature, somewhat hygher then the meane sorte of men be, of a wonderfull beutye and fayre complexion, of countenaunce mery and smylyng especially in his communicacion, hys eyes graye, his teethe syngle, and heare thynne…” (Hall 504).

Halll’s description of Henry VII was certainly seconded by Polydore Vergil an Italian priest who was commissioned by Henry VII to write a history of Britain.  In that history, Anglica Historia, Henry was described: “Statura, quae parum iustam excederet, forma exima, vultu praesertim in sermone hilari, oculis glaucis, dentibus raris, capillo etiam raro…”  The translation is provided: “His body was slender but strong and solid, a little above average in height. His appearance was handsome, particularly when his expression was happy in conversation. He had blue eyes, few teeth, and sparse hair…” (Vergil).

h7armour                   armour henry viii    

Armor of King Henry VII                                 Armor of King Henry VIII
No date given                                          Seven years before his death

If we examine several contemporary descriptions given throughout Elizabeth’s adult life we can see little change in her appearance. In a report back to Venice the ambassador, Giovanni Michiel, stated in May of 1557 Elizabeth “nel 1533, del mese di settembre, onde viene ad essere al presente di venti tre anni, giovane tenuta non manco bella d’animo, che sia di corpo, ancora che di faccia si può dire che sia piuttosto graziosa che bella; ma della persona ѐ grande e ben formata, di bella carne, ancorchѐ olivastra, begli occhi e sopra tutto bella mano, della quale ne fa professione” (Albèri 13).  This has been translated as follows, Elizabeth “was born in September 1533, so she is now 23 years old. She is a young woman, whose mind is considered no less excellent than her person, although her face is comely rather than handsome, but she is tall and well formed, with a good skin, although swarthy; she has fine eyes and above all a beautiful hand of which she makes a display” (Brown, Rawdon).  From gloves owned by her we have evidence of her exceptionally long fingers, which she was immensely proud of as they take pride of place in many portraits.  Her height is likely to have been between 5’ 3” and 5’ 5” and at the age of 64 she was declared to be “very strongly built” (Brown, Horatio).

If we examine several contemporary descriptions given throughout Elizabeth’s adult life, we can see little change in her appearance. In a report back to Venice the ambassador, Giovanni Michiel, stated in May of 1557: “My Lady Elizabeth was born in September 1533, so she is now 23 years old. She is a young woman, whose mind is considered no less excellent (bello) than her person, although her face is comely (gratiosa) rather than handsome, but she is tall and well formed, with a good skin, although swarthy (ancorchè olivastra); she has fine eyes and above all a beautiful hand of which she makes a display (della quale ne fa professione)” (Brown, Rawdon).  From gloves owned by her we have evidence of her exceptionally long fingers, which she was immensely proud of as they take pride of place in many portraits.  Her height is likely to have been between 5’ 3” and 5’ 5” and at the age of 64 she was declared to be “very strongly built” (Brown, Horatio).

As Queen we learn from Sir Francis Bacon that “she was tall of stature, of comely limbs, and excellent feature in her countenance; Majesty sate under the veil of sweetness, and her health was sound and prosperous” (Nicholas xiii). Thomas Fuller seconded these views commenting, “She was of person tall, of hair and complexion fair, well favoured, but high nosed; of limbs and feature, neat; of a stately and majestic deportment” (Fuller 255-256).

Not to be outdone, John Hayward gave an extensive description: “Shee was a Lady, upon whom nature had bestowed, and well-placed, many of her fairest favores; of stature meane, slender, straight, and amiably composed; of such state in her carriage, as every motione of her seemed to beare majesty; her haire was inclined to pale yellow, her forehead large and faire, a semmeing sete for princely grace; her eyes lively and sweete, but short-sighted; her nose somewhat rising in the middest; the whole compasse of her countenance somewhat long, but yet of admirable beauty, not so much in that which is tearmed the flower of youth, as in a most delightfull compositione of majesty and modesty in equall mixture” (Hayward 7).

In his book, A Journey into England, Paul Hentzner (sometimes referred to as Heutzner) wrote of seeing the Queen at Greenwich when she was age 65: “her face is oblong, fair but wrinkled; her eyes small, yet black and pleasant; her nose a little hooked; her lips narrow, and her teeth black; (a defect the English seem subject to from their too great use of sugar) …” (Hentzner 26).

