Eustace Chapuys (østas ʃapyi) (1494–1556) was a Savoyard diplomat who served as the Holy Roman Empire's Imperial ambassador to England from 1529 until 1545 and is best known for his extensive and detailed correspondence.
He was 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 Don Íñigo de Mendoza, a post that had been rather unstably occupied since the forced withdrawal of Louis of Praet in 1525. Chapuys's legal background made him an ideal candidate to defend Henry VIII's wife Catherine of Aragon (who was also an aunt of Emperor Charles V) against the legal proceedings that was known at the time as the "King's Great Matter", which led, eventually, to the English rejection of Papal authority and break from the Roman Catholic Church. Chapuys's attempts to defeat English machinations against Catherine eventually failed and Henry married Anne Boleyn. Catherine died in January 1536. Chapuys despised Boleyn, describing her as a "whore" and "concubine".
Chapuys stayed as resident ambassador in England until May 1545 (save a brief interlude in April 1539 which he spent in Antwerp). He then asked to be relieved of his post due to increasing illness, but the Emperor allowed him to leave only after introducing his successor (François van der Delft) to the post. Afterwards, Chapuys resided in Louvain (in the Low Countries, now Belgium) where he set up a college in 1548, providing boarding for promising pupils from his native Savoy. This College of Savoy, of which now only the gateway survives (incorporated into the city museum, Museum M) opened on 21 Augustus 1549. He was buried in the chapel of the college after his death in 1556
Eustace was also called on in his retirement for some advice from Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor between 1547-1549. He was sent a letter that asked him to recall his negotiations, and the previous attitude of the regime of Henry VIII, on the issue of the betrothal of Mary I. In his reply, he wrote he was uncertain of the possibility of convincing John Dudley to agree to any proposed marriage. At the end of the letter, Chapuys wrote that Mary had "no other desire or hope than to be bestowed at the hands of your majesty." He felt nothing was more fond in Mary's mind than marriage.
Chapuys also appears as a character in William Shakespeare's play The Famous History of the Life of King Henry VIII under the name of Capucius. He is a major character in Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons, though he is excised from the film version. Chapuys is portrayed by Anthony Brophy in Showtime's series The Tudors. He figures largely in Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.
Chapuys's role in Henry VIII's reign is dramatised in Starkey's documentary, "Henry VIII: Mind of A Tyrant".
- Karen Lindsey, xvi, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived, Perseus Books, 1995
- Karen Lindsey, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived
- Chapuys letter recounting fall of Anne Boleyn
- Jokinen, Anniina. "Eustace Chapuys." Luminarium. 5 May 2009. Date accessed: 27 July 2012. http://www.luminarium.org/encyclopedia/chapuys.htm
- Bloody Mary, the life of Mary Tudor-Carolly Erickson 1978
- Richard Lundell, "The Mask of Dissimulation: Eustace Chapuys and Early Modern Diplomatic Technique: 1536-1545" (Ph.D. Thesis, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2001).
- Richard Lundell, "Renaissance Diplomacy and the Limits of Empire: Eustace Chapuys, Habsburg Imperialisms, and Dissimulation as Method," in Tonio Andrade and William Reger (eds), The Limits of Empire: European Imperial Formations in Early Modern World History: Essays in Honor of Geoffrey Parker (Farnham, 2012)
- Martin Lunitz, Diplomatie und Diplomaten im 16. Jahrhundert (Hartung-Gorre Verlag, Konstanz, 1988)