John III the Peaceful, Duke of Cleves (1490 –1539). Letter signed to Henry VIII of England. Capital of Cleves, 20th October, 1531. One page, on paper, large 4to, 11 ¼ x 12 ½ inches, paper seal on verso, a few pale stains.
CONCERNING THE NEGOTIATION OF A MARRIAGE BETWEEN THE SON OF THE DUKE OF CLEVES AND MARY, DAUGHTER OF HENRY VIII AND CATHERINE OF ARAGON
A letter of introduction for ambassadors sent to negotiate a marriage between William, the Duke of Cleves’s son, and Mary, his daughter by Catherine of Aragon (and later Mary I). By 1525, Henry VIII was infatuated with Anne Boleyn and dissatisfied that his marriage to Catherine had produced no surviving sons. He sought to have their marriage annulled, setting in motion a chain of events that led to England's schism with the Catholic Church. In 1531 Henry was living openly with Anne Boleyn at Greenwich and tensions were mounting. Mary, the daughter of Henry VIII by Catherine of Aragon was only fifteen at this time but it was suggested to Henry that to marry her off to a popular suitor would divert attention from his divorce proceedings.
As a result in 1531 the Duke of Cleves, father of Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII's later fourth wife, wrote a letter of introduction to Henry VIII for the ambassadors sent to negotiate a marriage between William, the Duke of Cleves' son, and Mary. On 25 October 1531 a safe conduct was issued for the councilor of the Duke of Cleves to come to England, with 30 persons in their company. Literature: Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 5, 1531-1532.