Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 36.djvu/344

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Mary I
Mary I

death. The Countess of Salisbury, Mary's governess, was sent to the Tower, with two of her sons; she was executed in 1541. Henry Courtenay, marquis of Exeter, was executed early in 1539, and two years later her school-master, Fetherston, and her mother's chaplain, Abel, suffered a like fate. Mary seems herself to have been kept in gentle restraint during 1539 at Hertford Castle. But her conduct did not justify harsh treatment. She had been receiving 40l. a quarter, and before Christmas 1539 she complained to Cromwell that the allowance was insufficient for the expenses of the festive season. Thereupon the king sent her 100l., and Cromwell a horse and saddle.

Meanwhile the desirability of finding a husband for Mary was still recognised by the king and his councillors. Even during her disgrace the question had been discussed. In 1534 her friends had proposed that Alessandro de' Medici, the nephew of the pope, would be a suitable match, but the king intervened and declared such a union was unfitted to her rank. In 1536 the French offered to open negotiations for her marriage with the dauphin, and Charles V favoured the scheme in the belief that Francis I might be thus induced to force Henry into a recognition of Mary's claim to the English throne. After her reconciliation, a more serious proposal was made, with the approval of Charles V, to unite her with Don Luiz, the heir to the crown of Portugal. In February 1538 negotiations had progressed so far that the young, man's father wrote to Henry expressing his satisfaction at the expected alliance. But disputes arose over the income to be allotted Mary in Portugal. Moreover Henry demanded that Charles V should give Don Luiz the duchy of Milan, and when the question of the princess's relations to the English succession was raised, Henry offered to increase her dowry on condition that she renounced all claims to the English crown. The negotiation consequently proved abortive (cf. Spanish Cal. 1538–42, pp. xviii, xix). Next year (1538) Cromwell, following in the footsteps of Wolsey, resolved to make Mary directly serve his diplomatic purposes. Anxious that Henry should ally himself with the protestant princes of the empire and marry Anne of Cleves, he believed that the scheme might be facilitated by the immediate union of Mary with Anne's only brother, William. In December 1538 the English envoys, Christopher Mont and Thomas Pannell, arrived at the court of the elector of Saxony, brother-in-law of William of Cleves, to promote the plan, and Cromwell directed them to dwell on Mary's beauty and accomplishments, although they were to admit that she was 'his Grace's daughter natural only,' In the next few months the negotiations for the king's marriage with Anne of Cleves proceeded satisfactorily, and Cromwell, in order to strengthen his policy, thought fit to lay aside the negotiations for Mary's marriage with the Duke of Cleves in order to substitute a more influential suitor from among the German protestant princes — Duke Philip of Bavaria, a nephew of Lewis V, elector of the Palatinate. The duke had come to England to herald the arrival of Anne of Cleves, and in December 1539 his suit for Mary's hand was accepted by the king. Mary told Wriothesley, who brought the announcement to her, that she would never enter the religion of her proposed husband, and desired 'to continue still a maid during her life.' To Cromwell, however, she wrote expressing compliance with her fathers will, and while on a visit to her brother at Enfield, Cromwell introduced the duke to her. The duke kissed her, and declared his readiness to marry her. The conversation was carried on partly in German with an interpreter, and partly in Latin. A treaty was drawn up, and it is preserved, in the handwriting of Tunstall, bishop of Durham, in MS. Cotton Vitell. c. xi. (ib. 287–290, 296). Mary was declared incapable of the English succession, but she was to receive handsome incomes from both her father and the duke. In January 1540 the latter left England in order to obtain his uncle's ratification of the arrangement, and gave Mary a cross in diamonds.

But Henry's rejection of Anne and Cromwell's fall followed within five months, and the change in the king's policy relieved Mary of her protestant suitor (cf. Spanish Chronicle, p. 57). Despite their differences in religious matters, Mary was apparently touched by the misfortunes of Anne of Cleves, and remained on good terms with her after her retirement from public life. With Henry's fifth queen, Catherine Howard, Mary does not seem to have been very friendly (Cal. Spanish State Papers, 1538–42, p. 295). Two months after Catherine Howard's execution (in January 1542), Henry made a final effort to marry Mary to the Duke of Orleans. The terms were formally considered at Chablis in Burgundy in April 1542, but a financial dispute between the English and French envoys, Paget and Bonnivet, proved insuperable. In June a report that Mary had secretly married the emperor was current on the continent. War with France was at the time growing imminent, and the French marriage scheme was finally abandoned.