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HENRY VIII's son-in-law becomes King of England

PHILIP AND MARY. King and Queen of England
Letter Signed by Mary Tudor and by Philip II (of Spain) as King of England to William, Baron Paget (1505/6-1603), 29 January 1555. Single page folio (oblong) with complete address-leaf bearing also a contemporary endorsement. Bound in grey boards with gilt-lettered leather label; in exceptionally fine condition.

A LETTER OF REMARKABLE RARITY AND GREAT HISTORICAL INTEREST; NO OTHER ENGLISH DOCUMENT SIGNED BY PHILIP AND MARY HAS BEEN SEEN ON THE MARKET FOR AT LEAST TWENTY YEARS. Signed at the head 'philip' (with the paraph that he also used as King of Spain) and by Mary in her usual form as 'Marye the quene', with the scribal heading 'By the king and the Quene'. Philip's signature apparently deliberately forced into the small available space before that of the queen, which may perhaps have been written first.

The letter orders Lord Paget and 'Lord Clynton' to attend at Windsor Castle as commissioners to oversee the installation of Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy, and Lord Howard of Effingham 'high Admirall of England' as members of the Order of the Garter.

'Right trusty and welbeloved we grete you well. And where as we have appointed you together with our right trusty and welbeloved the lorde Clynton to be in com'ission for the instalment in our Castle of windesour as well of our derest and most entirely beloved Cousin the duke of savoy by his Ambassadour Resident here [i.e. as the duke's proxy], as of our right trusty and welbeloved counselor the lorde Howarde of Effingham our high Admirall of England, being both of them lately chosen to be of the fellowship and companions of our order of the Garter. We have thought good not onely to gyve you knowledge hereof by these our l[ett]res, but allso to require you to make your repayre to our said Castle of windesour, for as ye may be there by tommorrow at nyht being weddeinsday the xxxth you may procede to the sayd instalment accordingly. Geven under our Signet at our Pallauce of westminstre the xxixth of January the first and seconde yeres of our Reignes. [1555]'

Philip arrived to marry Mary Tudor in July 1554, and maintained the style of king although he was never crowned. By July 1555, the year of this letter Philip still hoped for an heir who might eventually unite the crowns of England and Spain. Mary, whose phantom pregnancy was well advanced, awaited the birth with Philip at Hampton Court, where the air was purer than in London. However by the beginning of August Mary was finally forced to admit that her hopes were illusory. Philip, deeply unpopular in England and anxious to return to his European campaigns, now saw no reason to remain, and left England in September, to Mary's great grief. He returned only once, in March 1557, for three and a half months, to persuade Mary to commit English troops to his war against France, which resulted in the loss of Calais. Philip spent in all no more than seventeen months in the country of which he was the titular king.

After Mary's death at the age of forty-two Philip no longer associated himself with England, and, although he made an offer to marry Elizabeth, his hopes of securing the succession to the throne were abandoned. In 1558 he sent forth from Spain the armada whose failure was ultimately to be ruinous to his prestige.

Edward Fiennes de Clinton, ninth Baron Clinton and first earl of Lincoln (1512-1558) had seized the Tower of London after the death of Edward VI on 6 July 1553, and supported the Duke of Northumberland's plot to exclude Mary from the throne in favour of Lady Jane Grey. Despite this, unsuccessful, treachery Mary was to pardon him, reward him for his services, and appoint him to attend on Philip on his arrived in England. He raised a considerable force, with the earl of Pembroke, to confront Sir Thomas Wyatt's rebellion, and was involved also with the ill-fated expedition to France in support of Philip.

William Paget, first Baron Paget (1505/6-1563), diplomat and administrator, was one of the chief ministers in the reign of Queen Mary and at least outwardly, one of the principal negotiators of her marriage to Philip of Spain. Paget had a long established career at court, being appointed clerk of the privy council in 1540 after the execution of Thomas Cromwell. He became a key figure in the last years of Henry VIII, conversing with the dying king night after night in his last illness and was instrumental in the conviction of the earl of Surrey for treason. In the events after his death, his support for Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford led to his betrayal of Stephen Gardiner.

William Howard, first Baron Howard of Effingham (c. 1510-1573, naval commander), had held Calais for Queen Mary against the supporters of Lady Jane Grey, and had been involved with the negotiations with the Spanish ambassadors who came to London to arrange the marriage with Philip, who was then heir to the Spanish throne. He was instrumental in suppressing Wyatt's rebellion, and was made lord admiral in March 1554, replacing the protestant Clinton.
[No: 26614]

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