Henry VIII is one of the most popular monarchs in English history. He is known as the pioneer of the English Reformation but is most notably known for having his six wives. As everything has its first time, when Henry decided to go forward for his second marriage, he had to go through inevitable obstacles associated with his first marriage; to divorce. This short blog entry would like to look at things related to Henry VIII’s divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, in chronological order: his elder brother’s marriage in his early life, his marriage to Catherine and relationship with Rome in his early rule, how he decided to divorce and what was its requirement, how the Roman authority reacted to his request with the continental situation in its background, and how he broke through the obstacles, which resulted in establishing the foundation for the English Reformation.
Henry was born as ‘the second son of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York… on 28 June 1491 at Greenwich Palace’ (BBC, 2014). Since his elder brother Arthur ‘was the Prince of Wales and heir to the throne of England… Arthur was therefore given royal responsibilities whereas Prince Henry was destined to a secular life, his possible future role might have been the Archbishop of Canterbury’ (Alchin, 2014). Because of this reason, Henry ‘was also taught religious studies in the Roman Catholic religion’ (ibid). Whilst his parents marriage in January 1486 symbolised the unity of ‘the houses of Lancaster and York, the rivals of the Wars of the Roses’ (Eakins, 2011), his elder brother’s name ‘was purposely chosen to evoke memories of the great British king of the same name’ (ibid); King Arthur of the round table. Moreover, negotiations for Prince Arthur’s future marriage followed soon as early as 1488-9 and Henry VII won ‘the proposal that Arthur would be married to Catherine of Aragon’ (ibid), who ‘was the youngest surviving child of Ferdinand and Isabella, the joint rulers of Spain’ (Eakins, 2010). Despite this kind of political match, in this case – to strengthen the unity between England and Spain – was common practice in those days, at this stage of betrothal, Catherine ‘was three year old… [while] Arthur was not even quite two’ (ibid).
With further negotiations, it was agreed in 1496 that ‘Catherine would come to England in 1500, when Arthur was 14… [and] did eventually arrive in October 1501’ (Eakins, 2011). The marriage ‘took place 14th November 1501 in old St. Paul’s Cathedral in London… [and] After the wedding, Arthur and Catherine went to Ludlow Castle on the border between England and Wales to set up their household’ (ibid).
However, in March of the following year, ‘Arthur fell ill, possibly of tuberculosis, the plague or the dreaded “sweating sickness” and died’ (ibid) on 2 April, 1502. Now, ‘Catherine was left a young widow in a foreign country. The question of whether or not Arthur and his bride ever consummated their marriage became crucial’ (ibid) in decades later.
Henry VII ‘was interested in keeping Catherine’s dowry’ (Eakins, 2010) and made a new arrangement to betroth Catherine to his younger son Henry, who now became hair to the English throne but ‘was too young to marry at the time’ (ibid); 14 months after Arthur’s death. However, ‘By 1505, when Henry was old enough to wed, Henry VII wasn’t as keen on a Spanish alliance, and young Henry was forced to repudiate the betrothal. Catherine’s future was uncertain’ (ibid) until Henry VII dies in 1509, when Prince Henry duly succeeds his father’s throne as King Henry VIII, at the age of eighteen. Interestingly, it is said that ‘one of the new young king’s first actions was to marry Catherine’ (ibid). In doing so, Henry ‘obtained the papal dispensation required to allow him to marry his brother’s widow’ (BBC, 2014) and married Catherine on 24 June, 1509. It must be important to point out that at this stage, both Henry and Catherine ‘were Roman Catholics. Everybody in England was – the penalty for heresy [being found guilty of being a non-believer] was death… such was the tie to Rome and the Roman Catholic faith, that he felt it necessary to effectively get Papal permission [from Pope Julius II] to marry Catherine’ (HistoryLearningSite.co.uk, 2007).
Although ‘In the first years of his reign Henry VIII effectively relied on Thomas Wolsey to rule for him… he joined Pope Julius II’s Holy League against France in 1511’ (BBC, 2014). On top of that, in terms of his relationship with Rome, he was ‘conferred the title of Defender of the Faith’ (ibid) in 1521 by Pope Leo X ‘ for his book “Assertio Septem Sacramentorum”, which affirmed the supremacy of the Pope in the face of the reforming ideals of the German theologian, Martin Luther’ (ibid).
