Happy Wedding Anniversary Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn – 25 January 1533

Posted By on January 25, 2014

Henry and Anne engravingOn this day in history, 25th January 1533, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn got married in a secret ceremony at Whitehall.

You can read all about the marriage in my article 25 January 1533 – Marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.

This might not have been the first marriage ceremony that the couple had been through though. According to chronicler Edward Hall, the couple got married on St Erkenwald’s Day 1532 (14th November) on their return from their trip to Calais – Click here to read more about the possible St Erkenwald’s Day wedding.

The couple were married just over three years. Anne was executed for treason on 19th May 1536, shortly after their marriage was annulled, and Henry VIII married Jane Seymour on 30th May 1536.

47 thoughts on “Happy Wedding Anniversary Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn – 25 January 1533”

  1. Maritzal says:

    Wow such a long time ago but I love history And the marriage lasted so little how sad for her though she was executed for what exactly?

    1. Nady says:

      She was executed because She acused that she was involved in a relation with her brother as She couldn ‘t have a son that king Henry wanted so much.

      1. Sigrid says:

        There were many things she was accused of and many of them were not convincing, but she was blamed for adultery, with Sir Henry Norris, Mark Smeaton, Francis Weston and William Brereton. She was accused for having committed incest with her ​​own brother, who also were executed and, along with all the others. As for beskylding high treason, they thought that she was going to kill the king with one of her lovers (Sir Henry Norris) and so then be free to marry him.

  2. Cyndee Reynolds says:

    Forgive me if my question depicts me as not very well read on the subject. Queen Anne was executed on May19th,1536 and King Henry VIII married Jane Seymour I read within 24 hours after his annulment to Queen Anne on May 30th, 1536. So it’s my understanding the annulment took place after Anne’s execution? An annulment still had to be granted even though Anne was already dead?

    1. Dulcie says:

      I’m sure it was annulled while Anne was under arrest in the tower where she was also told her daughter Elizabeth was illegitimate.

      Read more: https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/happy-wedding-anniversary-henry-viii-anne-boleyn-25-january-1533/#ixzz2rOsgIoQp

      1. Dulcie says:

        Sorry ignore the link

    2. Claire says:

      Hi Cyndee,
      See https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/17-may-1536-the-annulment-of-henry-viii-and-anne-boleyns-marriage/ for an article on the annulment. It wasn’t enough for Henry to be rid of Anne through death, he wanted to make it so that their marriage had never been lawful, so that Jane would be his one and only true wife and so that future children he had with her would be the only legitimate heirs. I hope that makes sense, and it is rather complicated.

      1. Maffi says:

        For some wird reason I was always under the impression the only Henry understood Henry..

        1. Claire says:

          In what way?

  3. Dulcie says:

    She had been accused of many affairs along with her brother. Henry also believed that he had been bewitched and under a spell to fall in love with Anne.
    The last miscarriage that Anne had following Henry’s jousting accident sealed her fate unfortunately.

  4. Dulcie says:

    I’m sure it was annulled while Anne was under arrest in the tower where she was also told her daughter Elizabeth was illegitimate.

  5. Cyndee Reynolds says:

    Thank you everyone for your comments,input and links. I did find it odd that King Henry VIII felt it necessary after he was basically a widower to follow through with an annulment but now with the links and some follow up reading it makes sense at least in the Kings mind as to why he felt the annulment was necessary. It seems clear that most of his decisions regarding his wives were made to ensure a legitimate male heir to the throne.
    I thoroughly enjoy your site Claire and appreciate again everyone’s help with my questions.
    And Claire I have purchased three of your books and am looking forward to starting my reading of them this weekend!

  6. BanditQueen says:

    The day Henry committed bigamy and the start of a great saga, but tragic end, but also disaster for England.

    1. Claire says:

      Have you read Patrick Williams’ new book on Catherine of Aragon. It gives some interesting insights into not only the whole consummation issue re Catherine and Arthur, but also Henry’s thinking regarding his marriage to Catherine. As many people point out, Henry used Leviticus to back up the idea that his marriage to Catherine was not right in God’s eyes but Deuteronomy says the opposite, however, according to canon law Leviticus takes precedent over Deuteronomy and Catherine’s dead babies seemed, to Henry, to back up the idea. Williams also pointed out that Henry would have got further if he’d actually argued that the dispensation that had been issued was wrong. It had been issued on the understanding that Catherine’s marriage to Arthur had been consummated, when, at the time, it was thought that it hadn’t been. William says that Henry had told Chapuys at one point that Catherine had come to him a maid, Ferdinand and Isabella’s sources said that Catherine was still a virgin, Catherine herself said she was… so the dispensation was not valid. Interesting!
      It’s a very in depth book, very heavy, but I enjoyed the discussion of the above points and it does give you an insight into Henry’s thoughts on his marriage to Catherine, and then history beginning to repeat itself with Anne.

