3 July 1533 – Catherine of Aragon Ordered to Recognise her New Title or Else!

Posted By on July 3, 2012

On 3rd July 1533, Catherine of Aragon’s chamberlain, Lord Mountjoy, was instructed to inform Catherine that she was to stop referring to herself as ‘Queen’ and to “satisfy herself with the name of Dowager, as prescribed by the Act of Parliament, and must beware of the danger if she attempt to contravene it” because Anne Boleyn was now Queen.

The instructions from the King warned that “If she be not persuaded by these arguments to avoid the King’s indignation, and relent from her vehement arrogancy, the King will be compelled to punish her servants, and withdraw her affection from his daughter. Finally, that as the marriage is irrevocable, and has passed the consent of Parliament, nothing that she can do will annul it, and she will only incur the displeasure of Almighty God and of the King.”

Lord Mountjoy followed the King’s instructions and sent the following report back:

“To the effect that on Thursday, 3 July, they found her lying on a pallet, as she had pricked her foot with a pin, and could not stand, and was also sore annoyed with a cough. On our declaring that our instructions were to her as Princess Dowager, she took exception to the name, persisting that she was the King’s true wife, and her children were legitimate, which she would claim to be true during her life. To our assertion that the marriage with Anne Boleyn had been adjudged lawful by the universities, the Lords and Commons, she said the King might do in his realm by his royal power what he would; that the cause was not theirs but the Pope’s to judge, as she had already answered the duke of Norfolk. To other arguments, that she might damage her daughter and servants, she replied she would not damn her own soul on any consideration, or for any promises the King might make her. She did not defend her cause upon obstinacy, nor to create any dissension in the realm, but to save her own rights; and as for the withdrawing of the King’s affection from her, she would daily pray for the preservation of his estate; but as she sues by his licence, she trusts in so doing to lose no part of his favor. In fine, she will not abandon the title till such time as a sentence is given to the contrary by the Pope. She asked for a copy of these instructions, which she would translate into Spanish, and send to Rome.”

In Letters and Papers, Mountjoy’s report is followed by a note saying that “The expression “Princess Dowager” in the first clause is obliterated by Katharine herself”! Catherine was not going to play ball.

Notes and Sources

  • LP vi. 759 and 760

21 thoughts on “3 July 1533 – Catherine of Aragon Ordered to Recognise her New Title or Else!”

  1. The arrogance of Henry VIII ! Equating his displeasure to that of Almighty God’s ! He really was ” a legend in his own mind”. The legend he left behind was most certainly NOT the one
    he imagined himself to be!

  2. NanBoleyn says:

    Brave woman! Poor Henry, caught between two equally strong-minded females. He deserved all their defiance, he was just pleasing himself…
    I remember my aunt also resisting divorce from her philandering husband. She believed marriage was indisoluble by man. What God hath tied together…
    I remember a time when I lived with her and my cousins, for a short period of time, how she loved him and cried at what he had done to her, the loss of her looks. It was heart breaking to see her cry for a man clearly not worth it and she died his wife. She never agreed to a divorce. My cousin to this day cannot forgive her father.

  3. Dawn 1st says:

    Katherine was certainly not going to be bullied by Henry and his threats, and she certainly endured much because of this….her own personal suffering she bore with dignity, but how she held out when Henry would not allow her to see or communicate with Mary I will never know, I don’t think I could…strong and brave.

    1. baroness Von Reis says:

      Dawn 1,I totally agree with you Dawn 1,she was a very strong and brave women,to endure,Henry and his wrath! Do you think, talking the childern from both Queen Kate and Queen Anne,was some kind of a punishment??before there deaths?Or maybe political? I think myself it’s the wrath of Henry,as I go back and forth with this very qs . Baroness