In the meanwhile, Henry had to struggle to produce his heir, especially a son, as it follows:
‘Shortly after their marriage, Catherine found herself pregnant. This first child was a stillborn daughter born prematurely in January 1510, but this disappointment was soon followed by another pregnancy. Prince Henry was born on January 1, 1511 and… was christened on the 5th. There were great celebrations for the birth of the young prince, but they were halted by the baby’s death after 52 days of life. Catherine then had a miscarriage, followed by… another short-lived son. On February 1516, she gave birth a daughter named Mary, and this child lived. There were probably two more pregnancies, the last recorded in 1518’ (Eakins, 2010) .
Before moving on to the 1520’s, it should be pointed out that ‘No one is sure when Henry decided that his marriage to Catherine had to end simply because the evidence does not exist that can pinpoint an exact date’ (HistoryLearningSite.co.uk., 2007), nevertheless, it would be worthwhile to present some known facts and allegations in chronological order as it follows:
First of all, it is known that Henry ‘had at least two mistresses that we know of: Elizabeth “Bessie” Blount and Mary Boleyn’ (Eakins, 2010). It is also said that ‘There were rumours in court of Henry wanting a divorce as early as 1520 but this was probably nothing more than mere court gossip based on no fundamental facts’ (HistoryLearningSite.co.uk., 2007).
Since Henry ‘was acutely aware of the importance of securing a male heir during his reign’ (BBC, 2014), his daughter Mary’s ‘prospects in life were made a matter of sordid bargaining from the first’ (Gairdner, 2010). She ‘was little more than two years old when she was proposed in marriage to the dauphin, son of Francis I. Three years afterwards the French alliance was broken off, and in 1522 she was affianced to her cousin the young emperor Charles V by the Treaty of Windsor. No one, perhaps, seriously expected either of these arrangements to endure… [and] not many years passed away before Charles released himself from this engagement’ (ibid). Some argue that this marriage proposal for Mary already triggered the very issue; ‘whether the marriage between the king and the mother of lady Mary, were good or no ?’ (Orr, 2013).
Whilst ‘the Cardinal de’ Medici was eventually chosen pope’ (Knight, 2012) as Clement VII on 18 November, 1523, Henry VIII was told from his physicians ‘either in 1524 or 1525… that Catherine was unlikely to give birth again’ (HistoryLearningSite.co.uk., 2007). In the meantime, Thomas Boleyn, father of Mary Boleyn – one of Henry’s mistresses, was ‘first ennobled as Viscount Rochford’ (Gairdner, 2012) on 16 June, 1525. It is said that ‘There cannot be a doubt that not only his elevation to the peerage, but several earlier tokens of royal favour besides, were due to the fascination his daughter had begun to exercise over the king’ (ibid). A further twist then followed. By 1526, Henry began ‘to separate from Catherine because he had fallen in love with one of her ladies [and sister of one of his mistresses]: Anne Boleyn’ (Eakins, 2010).
Decision for divorce
1527 was an important year for Henry VIII, not only regarding to the divorce case but also in the field of international politics. Despite his wife Catherine had ‘her family ties to Catholic Spain and her nephew Charles had succeeded Maxmillian as Holy Roman Emperor… Henry had grown tired of Charles V and allied himself with France, now ruled by Francis I, and he betrothed daughter Mary to the Dauphin (Orr, 2013). The negotiation for this new alliance resulted in a treaty on 30 April, 1527, that stated Princess Mary ‘should be married either to Francis himself or to his second son Henry Duke of Orleans. But the real object was only to lay the foundation of a perfect mutual understanding between the two kings’ (Gairdner, 2010). Interestingly enough, this treaty was later associated with a following allegation:
‘It was during this negotiation, as Henry afterwards pretended, that the question was first raised whether Henry’s own marriage with Catherine was a lawful one. Grammont, Bishop of Tarbes, who was one of the ambassadors sent over by Francis to ask the princess in marriage, had, it was said, started an objection that she might possibly be considered illegitimate on account of her mother having been once the wife of her father’s brother. The statement was a mere pretence to shield the king when the unpopularity of the divorce became apparent. It is proved to be untrue by the strongest evidence, for we have pretty full contemporary records of the whole negotiation. On the contrary, it is quite clear that Henry, who had already for some time conceived the project of a divorce, kept the matter a dead secret, and was particularly anxious that the French ambassadors should not know it, while he used his daughter’s hand as a bait for a new alliance’ (ibid).