      1. BanditQueen says:

        I assume you mean have I read it: not all of it but some of it. I am familiar with the normal arguments and Henry’s point of view but he had not had anyone declare his current marriage invalid on this date that he married: his own Archbishop and his court did not hear the case until April/May and then decided it was not valid and Anne and Henry’s was: but the Holy See, too late made up its mind that the reverse was true. Henry I am sure really believed his case was genuine and Katherine really believed hers to be the truth; and the history of births, miscarriages, still births, sons dying after a few days or few weeks must have been really sad for Katherine and Henry. Then Anne also is unfortunate, with no small help from Henry’s jousting accident and his dangling another woman on his knee. The entire sad events was poor for England. But I firmly believe that the marriage of Katherine and Henry was valid and the time that had passed had made the marriage good. The consequences of the second marriage were bad for England as now Henry decided he was not going to wait for Rome; was not going back to Katherine, and that anyone who did not agree with the new marriage was a traitor. The Act of Supremacy made it treason not to acknowledge his new title as head of the church in England and the deaths that followed of some of the most learned and holy people in the realm was a tragic loss for the country. Anne was to end in her own tragic end and poor Jane the lady who gave him his son; was to die 12 days later of childbed fever. Tragic events that could have been avoided. Events that were not good for the country and not good for the people who knew the King and were close to him or for the women involved.


        1. Claire says:

          I wasn’t arguing with you, I was just saying that Williams makes some very interesting points and looks in detail at the original dispensation, Catherine’s marriage to Arthur, and all the wranglings of the Great Matter. It’s well worth a read for that aspect of things. I like how he and Tremlett look at the Spanish side of things in their books – fascinating.

  7. Dawn 1st says:

    I have seen good arguments for either side of the coin on this subject of the legality of Henry’s marriage to Anne, and I find the logic placed behind each theory great reading, and respect each one.
    At the end of the day many will have to agree to differ on this matter (and plenty of other topics too in this era) for time ever lasting I think…

    Happy Burns Night too….

    1. Claire says:

      At the end of the day it boiled down to what Henry thought and what he wanted. I believe his marriage to Catherine was valid, but that doesn’t change anything. What those women thought didn’t matter either. Even the Pope didn’t matter because Henry was convinced he was wrong too. A real mess for all those involved.

      Happy Burns Night!

      1. Dawn 1st says:

        You’re right there…no matter what we think, decide or slice it up, it did come down to what Henry’s point of view was on the matter.

      2. BanditQueen says:

        Thank you for the reference to Williams: there are few books that have had access to the Spanish archives: I was excited that Williams and Tremlett have done so much research using the documents there. Both Books are excellent and give great in depth details that have not really been available before: the arguments are actually quite complex: but for Henry it was simple: he had not been blessed with a son and heir and so the marriage must be cursed. The theologians and lawyers on the other hand had a time of it going into the complexities of all of the arguments; the wordings of the original dispensations and contracts, the vows of Isabella and Ferdinand that Katherine was still a virgin, although how they knew remains a mystery, there was of course the confession of the Queen, to her confessor who she gave leave to reveal that she came to the marriage as a virgin, and this would have been important as her immortal soul was at stake. The bulls that Henry sent to the Pope seemed to also make even more complex arguments every time they were sent off and he even proposed that he should be allowed to have a second wife while being married to Katherine. This also had a Biblical origin as the Patriarchs had more than one wife, and there was no clear rule in the Old Testement that limited marriage just to one man. This was a later Christian interpretation of Scripture and I am not even sure what its origin is. But by the time of Henry and Katherine and Anne one wife was the norm and the Holy See obviously would not have looked well on this request. It is clear that Henry was desperate at this point to have the matter settled. The saddest part of all this was that Rome put the decision off far too long and Henry felt compelled to take matters into his own hands. Henry was a faithful child of Rome and I am sure he broke from Rome with regret. However, he must also have been aware that his decision would not be popular and that he gathered all of the sources and historcal documents he could find to give his arguments some sound basis.

        As far as Henry was concerned of course when he married Anne he was free to do so. And he had a good reason to marry her now as she was carrying the future Elizabeth, which he and Anne both hoped was a son. I have always been curious why Anne was able to give Henry a healthy child first of all and then had terrible trouble carrying her children to full term. There is some dispute as to how many children Anne lost but it must have been at least two or even three. Her final miscarriage could have been due to the shock and stress of hearing that Henry had been injured and possibly feared he was dead. But what caused the other two miscarriages? Henry even shared the grief at the loss of at least one of these lost children; then his attitude towards Anne changed and he was angry when she lost his son and heir. Did Henry really believe now that he would not have any more children? With Jane he seems also to have despaired that they had married too late to have children?

