Mary was a well-educated child, and she could read and write Latin by the time she was nine. It is no surprise then her first surviving letter was originally in Latin. The letter itself is directed at Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, also her godfather. Mary was at Ampthill Castle with her parents during an outbreak of the sweating sickness. Cardinal Wolsey himself was afflicted with the sickness.
Mary to Cardinal Wolsey circa 1528
‘To the right revered Lord the Legate, and my godfather greeting worthy of so great and holy a father premised.
I confess myself much indebted to your right revered sanctity, both for your welcome letters delivered to me at the palace of Ampthill, and more especially that it is by your late intercession that I have been allowed for a month to enjoy, to my supreme delight, the society of the King and Queen my parents: the health of both of whom may the great Sovereign of kings crown with enduring felicity.
One thing has, however, meanwhile vexed me, while in other respects most happy, namely, the opportunity denied me of visiting you, most holy father. If this had been granted to my wishes, I would, having humbly sought your most sacred benediction, have repaid, as far as might be, by personal thanks, your frequent favours vouchsafed to me and mine. That which now remains for me to do, since what I so much desired to obtain before I did not then achieve, is, most meekly imploring your blessing (which is to be named but with profound reverence), to conjure your Highness, in my best manner, that you will ever show as candid mind towards me as you have hitherto done; so shall I pray more earnestly, as for many other reasons I ought to do, that the great and good God may ever prolong your health, for the Realm’s common good, more than my own.
At Hartlebury (Worchestershire)
Your spiritual daughter,