The Tudor Society

29 October – Henry VIII bids farewell to his “loving brother”

On this day in Tudor history, 29th October 1532, King Henry VIII bid farewell to his “loving brother”, his French counterpart, King Francis I.

The two kings had enjoyed each other's company at Calais and Boulogne, and Henry VIII was pleased with their meetings. In fact, things had gone so well that Henry VIII decided to marry Anne Boleyn!

Find out more about their farewell, and what had happened during the trip, in today's talk.

Also on this day in history, 29th October 1618, in the reign of King James I, Elizabethan courtier, explorer, author and soldier, Sir Walter Ralegh was executed in the Old Palace Yard at Westminster Palace. He’d led an eventful life. He'd been a favourite of Elizabeth I, he’d been imprisoned in the Tower of London on several occasions, he'd been accused of atheism at one point, had sailed to America and tried to establish a colony, he was knighted for his service in Ireland, and he was a poet too! Find out all about Sir Walter Ralegh's colourful life in last year’s video:

Also on this day in history:

  • 1586 – Four days after a commission had found Mary, Queen of Scots guilty of conspiring to assassinate Elizabeth I, Parliament met to discuss Mary’s fate. They decided that they should petition the Queen for Mary’s execution.
  • 1605 – Death of George Clifford, 3rd Earl of Cumberland, courtier and naval commander, at the duchy house, near the Savoy in London. He was buried in the family vault in Holy Trinity Church, Skipton, near Skipton Castle. Clifford was Elizabeth I's second champion. He commanded a ship in the Anglo-Spanish War, and is known for capturing Fort San Felipe del Morro in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1598. Elizabeth I nicknamed him her “rogue”.


On this day in Tudor history, 29th October 1532, according to Wynkyn de Worde, who recorded the King and Anne Boleyn’s 1532 trip to Calais in his contemporary pamphlet “The Maner of the tryumphe of Caleys and Bulleyn”, King Henry VIII bid farewell to his “loving brother”, as he called him, King Francis I.

Wynkyn de Worde wrote “And upon the 29 day of October the french king departed from Calais to Paris ward and our king brought him as far as Morgison which is from Calais 7 mile and so came to Calais again.”

Chronicler Edward Hall dates the farewell to 30th October and writes:
“The morrow after being the thirty day of October, the two kings departed out of Calais, and came near to Sandingfield, and there alighted in a fair green place, where was a table set, and there the Englishmen served the Frenchmen of wine, hypocras, fruit, and spice abundantly. When the two kings had communed a little, they mounted on their horses, and at the very entering of the French ground, they took hands, and with Princely countenance, loving behaviour, and hearty words, each embraced other and so depart there departed.”

The two kings had spent four days together in English-held Calais and four days together at the French court in Boulogne, but now it was time for these ‘beloved brothers’ to part and get on with ruling their kingdoms.

As Clare Cherry and I explained in our book George Boleyn: Tudor Poet, Courtier and Diplomat “Ostensibly the meeting was to discuss the defence of Christendom against the Turks, but in reality it was to discuss the steps necessary to bring about the marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and to enlist the King of France’s active support.”

As I’ve mentioned in previous talks, Francis I was sympathetic to the couple’s plight and promised his support if England needed help against Catherine of Aragon’s nephew, Emperor Charles V. He gave the Bishop of Auxerre instructions to talk to the Pope, but in the meantime, Henry VIII came to the decision to forget the pope and marry Anne Boleyn regardless. Edward Hall writes of how the couple married on Thursday 14th November 1532, St Erkenwald’s Day, shortly after their arrival in Dover, and whether or not that is true, they certainly began living like man and wife from that point on, and, of course, Anne Boleyn was pregnant when they got married in another secret service in January 1533.

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29 October – Henry VIII bids farewell to his “loving brother”