        Henry and Anne must have been full of hope when they tied the mark on Saint Paul’s Day for possibly the second time. The ceremony must have just been simple with a couple of family members and attendents or grooms and maid of honour and a Mass and prayers and vows. But they still must have been aware that they had not finalised the divorce and the need to hurry that along as well as Anne was with child. I guess that the next few months must have been both tense and joy as they looked forward to the birth of the child and to the preparations for Anne’s coronation as well as what the new Archbishop would do to declare their marriage lawful. How ironic that it was all going to turn out so tragically just a little over three years later after the death of Katherine and Henry’s horrific fall with the loss of that heir that could have shone so brightly for them both; but which may have instead have started Anne on the road to her own tragic end. What would have been had a son been born to either Katherine or Anne? Somehow their fates were entwined and England has not been the same since.

        Cheers again for the review on Williams and the points that he has raised. I still have the pleasure of this book to come. Thanks.

        1. Claire says:

          A brief reply as I’m dashing out of the door, but I did think the blurb of Williams’ book was a bit odd, it says that William is “the first to make full use of the Spanish royal archives” when I’m sure Tremlett did too.

  8. Ann Russell says:

    I have often wondered in Anne Boleyn could have been Rh negative. In those cases, the first pregnancy results in a health baby, but after that, the mother’s immune system attacks the fetus. This was raised by Alison Weir, in her book ‘The Lady in the Tower,’ I think that was the one. Except I am mad at Alison because she wrote a novel about the young Elizabeth and had her give birth to Thomas Seymour’s baby. Anyway, I know there is also speculation that Henry had some kind of syndrome that could cause problems with babies. The name escapes me at the moment.

    1. Dawn 1st says:

      Yes I’ve often wondered why Anne and Katherine had such bad luck with their pregnancies, I think it will always be a point of discussion and speculation.
      The one you suggested could be the reason, or cervical incompetence, infection in the pelvic cavity, or a defect in the foetus, I don’t think will ever know for sure. Gestational Diabetes is another.

      I have read that chromosome problems are the leading causes of miscarriage, and half of the baby is made up of the fathers chromosomes, so maybe the problem was with Henry. This article also said that with some women who had reoccurring miscarriages it was found that their partners had a high incidence of sperm abnormality.

      We all know Henry had children, so he must have had the odd ‘healthy’ sperm, but we do tend to lean on the side of it being a ‘problem’ with the mother, rather than the father….It makes you think doesn’t it.

      1. christine says:

        Katherine Of Aragon was forever fasting and going on pilgrimages which wouldnt have done much for her health, she was always praying instead of eating properly and resting, this could well have been the reason behind her many miscarriages, in Anne Boleyns case she could have had an underlying medical condition and also suffered from stress, the pressure to bear a healthy son must have been enormous, Henrys bastards were all born to women who didnt have any of these problems, the birth of their children didnt matter therefore its quite reasonable to assume that stress and anxiety was the reason why Henrys unfortunate queens couldnt carry healthy children.

        1. Dawn 1st says:

          You are right Christine what you have said can be easily added to the list of the many reasons why these poor lady’s suffered the loss of their babies…we also have to consider that there could have been a combination of ‘problems’, not just one. I guess we will never really know…

        2. BanditQueen says:

          Katherine did fast and pray, especially in between having children, she and Henry were very devout and made many pilgrimages to Walsingham, as did many other women at this time. Katherine may even have worn a hair shirt under her girdle; but she was not overly pius until much later in the marriage. She did also eat properly most of the time and would have followed closely any of the known advice at the time during her pregnancies. In the first few years Katherine was also fond of dancing and hunting and shared this interest with the King. She had a wonderful delight in being surprised by the King, enjoyed the masques and his dressing up often just to please her and enjoyed the feasts at court. I am not sure that any of her dietry habits had anything to do with her alleged miscarriages as there is no evidence that she did miscarry. She had one stillborn child, then a son who lived for two months, another son who lived for a few days, and two other children who lived a few hours and another still born child. And she had Mary who lived well into middle age. There are stories that doctors told pregnant women to eat all sorts of odd stuff to guarantee a male child but in fact there are not enough details about the pregnancies and her diets during them to confirm is she ate healthily enough or not. Had she fasted during this period it would have contributed to her loss of the child; had she fasted a lot before she was pregnant then that would also have conttibuted, but there is a lack of information on this as well. Certainly Katherine observed religious fasts and she did penance, but did she do any more than was required? Would she have eated normally once with child: I would suggest that she would. Yes, she did pray more often as she became older and more difficult for her to have any children or healthy children, but she was desperate and this has given the impression she was always praying. During the years of the divorce she increase her prayer; but her husband was now neglecting her and had stopped sleeping with her around 1524-26. But by now she could no longer have children anyway. Did she understand this fact? Did she understand her body and the changes at this time? There is much mystery around pregnancy at this time and we do not have enough information to make any real decisions about why some women had more live births than others. There was always a high risk of death of an infant or mother at this time; but for Katherine it was higher than normal. Out of 6 full term or almost full term deliveries she had one healthy child and two who lived a few days or more. But just what killed Prince Henry in 1511? Broncle failure, cot death, infant disease, or viral infection? Again we do not really know. All we know was that both Henry and Katherine were devastated.

