On 11th July 1533, Pope Clement VII declared his sentence on the annulment of the King’s marriage to Catherine of Aragin and his subsequent marriage to Anne Boleyn:
“Sentence of Clement VII. against Henry VIII., declaring his divorce from Katharine and marriage with Anne Boleyn null; and pronouncing the King to have incurred the greater excommunication, but suspending the declaration of the same till the end of September.”
A further document in Letters and Papers corroborates this:
“On the 11th of this July, the Pope in Consistory pronounced a sentence restoring the Queen to her royal state, annulling the King’s marriage with Ana, whose children are declared illegitimate, and declaring that the King is excommunicate, and has incurred the penalties contained in the briefs.”
In the Pope’s eyes, Henry was still legally married to Catherine of Aragon and he expected Henry to abandon the pregnant Anne Boleyn on pain of excommunication. He was giving Henry until September to make the appropriate arrangements. Henry ignored the sentence and was married to Anne Boleyn until May 1536, when their marriage was annulled and Anne was executed for high treason. The papal bull of excommunication was actually not issued until 1538 after the King had “gone to still further excesses” in the Pope’s eyes.
Notes and Sources
- LP vi. 807
- LP vi. 808