Sunday, August 16, 2009

Question from Manon - Source for statement by Francis I

Hello Lara and all Tudor History blog contributors! I have a primary sources question for Foose, or anyone else here, who has done research on King Francis. I am curious about the background of an apparently disparaging statement he made to the Duke of Norfolk about Anne Boleyn's time in France. I have seen it quoted most recently in the "Six Wives" by Weir (p. 154), but her bibliography simply lists all her primary sources together and doesn't include foot or endnotes. Did it possibly come from Francis' interaction with the Bishop of Faenza?

I have been able to track down primary sources for his statements on Queen Katherine, Thomas and Mary Boleyn, but not this particular one. Thanks in advance.


Bearded Lady said...

Hi Manon, I am not sure which quote you are referring to but in a letter from Bishop of Faenza to M. Ambrosio he wrote, “Francis also spoke three days ago of the new queen of England, how little virtuously she has always lived and now lives.”

You can find this quote on the state papers online:

From: 'Henry VIII: July 1535, 1-10', Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 8: January-July 1535 (1885), pp. 379-402.

The infamous quote about her being a great whore can be found on 'Henry VIII: March 1536, 1-10', Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 10: January-June 1536 (1887), pp. 161-181.

hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

Hello Bearded Lady, it's Manon. I am interested in the complicated relations between France and England at this time.

Yes, that is the comment I have seen from Francis, which I assumed Weir was quoting. But I was mistaken - Weir's book has another, yet similar, quote she dates from 1533. Maybe I will run across the original correspondence in the state papers site you shared. Thank you very much!

Foose said...

This could be an error on Weir's part. The quote shows up in Carolly Erickson's, Marie Louise Bruce's and Philip Sergeant's books on Anne Boleyn, with the recipient of Francois' confidence unspecified but with the July 1535 section of Volume VIII of Letters & Papers cited (as Bearded Lady notes).

This source clearly shows that it is the Bishop of Faenza, not the Duke of Norfolk, who recorded the remark, and that it did not occur in 1533.

However, Alison Weir cites it with the 1533/Norfolk connection in all three books - The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Henry VIII and His Court and The Lady in the Tower, with Letters & Papers listed as the source in the latter two, but without the specifying volume or reference.

However, Hester Chapman's The Challenge of Anne Boleyn also includes the quote with the Duke of Norfolk specified, but correctly placed in 1535, and with a citation of Volume IX of Letters & Papers, which is not correct. Possibly Weir or her researcher may have lifted Chapman's Norfolk reference without checking it. I don't know she came up with a date of 1533, though.

It may be that Chapman made the original error regarding Norfolk -- the Bishop of Faenza talks about the Duke of Norfolk in practically the next sentence after the "little virtuously she has always lived" comment and the author may have transposed the Duke for the Bishop. I can't find any citation besides Weir's that assigns the quote to 1533. The Duke of Norfolk was on diplomatic missions to France in both 1533 and 1535, however.