      1. Dawn 1st says:

        It was quite normal for Royal babies to be given their own households in a different residence, probably in a place that was ‘healthier’, the country maybe, baby Elizabeth was at Hatfield, so was Mary at that time, as part of Elizabeth’s household, which was an insult to Mary, I would have thought the reasoning behind it was it gave them a better chance of survival. So no I don’t think he was punishing Anne in that way, as she visited Elizabeth and had her at court as often as she could right up to her execution.
        But it was different with Katherine and Mary, he did separate them to punish them, to wear them down to get them to agree to what he wanted, I think also he was afraid they might conspire against him. I think I am correct in what I have written, if not someone will put us right…

        1. Claire says:

          You’re spot on, Dawn, it was the norm for royal children to be set up with their own royal households away from court. As you say, it was different with Catherine and Mary after Catherine’s refusal to accept the title of Princess Dowager, but by that time Mary was in her late teens.

  4. tracy says:

    Katherine was a brave woman but she was a daughter of Spain and the daughter of Isabella and Ferdinad who “drove” the Moors from Spain, with parents like that as an example there was little else she could do considering as far as she was concerned she’d been Henry’s wife for, in total, 20 years.

    She’d known him since he was 11 years old when she first came to England to marry his elder brother, she’d had the chance to see the child grow to manhood, she knew him too well for his own comfort and as far as she was concerned she was his lawful wife and she was standing up for what she thought to be right.

    I think this is why Henry chose to treat Katherine the way he did, he knew she knew him extremely well, too well for his own comfort most of the time, he wanted to be free of her and she wasn’t going to give him an inch let alone a mile, he’d stripped her of her title of Queen, stopped most of her money, kept her a prisoner, trying to force her to agree to what he wanted, he thought by forbidding their daughter Mary from seeing her that this would force the issue………..he was proved wrong yet again by her iron will and her insistance she was right about their marriage being legal and to her knowledge the dispansations being in order.

    I think she was admirable in her resolve……….the saddest part of the whole thing for me is the effect it had on Mary, from what I can see it warped a kind, loving young woman into a mistrustful, needy, clingy woman who was so starved of love by her father and greif for her mother that she clung to and had attactment to any man who was strong regardless of how she felt…………she wanted love and ended up in a, on her husbands side, loveless marriage.

    I can understand to an extent her hatered and mistrust of her half sister Elizabeth 1st, in her mind if it hadn’t been for her mother Mary’s wouldn’t have had to suffer what she did and be so humiliated by their father, she never had that hatered or dislike for her half brother Edward VI which is understandable.

    All in all Katherine was a very brave woman who knew in her own mind that she was in the right.

  5. baroness Von Reis says:

    Hi Ab Friends,Hope you all had a great4th!! I went to work in my vinyards and water ,ran to the store,came back home ,and said to myself,I’ll go down to the theater room and catch a good movie. Now I turn mt flat screen on, and to my suprize,The Other Boleyn Girl ,yes was on,now for those of you who don’t know Tudor History BRAC yourselfs,your in for a big suprize!!! This wonderfull peace of well, total and dark FICTION is there for you to veiw,it took me the first time all of 15min,to trash it. So I said lets see how long I can stuggle threw. It’s on encore in the stateschannel 345,when the girls grew up I already wanted not only the poorly written ssskript Nat Portman is hardly the actress who should portray The Great Queen Anne,nor Scarjoe,this acting could’nt get any wrose,well let you know how long I last this time around. THX Baroness.

  6. baroness Von Reis says:

    Well,I must say I got threw this made for tv fiction,and must confess I made it threw to wereAnne was being raped and had to turn it OFF.The only thing that saw me, that far was the costumes, they were the one thing done right in this rubash of a movie ,as I collect 1500’s costumes,well done to the seamstress. Baroness

    1. Dawn 1st says:

      Baroness, you say you collect 1500’s costumes, are these ‘real’ 1500s or copies, I’m intrigued…also when you said you went to work in you vinyards, then went into the Theatre room…I’m even more intrigued, are you a really Baroness? 🙂

      1. Dawn 1st says:

        P.S. I agree, The Other Boleyn Girl was one of the worst ever historical films made, about any era.

        1. Claire says:

          I just spend the whole time shouting at the TV when that’s on!

