18 June 1529 – Catherine of Aragon reads out her appeal to the Legatine Court
Posted By Claire on June 18, 2017
On this day in history, 18th June 1529, Catherine of Aragon, first wife of King Henry VIII, made her first appearance at the special legatine court which had opened at Blackfriars, in London, on 31st May 1529 to hear Henry VIII’s case for an annulment of his marriage to Catherine.
The king sent proxies to the court, but Catherine attended in person and read out her appeal.
Today is also the anniversary of the trial of Protestant martyr, Anne Askew, at London’s Guildhall on 18th June 1546. Anne was found guilty of heresy and sentenced to be burned at the stake. Click here to read more.
1 thought on “18 June 1529 – Catherine of Aragon reads out her appeal to the Legatine Court”
Henry thought Katherine would just accept his authority and wishes. Her full blooded challenge must have stunned him and the court. Katherine had prepared her case effectively and she took everyone by surprise, even the King. Henry believed he had a good, righteous cause and he did respect Katherine and found no personal fault in her person, as he put it. He even claimed before the court that would it not be for the fact they were found to have married in error and nothing was wrong and were to have then married again, he would have chosen her again. Henry chose to marry Katherine, he was delighted with her and they were very fond of each other. It is very possible that Henry actually loved Katherine more than any other wife. Henry wasn’t angry that Katherine couldn’t give him a son with her, personally, but with the fact that he believed the Lord had not blessed their marriage with sons. He had seen the light as we would say and believed they had unknowingly sinned by entering into a forbidden marriage with his brother’s widow. The true interpretation is brother’s living wife as he would ‘uncover his brother’s nakedness ‘; but Henry’s misinterpretation doesn’t stop there. He also read childless for sonless as he couldn’t see a female ruling. England had no Salic Law, so Mary could quite happily of inherited the throne. Spain had seen female rule, although Isabella had to chuck her illegitimate half brother off the throne first before taking charge. Mary had plenty of offers of marriage and she had been trained a Queen by taking her place to rule in Wales as Princess. She went to Ludlow with a full household and ruling council to rule the March and Principality in the name of the King. Why bother if you have no of her inheritance of the throne? Katherine had been correctly advised that her marriage could be made good if in doubt and after time, because they both did no wrong at this point Mary wouldn’t be declared illegitimate in a church court as she was born before her parents knew their error. Legally this was called a good faith principle. The Church provided for the protection of the child against ignorance. The passage of time could also make their marriage valid by this principle. Henry was still pursing to end his marriage legally, not through theological arguments as pointed out to him later by Cromwell and Cranmer. He didn’t bank on Katherine, of course.
Katherine was of the mind that as she was still a virgin, her first marriage was not consummated and so not valid. She was crowned Queen and married lawfully so she was the lawful Queen and God had called her out of vocation to marriage. We need to forget at this point modern notions of her stepping aside, she couldn’t, not unless she retired to a religious establishment. Katherine didn’t feel any such calling and was shocked and outraged that Henry was behaving as such and blamed his advisers and Wolsey. She saw this court as her opportunity, at least on day one. It soon became apparent it was a farse and Campaggio warned Katherine of the King’s plans to load the court and he was under secret instructions to raise the court if Katherine appealed to Rome as soon as the arguments had been heard. There was another complication. She was called Anne Boleyn.
Anne had been no threat to Katherine at first. Mistresses come, mistresses go. But Anne wouldn’t be Henry’s mistress, only his wife. Henry’s questioned his marriage before Anne came along, but Anne gave him the opportunity of a new marriage and sons. This made her a dangerous rival and by now Anne and Henry had been courting for three years and were in love. Henry really now wanted out of his marriage regardless, despite his pretty speeches. He no longer wanted a delay. This court he saw as it, the final decision in his favour. Katherine was about to give a command performance in order to attempt to prevent his foolishness.