Ambassador Chapuys

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Ambassador Eustace Chapuys as played by Anthony Brophy

Imperial Ambassador to England: 1529-1545

Born c.1489/90 - died 1556

Character's Backstory: Born in Annecy in Savoy. He attended the University of Turin from 1507, staying there for at least 8 years. In 1517 he became an official of the diocese of Geneva, and subsequently served the Duke of Savoy and Charles de Bourbon. In 1527 he entered the service of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V.

After going to Savoy as ambassador, he went to England in September 1529 to take over the post of resident ambassador there from Ambassador Mendoza (Iñigo López de Mendoza y Zúñiga). His arrival coincided with the new theological debate over Queen Katherine of Aragon´s marriage, which had been mostly a legal debate up to that point. Chapuys was a doctor in Canonical right and ex-Ecclesiastic judge of Geneva, which would serve him well in the upcoming years.
He took advantage of his gout affliction, when he insisted upon always leaning on his English valet Fleming so that two pair of ears could hear more than one.

At court, Chapuys was one of Queen Katherine of Aragon's closest allies, and it is because of his detailed correspondence to Charles V that we have so many accounts of the people in Henry VIII's court. After her mother's death, Chapuys was also a close ally to Princess Mary. Chapuys despised Anne Boleyn; she returned the feeling. Chapuys had confidently predicted Anne's fall for several years. When it actually happened, he was quite surprised. He had not recognized the depth of Henry's feelings for the woman who would become his third wife, Jane Seymour. The ambassador left England in May of 1545 after he asked to be relieved of his position due to his failing health. He returned to the low countries to reside in Louvain (now in Belgium) where he died in 1556.
*the series inaccurately shows Princess Mary being informed of his death much earlier

Position: Spanish Imperial Ambassador to England

Personality Type: Very good at capturing the details of people. Very alert, with a legal mind, a good describer of events, peoples, and places. A methodical observer and keen analyst.

Signature look: That of a well dressed court official; dark Spanish influence evident in clothes.

Endearing trait(s): H
e was tireless in championing Queen Katherine of Aragon and Princess Mary Tudor and remained loyal to Emperor Charles V all his life.

Annoying trait(s): If you were an enemy to those he was loyal to, don't expect any compliments. In fact, his letters will be quite biased concerning you.

Retha Warnicke in her introduction to her book, The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn says of Chapuys:

"For almost 7 years, from 1529 when he first arrived in England at the age of 30 until 1536 when Anne was beheaded, Chapuys , a native of Savoy and a graduate of the University of Turin was her [[[Anne Boleyn]]'s] greatest critic. During these years he wrote countless letters to Charles V and other correspondents about Henry's attempts to obtain a divorce from Catherine of Aragon so that he could take a second wife.

Because the envoy never altered his view of Anne as a concubine who desecrated the marriage sacrament, he characterized her not simply as a representation of evil but as its very embodiment, a she devil, an Agrippina.....

A close reading of the Ambassador's correspondence between 1529 and 1536 readily indicates that his information should be divided into at least the following four categories;
(1) repetition of ubiquitous rumors at court
(2) information deliberately leaked to him by royal servants
(3) original and sometimes unsubstantiated speculation of his own
(4)actual first-hand information such as interviews with the king and his ministers, announcements of arrivals and departures of envoys and seasonal movements of the court.

Often it is extremely difficult to decide into which of the first 3 categories the gossipy, second-hand news should fall, a difficulty that must alert scholars to the need for handling of his letters with caution."

Ambassador Chapuys as played by Anthony Brophy

" I never took him for a wide man,
but for one that used to speak without
respect of honesty or truth, so it might
serve his turn. He is a great practicer
of tale-telling, lying and flattering".

- Sir William Paget
a somewhat biased contemporary

" Henry VIII clearly enjoyed sparring with this shrewd, brilliant, cynical cosmopolitan."
~ Historian Eric Ives

" Your Majesty must root out the Lady [[[Anne Boleyn]]] and her adherents…. This accursed Anne has her foot in the stirrup, and will do the Queen and the Princess all the harm she can. She has boasted that she will make the Princess her lady-in-waiting, or marry her to some varlet. "

~ Chapuys writing to his Emperor Charles V in 1533

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Family members:
Louis Chapuys (father)

Guigonne Dupuys (mother)


Charles V
Queen Katherine of Aragon
Princess Mary Tudor, later Mary I
Catholic Faction
*in the series William Brereton (unlikely in real life)

Anne Boleyn
Reformer Faction


  • "I have no doubt that your Majesty's reign will always be remembered."
  • "Your Grace could not have made me happier if you had brought me a cure for gout."


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Ambassador Chapuys played by Anthony Brophy
Ambassador Chapuys

Ambassador Chapuys played by Anthony Brophy
Ambassador Chapuys as played by Anthony Brophy
Ambassador Chapuys & Henry
Mary with Ambassador Chapuys
Ambassador Chapuys & Queen Jane Chapuys & Henry
Charles & the Ambassadors
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JRM as King Henry VIII with the ambassadors