In the following month, it is said that Henry, being ‘tired of Queen Catherine,… and passionately enamoured of Anne Boleyn, had made known to [Thomas] Wolsey in May, 1527, that he wished to be divorced. He pretended that his conscience was uneasy at the marriage contracted under papal dispensation with his brother’s widow (Knight, 2012), though others argue that the year 1527 ‘may be when he decided that a divorce was needed. [but] The truth is that historians simply do not know’ (HistoryLearningSite.co.uk., 2007). Whatever the case, once he made a decision to divorce Catherine, Henry began to act ‘to solicit from the Holy See contingently upon the granting of the divorce, [and] a dispensation from the impediment of affinity in the first degree [an impediment which stood between him and any legal marriage with Anne on account of his previous carnal intercourse with Anne’s sister Mary]’ (Knight, 2012). In short, Henry needed to obtain a permission from judicial authority of the Roman Catholic Church to divorce his wife Catherine, and a pardon for having an affair with Mary Boleyn, in order to marry her sister Anne because ‘the beliefs within the Catholic Church were clear and simple. Only the Pope could annul a marriage and as the Church believed in the sanctity of marriage and family, this was a reasonably rare occurrence. In many senses, royal families in Western Europe were expected to set the standards that others should follow’ (HistoryLearningSite.co.uk., 2007). In his petition to the Pope, ‘Henry used his knowledge of the Bible to justify his request for a marriage annulment. Henry used the Old Testament [Leviticus Chapter 20 Verse 16] where it stated:
“If a man shall take his brother’s wife, it is an impurity; he hath uncovered his brother’s nakedness; they shall be childless.”
Henry argued that his marriage to Catherine had been against God’s law from the start despite the Pope’s blessing for it to go ahead in 1509. He was therefore living in sin and that the Pope had to annul his marriage so that he could rectify this. As “Defender of the Faith”… Henry believed that such an annulment was almost a foregone conclusion’ (ibid).
Pope taking refuge
Meanwhile, in the continent, Francis I and Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, were at war and Pope Clement VII, who supported the former, had to witness German mercenaries came to attack Rome; ‘On the 5th of May they reached the walls, which… were almost undefended. Clement had barely time to take refuge in the Castle of Sant’ Angelo, and for eight days the “Sack of Rome” continued amid horrors almost unexampled in the history of war (Knight, 2012). In this circumstance, Henry ‘asked Cardinal Wolsey to appeal to Pope Clement VII for an annulment… But, unwilling to anger Catherine of Aragon’s nephew – the most powerful ruler in Europe, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V – the Pope refused’ (BBC, 2014). More precisely, it is argued that Clement simply ‘did what he had to do – prevaricate and procrastinate. What this charade demonstrated was that the earthly concerns of the prelates – their personal security and wealth, was the determining factor even in the weightiest of decisions. Indeed it was the Church’s involvement in temporal politics that eventually determined the Pope’s decision and had very little to do with the rule of the Scriptures or perceived rules of consanguinity’ (Orr, 2013). Having faced to the Pope’s refusal, Henry and Wolsey sought for an alternative way, to ask ‘the Pope to allow the matter to be resolved “locally”, ie Wolsey as Papal Legate… [This was] to declare the Pope incapacitated and Wolsey would hold a Convocation of cardinals to agree the matter of the divorce. In the event a second papal representative, Cardinal Campeggio, was sent to help Wolsey determine the facts – with instructions to prevaricate while Clement sought to extricate himself from the dominance of Charles V. Importantly the Pope declined them any plenary powers and reserved the decision to himself’ (ibid).
