Anglo-French Relations The Cloak of Secrecy A personal voyage of detection



George Kendall, Spy and a founder of Jamestown, Virginia

In 1605 Windebank’s son Francis was granted the reversion of the ‘Clerk of the Signet’ and went on to be Secretary of State for King Charles 1. Thomas Windebank died in 1608.

Joining the Elizabethan court in 1561, as French Ambassador, was Paul de Foix-Carmain de Nègrepelisse, a relation of the earlier de Foix hostages, and also of any Kendall descendants of Jean de Foix, Earl of Kendal.  He remained in England for four years. In advance of his appointment, de Foix had spent a lot of time with Nicholas Throgmorton in Paris. Reporting on him to Elizabeth, Throgmorton says that de Foix wants to maintain ‘amity betwix both sovereigns’. He also reports that de Foix has provided correspondence to her from the Queen of Navarre (the Protestant, Jeanne d’Albret) ‘who is well affected to her’, and asks her to provide a favourable response via de Foix.

On behalf of Catherine de Medici, Paul de Foix had also maintained contact with Mary Queen of Scots and continued this correspondence while in London. In spite of this, he clearly established excellent relations with Queen Elizabeth, Cecil and among others the Dudleys. A key task seems to have been keeping Elizabeth away from Habsburg and Spanish marriages and promoting a series of French alternatives. All these were suitably toyed with by Elizabeth but eventually rejected. His supporters in these endeavours were men who had all had connections with France, including Robert Dudley, Throckmorton, and the Earls of Pembroke (Herbert), Shrewsbury (Talbot) and Bedford (Russell).

Paul de Foix was well educated and clearly good company. In 1565 he attended the play ‘Massinissma and Sophonisba’ with the Queen and William Cecil at the ‘Lord Keeper’s’ house (Nicholas Bacon). This was an event that Cecil and Thomas Smith, the Ambassador to France at that time, corresponded about, as did de Foix to Catherine de Medici. Following his return to France de Foix maintained good relations with the English court and with Dudley. Guido Cavalcanti writing to Dudley, on the state of marriage proposals in 1571, enclosed special salutations from de Foix.

Against this background one has to believe that any English Kendall descendants of Jean de Foix, Earl of Kendal would be regarded by the Cecils as having access to the courts of Europe. Whether this could be advantageous and how, remains an open point.

 
 

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