      2. baroness Von Reis says:

        Dawn 1,Yes I do have a wine vinyard,and a theater room also a Great room ,my home is very large, also I have a wine cellar.Yes I collect 1500 s cotumes they are replicas,but they are custome made for me. I have a very talented women who makes my gowns, and just had one made and am having another one in the works as we speak.Am I a Baroness, yes and know ,I atend Renn Fest and am at the Royal court every summer,as well as other Renn functions. When going to these events you must be spot on with ,your title and in full dress.If it is ok with Claire I can send you the name of my coffers,Claire is it ok with you she has a site so you can see what she has to offer??Also Claire hope you screemed really loud at your flat screen,I wanted to break mine.,as I said the one good thing about that movie, was the costumes here her to the seamstess ! If you or Claire like wine I can send you a bottle?

        1. Claire says:

          Hi Baroness,
          I’m happy for you to mention your costume maker, that’s fine, and thanks for the kind offer of a bottle of wine but I’m not sure it would make it to Spain!

        2. Dawn 1st says:

          Baroness, I do love wine, a few glasses every evening, alot more when we have friends round, 🙂 . May I ask where you live, I live in Scotland, and as much as I would like to taste your wine, and thank you for your offer, I think it would be very expensive for you to send. Do you export to Britain.
          Your dress maker sounds wonderful, it will be great to see her site. And It must be an out of this world experience attending your functions.

          Claire, I know any film based on a book falls short, as it is difficult to fit the whole story into 2 hours of filming, but this film did not even resemble the book in it story lines,(to me anyway), in any shape or form, it was completely dis-jointed, and absolutely ridiculous, I know the book isn’t to every ones taste, I enjoyed it, but the film was so bad, to tell you the truth if I had seen the film first I would have been reluctant to read the book. I know the series The Tudors played fast and loose with the truth, but at least it had a continual story line that you could follow, was well set and acted, with wonderful costumes, and most of all entertaining. I feel so ashamed, lol, that I actually bought the DVD as I missed it on the cinema, and couldn’t wait till it came on TV, luckily it was on the ‘cheap’ shelf, so didn’t pay too much to be highly dissapointed….And finally isn’t it great the wide spectrum of people that Anne Boleyn, and your site attract, from ordinary folk like me, to Baronesses….amazing, and a credit to you Claire…

  7. baroness Von Reis says:

    Claire,The wine would surely make it to Spain we package our wines very well,I sent Wiles Wales, a bottle it made right to him.I must asay it is a very good red wine this year.Well give me a heads up,it will make it to Sain I assure you. Thank You Baroness

    1. Claire says:

      It was customs I meant. I don’t know the rules regarding sending wine. Thank you, that would be amazing!

      1. baroness Von Reis says:

        Claire I will check on the llaws as I would love for you to have a bottle of last years harvest,if the laws permit I will let you know. Have a great day Baroness.

  8. baroness Von Reis says:

    Dawn 1 the site I use it MajesticVelvet.com there gowns are lovely,so take a gander ,one can not have enough gowns,my husbands tells, me if I keep buying gowns I will end up on hoarders,they will have to digg me out from under all my dresses. Thank you Baroness

  9. baroness Von Reis says:

    Hi Dawn 1 ,How excstiting you live in Scotland my Grandmother hails from Scotland,As I told Claire we will have to see about customes,I will check first of the week would love to sen you ladies a fine bottle of my wine. I live somerset WI,but we have a New Richmond mailing why,I don’t Know.If you go to the site were I have my gowns made.I just had the Black tapestry,with preal sleeves,now I am having the Swan gown made . Have a Great Day Baroness.

  10. AnneBoleyn says:

    Poor Catherine, doomed to a life of hardship and misery because she wouldn’t accept a divorce. In one way, I suppose she was lucky that since she was a Spanish princess and the people’s Queen, she couldn’t have been killed, for there would have been an uprising. Anne Boleyn’s unpopularity and lack of influential people on her side meant her downfall.

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