Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 36.djvu/341

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Mary I
Mary I
335


on cleanliness in her dress and person. Philip van Wylder taught her the lute, and one Paston the virginals, while she was also a skilful executant on the regals. In 1527, when she was eleven, Mary translated a Latin frayer of St. Thomas Aquinas into very good Inglish, and transcribed it into her missal (Madden, cxxviii). In Latin, French, and Spanish she soon was able to converse with ease, but although she knew Italian she rarely spoke it. According to Crispin, lord of Milherve, writing in 1536, she also studied astronomy, geography, natural science, and mathematics. Much of her leisure she occupied in embroidery work. While the princess was at Ludlow in 1526, Wolsey made a determined effort to marry her to Francis I. The king of France was a "widower, thirty-two years old, and of notoriously abandoned life. And he was en- gaged at the time to the emperor's sister, Eleanor of Austria, widow of Emanuel the Great, king of Portugal. But both Francis and his mother, Louise of Savoy, at first affected to favour Wolsey 's proposal. Louise told the envoys that Francis had long been anxious to marry Mary ' for her manitold virtues and other good qualities. 1 On 26 Feb. 1527 Grammont, bishop of Tarbes, Francois, vicomte Turenne, and the president of Paris arrived at Dover, prepared to complete the negotiations. Wolsey saw them at Westminster on 3 March, and Henry received them at Greenwich four days later. Francis was obviously an undesirable suitor, and his relations with Eleanor offered a serious obstacle. After much discussion it was agreed on 22 March that in case Francis was unable or unwilling finally to accept the princess, she should be married to his second son, Henry, duke of Orleans. On 30 April the treaties were signed and sealed, and for a third time it was pretended that provision had been made for Mary's future. She was meanwhile summoned from Ludlow. On 23 April the French commissioners dined with the king at Greenwich, and after dinner were introduced to her. By Henry's wish they addressed her in French, Latin, and Italian, and after answering them in the same languages, she performed on the spinet. Great rejoicings were held on 5 May. A splendid pageant was prepared at Greenwich at a cost of 8,000l. After dinner the princess danced with the French ambassador Turenne, who 'considered her very handsome and admirable by reason of her great and uncommon mental endowments, but so thin, sparse, and small as to render it impossible for her to be married for the next three years.'

These festivities were the last in which Mary was to join with any lightness of heart. No sooner had the French envoys left England than Henry broached his scheme of divorcing himself from Mary's mother. In July Wolsey visited Francis, and hinted at the possibility of such a step. He pretended that it was first suggested to the king by some doubts of Mary's legitimacy raised by the Bishop of Tarbes during the recent marriage negotiations, on the ground that Catherine's first husband was Henry's brother. It is unlikely that the bishop made any such suggestion. Mean- while ttye French marriage scheme was still seriously accepted. But on 3 Aug. Wolsey told Francis I that although, as Mary's god-father, he desired Francis to marry her, it would be politic, in face of the emperor's known objections, to hand her finally over to Francis's son.

As the scheme for the divorce took practical shape, Mary's position greatly increased Henry's difficulties. The first rumours of the project were received with every sign of popular disapproval, chiefly on Mary's account. In London, according to Hall, the citizens asserted that, whomsoever the king should marry, they would recognise no successor to the crown but the husband of the Lady Mary. To prevent the formation of a political party in her favour her household at Ludlow was broken up, and she rejoined the queen. In 1528 she was at Ampthill, and was corresponding with Wolsey, whom she ingenuously credited, in a Latin letter, with giving her the 'supreme delight' of spending a month with her parents (Green, ii. 32-3). This is the first letter of hers that is extant. In October it occurred to Henry that to marry her at once might divert the popular hostility to the divorce. With a revolting indifference to natural sentiment he decided to invite Pope Clement VIII to issue a special dispensation for her marriage with his natural son, the Duke of Richmond, a boy of nine. The pope expressed his willingness to consider the proposal, but only on condition that the divorce should be abandoned (Letters and Papers, vol. iv. pt. ii. pp. 2113, 210). The plan accordingly went no further. Anne Boleyn thereupon urged that the Duke of Norfolk's youthful heir, afterwards famous as the Earl of Surrey, would be a desirable suitor. Clement VIII fully approved this suggestion, but the turn of events soon rendered it nugatory [see Howard, Henry, 1517 P-1554 ; Bapst, Deux Gentilshommcs poetes de la cour de Henry VIII, 1891]. For the three years (1529-32), during which the divorce was proceeding to its tragic close, Mary was chiefly with her mother, although a separate household was maintained