With these instructions in his mind, Cardinal Campeggio ‘first tried to dissuade Henry from divorce and when he got nowhere turned to Catherine to seek her agreement to the king’s wishes’ (ibid). It would be worth to point out that ‘At first, Catherine was kept in the dark about Henry’s plans for their annulment and when the news got to Catherine she was very upset’ (Eakins, 2010). Rejections from the both sides made the cardinals – Campeggio and Wolsey – being ‘left with nothing else to do but proceed to trial with the instruction [to Campeggio] that the decretal was only to be shown to the king, and then burnt (Orr, 2013). Regarding to this document, it is also argued that ‘The commission was to be shown to no one, and was never to leave Compeggio’s hands. We do not know its exact terms’ (Knight, 2012). Whichever the case, ‘Both Henry and Catherine appeared before the court and made representations… On 23 July 1528 the court was due to report its decision at which Campeggio foolishly sought to invoke the Roman courts’ timetable and take two months vacation until October’ (Orr, 2013). After the summer, ‘Campeggio reached England by the end of September, 1528, but the proceedings of the legatine court were at once brought to a standstill by the production of a second dispensation… in the form of a Brief… The production of the Brief, now commonly admitted to be quite authentic, though the king’s party declared it a forgery, arrested the proceedings of the commission for eight months’ (Knight, 2012), while Clement managed to escape from being a prisoner in the Castle of St. Angelo by disguising himself as a peddler and ‘returned to a depopulated and devastated Rome… in October 1528’ (Smitha, 2014).
Eventually, on 8 November 1528, Henry ‘gave a masterful speech to the country’s nobles at Bridewell, London… explaining that Catherine was noble and virtuous and that in other circumstances he would marry he[r] again. But because of what had happened he lived in “detestable and abominable adultery” (HistoryLearningSite.co.uk., 2007). This was followed by a change in the continental political tide that saw Francis I and Charles V ‘agreed on a Treaty at Cambrai… As a result Wolsey’s grand plan for conservative reform and England holding the balance of power in Europe, fell by the wayside’ (Orr, 2013). This was a fatal blow for Cardinal Wolsey’s political life, who ‘was ordered to leave London and live in much lesser circumstances in York [where he was the archbishop]’ (HistoryLearningSite.co.uk., 2007). Additionally, ‘In a final and almost bizarre act the kings’ officials ransacked Campeggio’s bags before he was allowed to leave the country at Dover. Henry had hoped to find the decretal which might have been used to secure the divorce. But it was not found’ (Orr, 2013).
The opinion of leading universities
Whilst the Pope Clement was busy working on negotiating with the Holy Roman Emperor in 1529, Henry ‘finally sent the Earl of Wiltshire, Dr Lee, Bishop of York, and Stokesley Bishop of London as delegates to the Pope then at Bologna where he was meeting with the Emperor, Charles V. Again Clement ducked the issue and said he would consider it when he returned to Rome… Henry’s response was to… obtain the opinion of the Divines of leading universities in Europe for their opinion about a divorce’ (ibid).
It would be important to summarise the points of dispute claimed from the both sides: while Henry argued that his marriage to Catherine had been against God’s law, making use of Leviticus 20:16 to back up his case, Catherine was adamant that ‘she and Arthur, her first husband and Henry’s brother, did not consummate their marriage and therefore were not truly husband and wife’ (Eakins, 2010). Moreover, on contrary to Henry’s claim, the Rome dissected what Leviticus had actually meant was ‘you should not marry your brother’s wife while he was still alive’ (HistoryLearningSite.co.uk., 2007). In addition, opposing to what shall happen as a result of such forbidden marriage, ‘Catherine and Henry were far from childless, and still had one living child. But that child was a girl, and didn’t count in Henry’s mind’ (Eakins, 2010). It should be noted that Catherine also ‘appealed directly to the Pope… since her nephew was Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor… not only to retain her position, but also that of her daughter Mary’ (ibid).
Consequently, the twelve of the Divines of leading universities in Europe, who responded to Henry’s request, concluded as following: ‘affirming plainly his marriage, in case as it standeth, both to be unlawful, and repugnant to the express word of God: and that no man is able to dispense with the same’ (Orr, 2013).
