Henry VIII,the Reign
c.1490 – 1556
Imperial Ambassador to England
1529 until 1545
Profile Eustace Chapuys Imperial Ambassador to England
Eustace Chapuys the son of Louis Chapuys and Guigonne Dupuys, was a Savoyard diplomat who served Charles V as Imperial ambassador to England from 1529 until 1545 and is best known for his extensive and detailed correspondence.
He was born between 1490 and 1492 in Annecy, then in the Duchy of Savoy. Chapuys began his education at Annecy and from 1507, attended the University of Turin, where he remained for at least five years. Around 1512, having chosen law as a career, he continued his studies at the University of Valence. In early 1515, he attended the Sapienza University of Rome, where he attained the degree of doctor of civil and canon laws, and received the Pope's blessing.
During the next two years, Chapuys was ordained and in July 1517, he was made a canon of the cathedral at Geneva and dean of Viry. In August 1517, he became an official of the diocese of Geneva, deputising for the bishop, John of Savoy, a cousin of the Duke of Savoy, in the episcopal court and subsequently served the Duke of Savoy and Charles de Bourbon. In 1522 he was granted the deanery of Vuillonnex.
By August 1526 he was the Duke of Bourbon’s ambassador to Charles V’s court in Granada and he first visited England in September 1526. In the summer of 1527, following the death of the Duke of Bourbon at the sack of Rome, he entered the service of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, working under Nicholas Perrenot, seigneur de Granvelle. He held the positions of councillor and master of requests by July 1527,and at Valladolid on 25 June 1529, he was appointed Charles V's ambassador to England.
Chapuys arrived in England, in late August 1529,to take over the post of resident ambassador from Don Íñigo de Mendoza, He was to remain in the post from 1529 until 1545, except for brief absences from 1539 to 1540 and in 1542.
Chapuys' legal background was advatageous to defend Henry VIII's wife Catherine of Aragon, who was also an aunt of Emperor Charles V, against the legal proceedings, known at the time as the "King's Great Matter". which led, eventually, to the English rejection of Papal authority and break from the Roman Catholic Church. Catherine had requested Chapuys as a replacement for Mendoza, for that reason.
IChapuys’s relationship with Anne Boleyn was tense and refered to her, for the most part, as the concubine".
Catherine died in January 1536.
Although it was to support Catherine in her cause that he first came to England, it was to her daughter, Mary to whom he rendered the greater service. Chapuys, who had been devoted to Catherine, disapproved of the king's treatment of his daughter.
In 1539, Chapuys began to suffer from gout. He was recalled to Antwerp, in April that year, when diplomatic relations deteriorated and reamied there until July 1540.
On his return, he worked to restore Anglo-Imperial relations and was involved in the negotiations for the alliance of February 1543, which led to Henry VIII and Charles V declaring war on France. Chapuys accompanied Henry VIII’s men to France. His health had continued to worsen in 1544 and he asked to be relieved of his post, but the Emperor allowed him to leave only after introducing his successor, François van der Delft,.