Sugar appears to be the only edible that Elizabeth Regina consumed beyond moderation.  Elizabeth “at least in adult life, ate lightly, and there is no evidence of her over indulgence in childhood” (Erickson 45).  “For her private pleasures she used them moderately and warily, without touch to her reputation or offense to her people. She was in her diet very temperate, as eating but a few kinds of meat and those not compounded; the wine she drank was mingled with water, containing three parts more in quantity than the wine itself. Precise hours of refection she observed not, as never eating but when her appetite required it” (Robinson 192-193). She “habitually eschewed rich food” (Somerset 350) and during her visit to Kenilworth in 1575 it was reported that “Her Majesty eat smally or nothing” (Nicholas 456).

“In life, shee was most innocent; in desire, moderate” (Hayward 7) and “did beare herself moderately and respectively to all…” (Hayward 9). This moderation led Thomas Fuller to declare that “By her temperance she improved that stock of health which nature bestowed on her…”(Fuller 254).

Her natural physique certainly seems to have come to her from her grandfather. Besides having both been described as abstentious in eat and drink, Henry VII and Elizabeth shared many common physical characteristics.  They were tall, slender and strong. Both showed the presence of dental troubles and thinning hair.  Each was proclaimed to have a happy expression and contemporaries readily proclaimed them handsome. As the rulers they were, Henry VII and Elizabeth Regina comported themselves in the majestic manner befitting regal personages.

h7 death mask        Bristol5

Death Mask of Henry VII               Image of Elizabeth at St. Mary Redcliffe Church in Bristol

Works Cited

Albèri, Eugenio, ed. Le Relazione Degli Ambasciatori Veneti Al Senato Durante Il Secolo Decimosesto. Firenze: Società Editrice Fiorentina, 1855. Stoira Di Venezia. Web. 21 Jan. 2013. <le relazioni degli ambasciatori veneti al senato durante il secolo decimosesto>.

Brown, Horatio F. (editor). “Venice: November 1596.” Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 9: 1592-1603 (1897): 236-245. British History Online. Web. 19 January 2013.

Brown, Rawdon (editor). “Venice: May 1557, 11-15. Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice”, Volume 6: 1555-1558 (1877): 1041-1095. British History Online. Web. 19 January 2013.

Erickson, Carolly. The First Elizabeth. New York: Summit Books. 1983. Print.

Fuller, Thomas. The Holy State and the Profane State. Chiswick:  Charles Whittingshaw 1648. Google Books. Web. 19 Jan. 2013.

Hall, Edward, Henry Ellis, and Richard Grafton. Hall’s Chronicle; Containing the History of England, during the Reign of Henry the Fourth, and the Succeeding Monarchs, to the End of the Reign of Henry the Eighth, in Which Are Particularly Described the Manners and Customs of Those Periods. London: Printed for J. Johnson and J. Rivington; T. Payne; WIlkie and Robinson; Longman, Hurst, Rees and Orme; Cadell and Davies; and J. Mawman, 1809. Archive.org. Web. 2 Jan. 2013.

Hayward, John, and John Bruce. Annals of the First Four Years of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth. London: Printed for the Camden Society by J.B. Nichols and Son, 1840. Google Books. Web. 19 Jan. 2013.

Hentzner, Paul, and R. Bentley. A Journey into England. In the Year M.D. XC. VIII.Reading: Reprinted at the Private of T.E. Williams, 1807. Google Books. Web. 19 Jan. 2013.

Nichols, John. The Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth. Among Which Are Interspersed Other Solemnities, Public Expenditures, and Remarkable Events during the Reign of That Illustrious Princess. Collected from Original MSS., Scarce Pamphlets, Corporation Records, Parochial Registers, &c., &c.: Illustrated with Historical Notes. New York: B. Franklin, 1823. Google Books. Web. 19 Jan. 2013.

Somerset, Anne. Elizabeth I.  New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991. Print.

Vergil, Polydore. Polydore Vergil, Anglica Historia (1555 Version). Ed. Dana F. Sutton. Irvine: University of California, 2005. Polydore Vergil, Anglica Historia (1555 Version). The Philological Museum, 04 Aug. 2005. Web. 02 Jan. 2013.