Henry VIII,the Reign
Sir Thomas Wyatt
1503 – 11 October 1542
Sir Thomas Wyatt English Ambassador and Lyrical Poet
Son of Henry and Anne Wyatt Thomas Wyatt was born at Allington Castle, near Maidstone, Kent, in 1503. His first court appearance was in 1516 as Sewer Extraordinary to Henry VIII. In 1516 he entered St. John's College, University of Cambridge. In about 1520,he married Lord Cobham's daughter Elizabeth Brooke and they had a son Thomas Wyatt, the Younger, in 1521.
Around 1525, Wyatt separated from his wife, charging her with adultery.
He accompanied Sir Thomas Cheney on a diplomatic mission to France in 1526 and Sir John Russell to Venice and the papal court in Rome in 1527. He was made High Marshal of Calais from 1528 to 1530 and Commissioner of the Peace of Essex in 1532. Also in 1532, Wyatt accompanied King Henry and Anne Boleyn, on their visit to Calais. Anne Boleyn married the King in at some time in late 1532 or early 1533, and Wyatt served in her coronation in June 1533.
Wyatt was knighted in 1535, but in 1536 he was imprisoned in the Tower after an autivcation with the Duke of Suffolk. During this imprisonment Wyatt witnessed the execution of Anne Boleyn on May 19, 1536 from the Bell Tower, and wrote V. Innocentia Veritas Viat Fides Circumdederunt me inimici mei. He was released later that year. Henry, Wyatt's father died in November 1536.
Back in favour he was made ambassador to the court of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, in Spain. He returned to England in June 1539, and later that year was again ambassador to Charles until May 1540.
In 1541 Wyatt was charged with treason on a revival of charges originally levelled against him in 1538 by Edmund Bonner, now Bishop of London. Bonner claimed that while ambassador, Wyatt had been rude about the King's person, and had dealings with Cardinal Pole, a papal legate and Henry's kinsman, with whom Henry was much angered over Pole's siding with papal authority in the matter of Henry's divorce from Katharine of Aragón.
Wyatt was again confined to the Tower, where he wrote an impassioned 'Defence'. He received a royal pardon, and was fully restored to favour in 1542. Wyatt was given various royal offices after his pardon, but he became ill after welcoming Charles V's envoy at Falmouth and died at Sherborne on 11 October 1542.
Wyatt, along with Surrey, was the first to introduce the sonnet into English, with its characteristic final rhyming couplet.