Eustace Chapuys
Eustace Chapuys was a Savoyard diplomat who served as the Imperial ambassador to England
Imperial ambassadors to England
This is a partial list of Imperial resident ambassadors to the Kingdom of England.* Bernardo de Mesa, December 1514 - March 1523* Louis of Praet, May 1522 - May 1525* Jean de le Sauch, February 1525 - August 1525...

 from 1529 until 1545 and is best known for his extensive and detailed correspondence.


He was born in Annecy
Annecy is a commune in the Haute-Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France.It lies on the northern tip of Lake Annecy , 35 kilometres south of Geneva.-Administration:...

 in Savoy
Savoy is a region of France. It comprises roughly the territory of the Western Alps situated between Lake Geneva in the north and Monaco and the Mediterranean coast in the south....

. He attended the University of Turin
University of Turin
The University of Turin is a university in the city of Turin in the Piedmont region of north-western Italy...

 from 1507, staying there for at least 8 years. In 1517 he became an official of the diocese
A diocese is the district or see under the supervision of a bishop. It is divided into parishes.An archdiocese is more significant than a diocese. An archdiocese is presided over by an archbishop whose see may have or had importance due to size or historical significance...

 of Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

 and subsequently served the Duke of Savoy
Charles III, Duke of Savoy
Charles III of Savoy , often called Charles the Good, was Duke of Savoy from 1504 to 1553, although most of his lands were ruled by the French between 1536 and his death....

 and Charles de Bourbon
Charles III, Duke of Bourbon
Charles III, Duke of Bourbon was a French military leader, the Count of Montpensier and Dauphin of Auvergne. He commanded the Imperial troops of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in what became known as the Sack of Rome in 1527, where he was killed.-Biography:Charles was born at Montpensier...

. In 1527 he entered the service of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...


After going to Savoy as ambassador
An ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat who represents a nation and is usually accredited to a foreign sovereign or government, or to an international organization....

, he went to England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 in September 1529 to take over the post of resident ambassador there from Don Íñigo de Mendoza
Iñigo López de Mendoza y Zúñiga
Don Íñigo López de Mendoza y Zúñiga , cardinal, archbishop of Burgos and bishop of Coria, was a Castilian clergyman and diplomat in the service of Emperor Charles V....

, a post that had been rather unstably occupied since the forced withdrawal of Louis of Praet
Louis of Praet
Louis of Praet, Louis of Flanders, Lord of Praet, or locally Lodewijk van Praet was a nobleman from the Low Countries and an important diplomat and statesman under the Emperor Charles V....

 in 1525. Chapuys's legal background made him an ideal candidate to defend Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

's wife Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon , also known as Katherine or Katharine, was Queen consort of England as the first wife of King Henry VIII of England and Princess of Wales as the wife to Arthur, Prince of Wales...

 (who was also an aunt of Emperor Charles V) against the legal proceedings that historians call the "Divorce Crisis", which led, eventually, to the English rejection of Papal authority
English Reformation
The English Reformation was the series of events in 16th-century England by which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church....

 and break from the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

. Chapuys's attempts to defeat English machinations against Catherine eventually failed and Henry married Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn ;c.1501/1507 – 19 May 1536) was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of Henry VIII of England and Marquess of Pembroke in her own right. Henry's marriage to Anne, and her subsequent execution, made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval that was the...

. Catherine died in January of 1536. Chapuys despised Boleyn, describing her as a "whore" and "concubine
Concubinage is the state of a woman or man in an ongoing, usually matrimonially oriented, relationship with somebody to whom they cannot be married, often because of a difference in social status or economic condition.-Concubinage:...


Chapuys stayed as resident ambassador in England until May 1545 (save a brief interlude in April 1539 which he spent in Antwerp). He then asked to be relieved of his post due to increasing illness, but the Emperor allowed him to leave only after introducing his successor (François van der Delft) to the post. Afterwards, Chapuys resided in Louvain
Leuven is the capital of the province of Flemish Brabant in the Flemish Region, Belgium...

 (in the Low Countries
Seventeen Provinces
The Seventeen Provinces were a personal union of states in the Low Countries in the 15th century and 16th century, roughly covering the current Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, a good part of the North of France , and a small part of Western Germany.The Seventeen Provinces were originally held by...

, now Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

)) where he founded in 1548 a grammar school for promising pupils from his native Savoy (the College of Savoy).

Eustace was also called on in his retirement for some advice from Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 between 1547-1549. He was sent a letter that asked him to recall his negotiations, and the previous attitude of the regime of Henry VIII, on the issue of the betrothal of Mary I
Mary I of England
Mary I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death.She was the only surviving child born of the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Her younger half-brother, Edward VI, succeeded Henry in 1547...

. In his reply, he wrote he was uncertain of the possibility of convincing John Dudley to agree to any proposed marriage. At the end of the letter, Chapuys wrote that Mary had "no other desire or hope than to be bestowed at the hands of your majesty". He felt nothing was more fond in Mary's mind than marriage.

Chapuys also appears as a character in William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

's play The Famous History of the Life of King Henry VIII
Henry VIII (play)
The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eight is a history play by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, based on the life of Henry VIII of England. An alternative title, All is True, is recorded in contemporary documents, the title Henry VIII not appearing until the play's publication...

under the name of Capucius. He is a major character in Robert Bolt
Robert Bolt
Robert Oxton Bolt, CBE was an English playwright and a two-time Oscar winning screenwriter.-Career:He was born in Sale, Cheshire. At Manchester Grammar School his affinity for Sir Thomas More first developed. He attended the University of Manchester, and, after war service, the University of...

's A Man for All Seasons
A Man for All Seasons
A Man for All Seasons is a play by Robert Bolt. An early form of the play had been written for BBC Radio in 1954, and a one-hour live television version starring Bernard Hepton was produced in 1957 by the BBC, but after Bolt's success with The Flowering Cherry, he reworked it for the stage.It was...

, though he is excised from the film
A Man for All Seasons (1966 film)
A Man for All Seasons is a 1966 film based on Robert Bolt's play A Man for All Seasons about Sir Thomas More. It was released on December 12, 1966. Paul Scofield, who had played More in the West End stage premiere, also took the role in the film. It was directed by Fred Zinnemann, who had...

 version. Chapuys is portrayed by Anthony Brophy in Showtime's series The Tudors
The Tudors
The Tudors is a Canadian produced historical fiction television series filmed in Ireland, created by Michael Hirst and produced for the American premium cable television channel Showtime...


Chapuys's role in Henry VIII's reign is dramatised in Starkey's documentary, "Henry VIII: Mind of A Tyrant".
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