In this letter, Katharine writes to Eustace Chapuys, the Imperial ambassador and her fervent ally against the annulment. Upon Katharine’s request, Chapuys had asked Henry VIII if Katharine and Princess Mary could meet. The princess was ill and had not seen her mother for four years. Henry did not give his permission but he didn’t explicitly refuse either – and that gave Chapuys hope. But Henry also warned the ambassador that he feared both a popular uprising on Katharine’s behalf and the possibility of Princess Mary’s escape to the Continent. Chapuys reassured the king that both mother and daughter were loyal subjects – but he didn’t mention his own attempts to persuade Katharine to lend support to an uprising. Both Henry and Chapuys were aware of the vast popular support of both Katharine and Mary. In the end, Katharine refused to countenance a rebellion. Certainly she disliked the idea of others dying on her behalf, but she also would not disobey her husband. This was at the core of her character – a staunch and unwavering belief that she and Henry were still husband and wife, and it was her duty to obey him in all things excepting those which offended God.
Katharine’s protests to Henry that she would never support a rebellion meant little to the king. He refused to allow mother and daughter to meet, much to their mutual sorrow.
Mine especial friend,
You have greatly bound me with the pains that you have taken in speaking with the king my lord concerning the coming of my daughter unto me. The reward you shall trust to have of God; for (as you know) in me there is no power to gratify what you have done, but only with my goodwill. As touching the answer which has been made you, that his highness is contented to send her to some place nigh me, so as I do not see her, I pray you vouchsafe to give unto his highness mine effectual thanks for the goodness which he shows to his daughter and mine, and for the comfort that I have thereby received; as as to my seeing of her, you shall certify that, if she were within one mile of me, I would not see her. For the time permitteth not that I should go about sights, and be it that I would I could not, because I lack provision therefore.
Howbeit, you shall always say unto his highness that the thing which I desired was to send her where I am; being assured that a little comfort and mirth, which she should take with me, should undoubtedly be half a health to her. I have proved the like by experience, being diseased of the same infirmity, and know how much good it may do that I say. And, since I desired a thing so just and reasonable, and that so much touched the honor and conscience of the king my lord, I thought not it should have been denied me.
Let not, for my love, to do what you may that this may yet be done. Here have I, among others, heard that he had some suspicion of the surety of her. I cannot believe that a thing so far from reason should pass from the royal heart of his highness; neither can I think that he hath so little confidence in me. If any such matter chance to be communed of, I pray you say unto his highness that I am determined to die (without doubt) in this realm; and that I, from henceforth, offer mine own person for surety, to the intent that, if any such thing should be attempted, that then he do justice of me, as of the most evil woman that ever was born.
The residue I remit to your good wisdom and judgment as unto a trusty friend, to whom I pray God give health.
Katharine the Queen.
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Link will appear as Hanson, Marilee. "Letter of Katharine of Aragon to the Imperial ambassador, Eustace Chapuys 1535" https://englishhistory.net/tudor/letter/katharine-of-aragon-imperial-ambassador-eustace-chapuys-1535/, March 4, 2015