Monday, May 12, 2008

Question from Katherine - Items given to Mary after Catherine's death on "The Tudors"

I recently watched "The Tudors" and noted that after Queen Catherine's death, her daughter Mary was sent some of her items in a small wooden box. One item was letter and another appeared to be a rosary. Does anyone know how accurate this was? Are any of these items still in existence?

8 comments:

Jacob D. said...

Henry VIII did not allow Catherine to see her daughter, Mary, even when she was very ill and it was acknowledged that she was going to die. Whether or not he allowed her to send items to Mary I am not sure, but I think it is possible.

Sara said...

I think that it is definately possible that Mary received something, although I don't know what it was. Even Elizabeth I received a few things from her mother, such as her necklaces, and she was executed for treason and all of her things should have been confiscated by the Crown.

Foose said...

I think the letter in The Tudors' episode you refer to was actually a papal document affirming the legality of Catherine's and Henry's marriage. Catherine was asking her lady-in-waiting to read it to her before she died and the red seal dangling from it looks the same as the document Mary pulled out of the box. Also, it would be logical that Catherine would consider it among her most valued possessions.

In reality, while Pope Paul III pronounced Catherine's marriage in 1534, I'm not sure what sort of document supported it -- a letter, a bull, or some other form? Henry had already issued a proclamation in 1530 that nullified the legality of papal bulls in his realm that disagreed with his own views about the marriage. I don't know if Catherine actually had a document -- she knew that the Pope had ruled in her favor, but having the document in her possession might have been very dangerous. And I don't recall reading that she bequeathed such a document to Mary.

Foose said...

I did a little investigating and as far as I can make out Catherine left her furs and a "collar of gold" that she brought from Spain with her to her daughter Mary. Her clothes she wanted cut up for church vestments. I think she had very few personal belongings when she died.

Henry apparently told Cromwell that he wanted to see what the furs looked like first, and then that if Mary wanted them she "must show herself obedient."

I'm sure the furs, if Mary ever got them, fell apart long ago; as for the collar of gold, I've never seen a reference to it subsequently. I tried to find the exact wording of Catherine's will (was it a real, legal will?) online to see if there was more to it, but found nothing.

Foose said...

Just a final FYI -- David Starkey says that Catherine still had "considerable personal wealth (later estimated at 3,333 pounds)" and left it to her daughter and her servants. According to him, Sir Richard Rich (allegedly the man who perjured himself to get Sir Thomas More condemned) came up with a legal maneuver to allow Henry to acquire this wealth.

Nasim said...

Just to add to the other posts – Katherine did, as previous posters note, leave a collar of gold she brought from Spain to Mary along with furs of her gowns. In Beatrice’s White’s work on Mary she notes that Henry told Cromwell that before the furs be sent to Mary he wished to see what they were like and then that if the princess wished to have them she would have to be obedient first. Cromwell then reported this to Chapuys who was naturally dismayed. Unfortunately White has not referenced this, so I don’t know the source – although perhaps from Chapuys himself? Carolly Erickson in her work on Mary mentions that Mary took to wearing ‘a little gold cross with the relic’ which was bestowed to her by her mother before she died. This suggests that Mary did receive some items from her mother. The gold cross is also mentioned in Linda Porter’s recent biography on Mary.

Henry and Anne appear to have treated Mary more sympathetically following Katherine’s death, as Henry granted her money (Chapuys mentioned that Henry gave her 100,000 crowns which does sounds too large an amount) and Anne made more overtures of peace. Perhaps Henry’s ‘generous’ mood extended to granting Mary the items her mother designated for her.

Foose said...

Found some of Chapuys' letters online at:
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=75412

Here's what he said about Catherine's will in January 1536:

"Knowing that according to English law a wife can make no will while her husband survives, she would not break the said laws, but by way of request caused her physician to write a little bill, which she commanded to be sent to me immediately, and which was signed by her hand, directing some little reward to be made to certain servants who had remained with her. She also declared that she desired to be buried in a convent of Observants of the Order of St. Francis, to which her robes should be given to make church ornaments, and that the furs should be reserved for the Princess, her daughter, to whom she likewise desired to be given a collar with a cross which she had brought from Spain....
...the King wished first to see what the robes and furs were like, and that if the Princess wished to have what had been given her she must first show herself obedient to her father, and that I ought to urge her to be so."

Anonymous said...

I can't believe a father would not let his daughter see his mother!! Horrible for her!