12 August 1506 – Henry VII to Maximilian, Holy Roman Emperor

Most high, most excellent, and most mighty prince, our very dear and well-beloved brother and cousin, we commend ourselves to you most affectionately and heartily.

Three days ago we received your letters which you wrote to us from Vienna of the 20th day of July, whereby you notify to us the information you have had of the treaty which was made and concluded between our very dear and wellbeloved brother and cousin the king of Castile your son and us touching the alliance of marriage between us and our very dear, well-beloved good cousin the duchess dowager of Savoy your daughter, and although we had determined and concluded, according to the said treaty, to send our ambassadors to the town of Malines on the day and feast of St. John the Baptist Last past, there to conclude and perfect with the commissioners and deputies of our said cousin your son that which still remains to be negotiated of the said treaty, which we have delayed and do delay to do ; requesting us, for the desire and affection you have that the same alliance may be brought to perfection, that we would send to the said place, Malines, our said ambassadors, to negotiate and conclude upon the things abovesaid, saying that you have already sent your deputies and ambassadors thither to be at the said diet, and that it shall not be owing to you in anywise that the same alliance is not consummated.

Most high, most excellent, and most mighty prince, our very dear and well-beloved brother and cousin, we thank you as sincerely and heartily as we can for the goodwill that you show [yourself] always to have towards us, and you may be sure that it has not been, nor shall be, owing to us that all things concluded and promised be not entirely fulfilled and accomplished. And, so far as we can perceive by your said letter, you are not informed or ascertained of the real truth how matters have been and are concluded, passed, and agreed between us and the king our said cousin your son by us and the commissioners and deputies in this behalf, each in virtue of their powers ; for in this there remains nothing to conclude or accomplish for which there is any need to send our said commissioners to the said place Malines, or elsewhere, at least for this said affair.

And because we desire much that you should know and understand clearly the matters as they are in truth, it is true that there have been passed and accorded three treaties between us and him ; of which the first is of our new friendship, the second of the marriage between us and our good cousin your daughter, and the third touching the encouragement of merchandise between our subjects and his ; and the said friendship was really and entirely concluded, passed, sealed, and solemnly sworn and published before his departure out of our kingdom, and on the same day that he and our son of Wales received the Orders of the Garter and the Toison.

And as to the second treaty of marriage, the same was likewise accorded between us and him before his said departure, and since entirely concluded and passed, by writing, and sealed between our said commissioners and his ; also the said treaty of intercourse of merchandise was made at that time, all by the power of their commissions. All which treaties were on the part of the same our good cousin your son, and on ours, to be renewed and confirmed by his and our letters patent, signed by our hands, and sealed by our great seals, and delivered in our town of Calais at the terms appointed, which follow ; to wit, those of the said marriage before the 20th day of the month of June last past ; those of the renewal of our said amity before the 20th day of July also last past ; and the others, confirmatory of the intercourse, before the last day of the month of July last past.

And although we sent, before the said first day of June, our commissioners to our said town of Calais with all the said treaties, sufficiently authorized to deliver them to those of the king your son, receiving his of the same and like effect in pursuance of the said treaties, [and] caused our said commissioners to remain and reside continually with this intention in our said town, from the first day on which the giving up and delivery of the said first letters was to be made, to the third day of this present month of August; this notwithstanding, the said letters confirmatory on the part of the king your said son have not been brought thither for the first day, the second, nor the third, nor likewise the letters confirmatory of our holy father the pope, touching the said marriage upon the ecclesiastical censures which are required by the said treaty ; also the letters obligatory for the payment of the sums promised and accorded by the king your said son for the dowry of the same marriage, as it is contained in the said treaty, have not been delivered ; likewise we have known and understood nothing from our good cousin your daughter, who, by the same treaty, ought to have let us know by writing her will and intention upon the said treaty of marriage before the said first day of this month.

Informing you further, most high, most excellent, and most mighty prince, our most dear and well-beloved brother and cousin, that we have been, on behalf of the same our good brother and cousin your son, very urgently requested by his lieutenant-general and chancellor, that we would two or three times prolong the days and terms of the delivery of the said letters ; to wit, once to the end of the said month of June past, a second time to the end of the said month of July, and lastly to the end of this said present month. Which we have very willingly conceded and granted them each of the said times, in order that you, and the king our said good cousin your son, and likewise our said good cousin, your daughter, might know and understand perfectly the good-will and affection that we have to the conclusion of the things concluded and treated, in which, on our side, there has been no default or negligence ; for we have not in time past, nor have we the will in time to come, to violate anything that we have once promised, passed, and accorded, or that we shall pass and accord with any prince whatever ; but we are entirely resolved and well determined to maintain, observe, and keep everything, and without in the least breaking our promise.

And as we signified to you six days ago by our letters written in Latin, that the said diet which was to be held at Malines between your said ambassadors and ours was for certain secret matters, of which the king your said son made overture to us, he being here, and of which he wrote to you letters by his own hand and showed them to us before closing them, making recital in the same that he prayed you that before the said day of St. John you should let us know thereupon by writing your intention; and this done, we should then send to the said place our said ambassadors for the same secret matters, and not for anything which touched the matter of the said marriage, nor of the other preceding treaties, which, as is above said, was and is entirely and perfectly concluded, passed, and accorded, and nothing remains to perfect of the said matter, except only the delivery of the said letters confirmatory and obligations, and to know the intention of our said good cousin your daughter by her writing ; and if there have been default therein till now, you may well understand by what [is stated] above that it does not proceed in any wise from our side.

And as to the sending of our said ambassadors to Malines for the said secret matter, if you reperuse the letter which the king your said son wrote to you with his own hand, you will perceive that the matter for which the said diet was to be held is changed otherwise that it was then, whereby it appears to us that the thing does not require such great haste as it did then. Nevertheless, when the things which were concluded between us and the king our said good cousin your son shall be sent and delivered according to the tenor of the said treaties, then we are bound and obliged by the same to send within one month after to our said good cousin [the duchess of Savoy], our ambassadors, sufficiently authorized for us and in our name to make the contract of the said marriage per verba de praesenti, which we have always been, for our part, ready and determined to do ; and that once done and accomplished, our said ambassadors shall have charge and power on our part to communicate and treat further of the said secret matter with yours and his.

Praying, finally, our Lord that He will, most high, most excellent, and most mighty prince, our most dear find well-beloved brother and cousin, preserve and support you from good to better in His most holy and worthy keeping.

Written in our manor of Greenwich, the 12th day of the said month of August, the year 1506.

Signed: Your good brother and cousin, Henry.

Source – Letters and Papers Illustrative of the Reigns of Richard III and Henry VII (ed. J. Gairdner, London, 1863)