21 June 1529 – An incredible speech from Catherine of Aragon

On 31st May 1529, a special legatine court had opened at Blackfriars, in London, to hear the case for the annulment of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. The court was presided over by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who’d been made the pope’s viceregent, and Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio, papal legate.

On 18th June 1529, the king and Catherine were summoned to appear. The king sent proxies, but Catherine appeared in person to make her protest, protesting that the judges were biased and that court proceedings should not even be taking place while the case was still pending at Rome.

On this day in history, 21st June 1529, both Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon attended court to testify in front of the cardinal. Henry VIII addressed the court, giving his side of things. He explained that his conscience was troubled because he had acted contrary to God’s law in marrying his brother’s widow and he believed that the pope should never have issued a dispensation for such a marriage. I’m sure that it was a heartfelt and impassioned speech, but he was to be completely outdone by his wife, Catherine, who definitely stole the show and gave “the speech of her life”.

Click here to read about what happened on that day in court.

Also on this day in history, 21st June 1553, letters patent were issued changing King Edward VI’s heir from his half-sister, Mary, to Lady Jane Grey – click here to read more.

Picture: Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon before Papal Legates at Blackfriars, Frank O. Salisbury (1910).

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