Sunday, February 17, 2008

Question from Katie - Mary Tudor and Thomas Cromwell

I just finished Mary, Bloody Mary by Carolyn Eriskon. In the book, Mary is afraid that her father is going to marry her off to Thomas Cromwell.

Is this true? Did Thomas Crowmell have his eyes on Mary? Was that one of the reasons he was beheaded?


Foose said...

Cromwell was single for much of his period of glory, the 1530s, and there is some wonderment that he never remarried after the death of his first wife. I can't recall any correspondence or documents that suggest he was the recipient of matrimonial overtures from any great or noble family.

He seems to appear somewhat sympathetic and kindly to Mary in their correspondence after Anne Boleyn's death, but most interpretations is that he was manipulating her into submission to her father.

He bagged Jane Seymour's sister for his son, so clearly he had some aspirations (his grandchildren were first cousins to Edward VI!) But still ... I can't see Henry sanctioning a marriage to Mary. As other commenters on this blog have said, Henry seemed to want to keep Mary single as long as possible. And Mary's relations on the Continent would have gone berserk. Probably the English nobility, too.

But still, it's curious that Thomas Cromwell never remarried, when he must have had plenty of valuable opportunities. My verdict, Not Proven.

Anonymous said...

as a matter of facct,I read beware princess elizabeth,and no,that wasnt one of the reaons ,he was executed because of anne boleyn,she persuaded the king to do it,beacause before she had her eyes on the king ,she was going to marry a man named henry percy,but what she didn't know was that the king already did have his eyes on her ,so the king told thomas to prevent the marrige and forever since anne was angry at him ,thomas not the king beacause if i'm not wrong,she never knew that they were the king's orders.and when the king loved her the most she slowly persuaded him to execute him,but sadly on his way to his execution,thomas died of an ilness ,or so I read.

Foose said...

I think I have tracked down the circumstances of this rumor in two sources.

According to "The Pilgrimage of Grace," by Madeleine Hope Dodds and Ruth Dodds, in 1536 "... It was commonly said that the statute empowering the King to appoint his successor by will had been framed in order that Cromwell himself might be made the King's heir. Earlier in the year it had been said that he was plotting to marry the Lady Mary. Now the story went that he was to have married Lady Margaret Douglas, the King's niece, and that when her secret marriage with Lord Thomas Howard was discussed, the act of attainder against Lord Thomas had been procured so that it might still be possible for Cromwell to marry Lady Margaret." The Dodds cite Letters and Papers, xi, 41. (I can't find this online - part of 1536 is missing from the source I usually use.)

"The Life and Letters of Thomas Cromwell" by Roger Merriman (which is available online at Google Books) cites a letter of Chapuys as the source of the rumor. The footnote cited on page 144 of Volume I says that in July 1536 Cromwell had a gold ring made with figures of the King, Queen Jane and Mary, with a Latin inscription commending the virtues of obedience, that he apparently intended to present to Mary. The King took it away from Cromwell, saying that he wanted to give it to Mary himself. "The episode should have been sufficient to show that even if Cromwell had any idea of marrying the Princess, the King's opposition to the plan would prove insurmountable."