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Original letter signed from Danish King Kristian II to King Henry VIII of England

Original letter signed from Danish King Kristian II to King Henry VIII of England

Kristian II (1481-1559):

Letter in Latin to King Henry VIII of England ("principi domino Henrico Anglis [...] regi fidei defensori"), dated Lyrris (Lierre) August 13, 1525. Autograph signature ”vester humilis frater Christiernus", also signed by "votre bonne Cousine Isabeau” (Christian’s spouse, sister of Emperor Charles V). Uncut leaf, traces of folds. 27.5 x 39 cm. Traces of two seals, which are also mentioned in the letter, which was written during the couple’s exile in Belgium. Kristian turned to Henry for help in regaining the Danish throne and therefore sent the courier Nicolaus Tyrry to England. The present is the letter of introduction which he carried with him.

A few letters from Henry VIII to Kristian II are preserved in the Danish
national archives, but none in the opposite direction apart from a draft
dated 1526. Only a very small number of autograph signatures by
Elizabeth (Isabeau) are said to exist.

Provenance: Autograph and manuscript collection of Per Edward Gustafsson (1893-1966). Gustafsson acquired the letter, which is an original, from the United States in the 1940s (”about 20 years ago”, he wrote in a letter to the Danish National Archives on March 16, 1965).

A newpaper clipping about Gustafsson’s collection mentions the letter: "The Danish King Christian II (in Sweden called ”The Tyrant”) wrote a letter to Henry VIII of England in 1525. Among its archives, the National Archives in Copenhagen only has a draft of a letter in this Kristian’s hand. But the original letter to the despot on the British throne is in the possession of Per Edw. Gustafsson in Vänersborg. The director of the Danish National Archives has shown interest in doing business with the Vännersborg collector, but did not think he would be able to scrape together the necessary funds. In exchange, some letters from Gustav Vasa are said to have been offered as an alternative, but apparently the negotiations were not completed".

Gustafsson quotes the letter in Swedish translation in an article about hid manuscript collection in Bokvännen 1965.

Together with a letter from Johan Hvidtfeldt at the Danish national
archives, (March 9, 1965, ref. SD/HB-JHv), requesting copies and
expressing an interest in possibly acquiring the letter, as well as
translations of the letter into Swedish and English. Gustafsson was very
fond of the letter, and no transaction took place before his passing in

Together with correspondence from the Danish National Archives (1965) as well as translations of the letter into Swedish and English.


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