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France is said to have been a constant thorn in Queen Elizabeth I's side during her reign. But newly uncovered letters suggest the Tudor monarch was in fact a trusted confidant to King Henri III and broke protocol to warn him of an attempt to steal his crown...

Queen Elizabeth I had a secret friendship with French king, newly uncovered letters show




Helena Horton
5 August 2018
The Telegraph

France is said to have been a constant thorn in Queen Elizabeth I's side during her reign. But newly uncovered letters suggest the Tudor monarch was in fact a trusted confidant to King Henri III and broke protocol to warn him of an attempt to steal his crown.

When King Henri’s brother and heir to the throne died in 1584, Henry of Navarre, a protestant, was next in line. The Catholic League, including Elizabeth I’s cousin Mary Queen of Scots, found this unacceptable.

Warning the King of the Catholic League's attempts to usurp him, Elizabeth I, Queen of a protestant country, chided: "My God, what necromancer has blinded your eyes, that you cannot see your own danger.”


Elizabeth I was a trusted confidant to King Henri III and broke protocol to warn him of an attempt to steal his crown Credit: Queen Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I warned him that his true enemies were the Catholics, writing: “With my very genuine prayers to God who will inspire you for the best to open your eyes and to see clearly your detractors, between whom, I will be in the last place, your abused good sister.”
He agreed, writing back that “his enemies were hers.”

“She even told him off for doing a bad job - she used very strong language with him which is highly unusual. She completely spoke her mind," historian Dr Estelle Paranque, who discovered the letters in the National Archives and French records, told the Sunday Telegraph.


Dr Estelle Paranque and a letter from Elizabeth to the French king Credit: Reproduced by kind permission of The National Archives

Shortly before the Catholic League besieged Paris and forced the French King to flee to Chartres, he gave an audience to the English ambassador, who told Elizabeth that King Henri thanked her for her advice - and for keeping their friendship a secret.

The letter says the King: “desired you [Elizabeth] to put your helping hand to it; that though his Council, and especially Queen Mother dissuaded him to desire at your hands, as a thing unhonorable to him to desire that you should meddle between him and his subjects, yet he did secretly by me desire and beseech you, and that he should think himself beholding to you for it and most of all for doing it upon his request, and keeping secret that he hath requested you."


Elizabeth I warned King Henri III that his true enemies were the Catholics, Credit: Hulton Fine Art Collection

Dr Paranque explained: “You would never expect a Protestant Queen to wade in and advise a Catholic king. He obviously thought she was really wise."

Dr Paranque, a lecturer in Early Modern History at the New College of Humanities, added: "There was a massive gap in history knowledge about her relationship with the Valois Kings, the dynasty that were ruling in France at the same time as the Tudors.

“The role she played in French politics has been massively understated and it became a huge secret as it could not be known that a Protestant queen was advising a Catholic king.

“She did not use diplomatic language - she said the Catholic League were the true enemies and he had to open his eyes and listen to her.”


Dr Estelle Paranque's book

The letters also show Queen Elizabeth’s interest in Europe and desire for peace on the continent.

Dr Paranque said: “She was writing about French politics, it casts a new light on Elizabeth’s political influence on the European scene.

Of course she was a very English queen but she cared a lot about what was happening to the people in Europe and cared a lot about the relations with the European countries - she wanted peace and she wanted trade treaties.”

Dr Paranque's book, “Elizabeth I of England Through Valois Eyes: Power, Representation, and Diplomacy in the Reign of the Queen, 1558-1588”, will be out later this year.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/201...ch-king-newly/
Last edited by Blackleaf; Aug 5th, 2018 at 05:06 AM..