In the following year, it seems that Henry changed his strategy for appealing his case directly to Catherine’s nephew and appointed Thomas Boylen, in January 1530, along with other bishops, ‘to go to the Emperor Charles V, and explain to him the king’s reasons for seeking a divorce from his aunt, Catherine of Arragon. The pope [Clement VII] and the emperor at that time had met together at Bologna, and the ambassadors were further commissioned to treat with both of them, and with other potentates, for a general peace. But, of course, the main object was to counteract, as far as possible, the influence which the emperor would bring to bear upon the pope in favour of Catherine. The ambassadors, however, failed to impress the former with the justice of the king’s cause; and the latter very naturally kept his sentiments to himself’ (Gairdner, 2012). This followed an issue of breve by Clement on 7 March 1530, in which, the Pope indicated that ‘he knew of Henry`s intention to seek a decision elsewhere’ (Orr , 2013) and pronounced ‘censure against those who threatened to have the king’s divorce suit decided by an English tribunal, and forbade Henry to proceed to a new marriage before a decision was given in Rome (Knight, 2012). In the beginning of the following year, on 5 January 1531. the Pope further ‘issued a breve [warning letter] that peremptorily warned of excommunication if Henry proceeded to a second marriage before the existing marriage state was decided’ (Orr, 2013). Reacting to this, in March 1531, Henry ‘sent the matter before Parliament’ (ibid), in which, it was explained that Henry had consulted with ‘the chief universities of all christendom, to know their opinion and judgment’ (ibid) on his marriage to Catherine, and ‘The replies from the universities were produced and read out. The significance of the decisions was to demonstrate that the Pope was not what he claimed, and secondly, he presumptuously took unto himself powers that he was not able to dispense’ (ibid). As a result, the prelates were made to call Henry ‘”the supreme head of the Church of England” which they had never admitted before’ (ibid) and consequently the king ‘extorted a vast sum of money from the English clergy upon the pretext that the penalties of præmunire had been incurred by them through their recognition of the papal legate, and soon afterwards he prevailed upon Parliament to prohibit under certain conditions the payment of Anneates to Rome’ (Knight, 2012). Thus, in effect, the English Reformation has been launched.
On 22 August 1532 William Warham, the Archbishop of Canterbury, died and this ‘allowed Henry to press for the institution of [Thomas] Cranmer’ (Knight, 2012) as his successor. Though the pallium was ‘granted to him by Clement’ (ibid), ‘Almost immediately after his consecration Cranmer proceeded to pronounce judgment upon the divorce’ (ibid).
It would be appropriate to point out that dates given within this blog entry are basically on the Julian Calendar, in which, ‘New Year’s Day had been March 25, nine months prior to the Christmas celebration of Jesus’ birth. Thus, 24 March 1532 was followed the next day by 25 March 1533′ (Croom, p 190, 2001). Therefore, in theory, the following accounts should have occurred after the consecration of Crammer: ‘In January 1532 Parliament met again’ (Orr, 2013) and Henry attacked ‘the oath of the clergy to the Pope that had been disclosed by [Thomas] Cromwell’ (ibid) and replaced it with the oath of the clergy to the King, which ‘was the physical act that made the break with Rome a reality. But it still kept catholicism as the faith’ (ibid). In the meantime, the Pope ‘prepared’ the third breve addressed to Henry ‘on 25 January 1532 which named Anne [Boylen] for the first time and firmly rebuked Henry for cohabiting with her. It further ordered him to dismiss Anne and take back Catharine; if he failed to do so within one month of receiving the breve he would be excommunicated’ (ibid). However, this breve was actually ‘posted at Dunkirk and Bruge on 21 and 23 January 1533’ (ibid), nearly a year later.
Coincidently, the day Clement ‘prepared’ the third breve fell upon one of the same dates when Henry alleged to contracted a secret marriage with his mistress. By that time, it became clear that Anne Boylen is pregnant and in order to secure the legitimacy of the child to be born, Henry ‘contracted a secret marriage with Anne Boleyn’ (ibid) on either ‘St Erkwald`s Day, 14 November 1532’ (ibid) or ‘about St Paul`s Day, 25 January’ (ibid) 1532*. On this occasion, however, Cranmer ‘was not present and did not learn of it until a fortnight later’ (ibid). Meanwhile, ‘the convocations of the clergy and a meeting of parliament concluded that appeal to Rome was not necessary’ (ibid). As things got this far, Henry ‘declared his marriage to Catherine invalid’ (Smitha, 2014), and as for his marriage to Anne, ‘Cranmer, in May, 1533, declared to be valid’ (Knight, 2012). As a result, ‘Anne Boleyn was consequently crowned on June the 1st’ (ibid).
*The blog author modified the year given as 1533 in the quoted web site to 1532 because in the Julian Calendar, January 1533 comes after May 1533, when Cranmer acknowledged this secret marriage valid.
In the meantime, Catherine ‘was summoned on 10 May 1533 to appear in a matrimonial court but did not appear. Neither did she appear on the next fifteen days on which she was cited. Eventually she was cited for contumacy and by the assent of those present declared divorced on 25 May, and the marriage declared void and of no effect’ (Orr, 2013). Now, despite the huge efforts Henry has made for securing him a male heir, ‘On 7 September 1533 Queen Anne gave birth to Elizabeth’ (ibid), a girl child.
