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Duke of Najera
|Born: 20 December 1504|
Don Juan Estaban Manriquez de Lara, third Duke of Najera was a Spanish nobleman of the highest class; a Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece and descended from one of the most ancient and powerful families of Castile. He was the eldest son of Don Antonio Manriquez de Lara, second Duke of Najera by Dofia Juana de Cardona, daughter and heiress of Don Juan Ramon Folch, first Duke of Cardona and was born on the 20th Dec 1504. On the death of his father,18 Dec 1585, he succeeded to the title and by his important services to the Emperor Charles V and his son Philip II of Spain surpassed even the military fame of his predecessor more particularly in the expeditions against Tunis and into Italy and Flanders so minutely detailed by the Secretary who accompanied him. It was on the conclusion of the latter campaign that he requested leave from the Emperor to return home and leaving Brussels on the 29th Dec 1548 he availed himself of this opportunity to visit England and pay his court to King Henry VIII. [Narrative of the Visit of the Duke de Najera to England, in the Year 1543-4, Written by His Secretary, Pedro de Gante]
"On 17 February  while the King was ill, there arrived at court the Spanish Duke of Najera, as special envoy from Henry's ally, Charles V. The Duke was graciously received by the Queen and the Lady Mary, to whom he was conducted by Chapuys. Najera's secretary, Pedro de Gant left an account of the visit. He describes Catherine Parr's rich gown of crimson and cloth of gold with a golden girdle and a train two yards long, which was set off by two crucifixes and a jewel set with magnificent diamonds, all hung about her neck; there were "a great number of splendid diamonds in her head dress also". The Lady Mary looked splendid in clothe of gold and purple velvet.
After the Duke had kissed the Queen's hand, she led him into another chamber where he was entertained for several hours with music and "much beautiful dancing". Although the Queen was feeling unwell herself, she danced "very gracefully, for the honour of the company" with her brother Essex [William Parr], while the Lady Mary partnered Lady Margaret Douglas, the King's niece, and then paired up with some gentlemen of the court, one of whom, a venetian, danced galliards "with such extraordinary activity that he seemed to have wings on his feet". As the evening drew to a close, the queen summoned a Spanish-speaking nobleman to present her gifts to the Duke, then rose and offered Najera her hand to kiss. "he would have kissed that of the Princess Mary but she offered her lips and so he saluted her and all the other ladies".
A day or so later, Najera received a summons to attend upon the King in his privy lodgings at Whitehall. ... "Here the brother of the Queen and other noblemen entertained the Duke for a quarter of an hour until it was announced that we should enter the chamber of the King". Pedro de Gant was mortified when only two Spanish nobles were permitted to accompany Najera " and no one else, nor did they permit us even to see the King".
~ Alison Weir's King Henry VIII and his court (2008)
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