(Full disclosure: it happened a little before this, but this is the date of the letter that Eustace Chapuys wrote to Charles relating the incident.)
To set the stage – Catherine of Aragon died on January 7th, but had not yet been buried – meaning that Anne was still pregnant with what everyone believed would be a son (and which apparently was …). So she was in a position of greater power than she would be just a week later, but Mary rebuffed her anyway.
I’m just going to let Chapuys tell the story:
Now the King and Concubine are planning in several ways to entangle the Princess in their webs, and compel her to consent to their damnable statutes and detestable opinions; and Cromwell was not ashamed, in talking with one of my men, to tell him you had no reason to profess so great grief for the death of the Queen, which he considered very convenient and advantageous for the preservation of friendship between your Majesty and his master; that henceforth we should communicate more freely together, and that nothing remained but. to get the Princess to obey the will of the King, her father, in which he was assured I could aid more effectually than anybody else, and that by so doing I should not only gratify the King but do a very good office for the Princess, who on complying with the King’s will would be better treated than ever. The Concubine, according to what the Princess sent to tell me, threw the first bait to her, and caused her to be told by her aunt, the gouvernante of the said Princess, that if she would lay aside her obstinacy and obey her lather, she would be the best friend to her in the world and be like another mother, and would obtain for her anything she could ask, and that if she wished to come to Court she would be exempted from holding the tail of her gown, “et si la meneroit tousjours a son cause” (?); and the said gouvernante does not cease with hot tears to implore the said Princess to consider these matters; to which the Princess has made no other reply than that there was no daughter in the world who would be more obedient to her father in what she could do saving her honor and conscience.https://www.british-history.ac.uk/letters-papers-hen8/vol10/pp47-64
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What does this mean “she would be exempted from holding the tail of her gown”?
A queen’s ladies carried the tail of her gown (think bridesmaids with a bride) – Anne was saying that Mary would be given a higher position, and simply allowed to walk beside (but still behind) her