In the following year, ‘the Parliament pressed on further legislation abolishing all ecclesiastical dependence on Rome. But it was only in March, 1534, that the papal tribunal finally pronounced its verdict upon the original issue raised by the king and declared the marriage between Henry and Catherine to be unquestionably valid’ (Knight, 2012). Nonetheless, this came obviously too late. Clement VII ‘has been much blamed for this delay and for his various concessions in the matter of the divorce’ (ibid), which reduced Catherine’s position to be merely ‘referred to as the Princess Dowager in an act of parliament in 1534’ (Orr, 2013). As for her daughter, Thomas Boleyn was sent ‘on 13 July 1534 to the Princess Mary to induce her to renounce her title and acknowledge herself an illegitimate child’ (Gairdner, 2012). On 25 September, 1534, the Pope Clement VII died and he was succeeded by Paul III, who ‘used his power of excommunication against Henry, followed by his rescinding Henry’s title as “Defender of the Faith.” England’s parliament declared that title still valid. Pope Paul had to watch – powerless – as Henry “nationalized” all Roman Church property in England into his personal ownership and sold off these properties to the highest bidders among the aristocracy and the gentry. Roman priests in England were dismissed unless they swore an oath of conformity to Henry’s new Church. Those who would not were dispossessed of their positions and livlihood, or if made too much political noise they were executed as “recusants” – dissidents’ (Smitha, 2014). In addition, the Parliament of England in 1534 also ratified the ‘decision about the divorce’ (Orr, 2013) between Henry and Catherine and passed ‘the Treasons Act, which made it high treason, punishable by death, to refuse to acknowledge the King as head of the Church of England’ (Smitha, 2014).
In the years to follow, Catherine ‘continued with her appeal to Rome against the divorce and would listen to nobody but a few Spanish advisers. She rejected the universities opinion and procured from the Pope [contrary to the law as it happened] declarations and admonitions followed by excommunication and interdiction against the king and the whole realm… The Duke of Suffolk was subsequently sent to Bugden, near Huntingdon, where Catherine was… [and] proceeded to break up her court and dismissed many servants, leaving but a few who were clearly instructed to serve her as a princess, not a queen. Those who would not so serve her were dismissed’ (Orr, 2013). She was separated from her daughter and lived in ‘several dank and unhealthy castles and manors with just a few servants. However, she seldom complained of her treatment and spent a great deal of time at prayer (Eakins, 2010). Four months before the downfall of Anne Boleyn, who was arrested and executed on 19 May, Catherine died on 7 January 1536 ‘at Kimbolton Castle and was buried at Peterborough Abbey’ (ibid).
Thus, this short blog entry looked at things related to Henry VIII’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon in chronological order. First of all, it looked at Henry’s early years, where he was born as the second son of King Henry VII, who made the arrangement of political marriage between Catherine of Aragon and his elder brother, Arthur, who dies in 1502, shortly after the marriage. Then, it looked at how Henry married his elder brother’s widow as soon as his farther died and succeeded his throne as Henry VIII in 1509. Subsequently, it had a look at his early rule, where he built a good relationship with Roman authority, and as a result, he was awarded a title of Defender of the Faith in 1521. In the meantime, it also argued that Henry struggled to produce a male heir in his private life, in which, he heard from his physicians that Catherine was unlikely to give birth again in 1524 or 25, then he fell in love with one of his mistresses, Annee Boleyn, in 1526. With these two factors in its consideration, it supposed that Henry might have decided to divorce Catherine sometime in 1527. At this point, it examined what Henry needed to divorce his wife; a permission from judicial authority of the Catholic Church, and how his request was handled by the Pope Clement VII, who had been in trouble with the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Catherine’s nephew. Then it discussed how Henry broke through the Pope’s reluctance and unwillingness for approving the divorce case, by making use of his domestic Parliament to legislate his marriage to Catherine void, and his secret marriage to Annee valid, in May 1533. It also described how Henry reacted in opposing to the Roman authority’s disapproval with a thread of excommunication, where he further pushed for a series of legislations and ultimately abolished all ecclesiastical dependence on Rome through the Parliament of England in 1534. Consequently, Henry consolidated foundations for the English Reformation, regardless to the fate of his first and second wives, which were both terminated in 1536.
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