          Did Katherine or Henry have a genetic illness that could have contributed? Did she have inherited gynocological ill health? Her parents and siblings had mixed success and failure in their births with daughters being more likely to live than boys and more girls in the family as well. There were not a lot of sons delivered and only a couple lived to full adulthood or to have their own children. So had all of Katherine’s other children been female would they have lived? Was there any real evidence that Katherine was less likely to have a living child than anyone else that Henry married? Again we cannot know for sure without more examination of her and his and other Queens medical history. Jane Seymour for example may have been more lucky or more likely to have a son as she came from a large family of sons and daughters who had lived into adulthood?

          Another question could be did Katherine and Anne for that matter recover sufficiently between pregnancies before conceiving again? If they had any damage internally had it healed? Did they just simply get pregnant too often and too soon? Could they have given themselves a better chance of having a healthy child by taking more time out between attempts to get pregnant? There is in Katherine’s case a gap of two years between Prince Henry and her next child in 1513, but was that a choice or was there a problem with conception? Was she damaged by the brith and a possible miscarriage or still birth that had
          preceded it? A lot of questions but certainly food for thought.

  9. margaret says:

    A bigamous marriage this was ,henry had a wife and queen ,and I have often wondered why anne went through with this sham wedding and what were her thoughts on it since it has been said time and time again that she was very religious ,well if she was she would have known this was wrong and Elizabeth was illegitimate ,mary was not ,henry might have declared that he was never married to Katherine and tried to get out of it ,but he was truly married to Katherine in the eyes of god and mary was born in wedlock .Archbishop cranmer declared henry divorced from Katherine simply because he probably had no choice if he wanted to keep his head.

  10. La Plus Heureuse says:

    Of course Katherine and Henry’s marriage is valid to us nowadays because for the most part we rely on other facts than religious belief. But I think a lot of people forget that these were totally different times back then. It’s a common misconception that Henry used this solely as a loophole to be able to marry Anne, he spent a lot of time considering if his marriage was cursed before she came in the picture, and that was when he wasn’t yet the asshole he turned out to be later, at least not in these proportions. So he the king of England and married with Katherine for what, 24 years? And all they had was one living girl, plenty of miscarriages or stillborns, and there was no way to explain this medically. All they had was religion, so of course Henry turned to that and found the explanation.

    I do not understand why people claim that it was a bigamous marriage. In the end his marriage to Katherine was declared null and void by Cranmer and his marriage to Anne null and void. Whether the grounds where plausible or not does not matter.
    “He was truly married to Katherine in the eyes of god.” I think in this day and age we know that that’s not what marriage is about.

    1. BanditQueen says:

      Thinking of this as a valid or bigamous marriage would have depended on the point of view of where you came from at the time and how you see the canon law that judged and viewed a marriage lawful or not. Marriage for many people even today is still a sacrament and sacred. For others it is not it is a secular matter but even so it is still a contract between two people before witnesses. It still has lawful and legal complications and implications, particularly so 500 years ago. Henry saw himself as free to marry: an important part of entering into a marriage with anyone both back in the day and now: you still have to declare that you are free to marry. In Tudor times, apart from the formal contracts and public marriage of a noble family with another or that between King and Queen; marriage for many ordinary people could and was a promise to see each other as husband and wife, followed by sexual relations. This made things complicated if they then made the same promise to another. A betrothal was more than a mere engagement; it was a formal contract and it had to be desolved with the agreement of both parties. Otherwise, a forgetful husband could find himself being charged by the parents of an abandoned woman with breaking a contract to marry and his new relationship may not be valid. Pre-contracts or contracts when two people had made promises to each other where often cited in nullity suits to get someone out of a marriage. They were also raked up when a third party wanted to declare a marriage unlawful. Classic example is Richard III declared his brother’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville unlawful on the grounds that he believed Edward had married or contracted to marry another woman Eleanor Bulter before hand and so his children where not heirs to the throne. Henry also used the pre-contract argument to attempt to get out of his wedding to Anne of Cleves. Katherine Howard and Francis Dereham regarded each other as husband and wife but Katherine said it was not a contract and they were questioned about this after her colourful past came to light. There are a number of documented cases as it was such an informal way of doing things but quite legal in canon law.

      Now obviously Katherine and Henry were wed with all of the full blessings of the Catholic Church and the trappings that go with it and had formal contracts and dispensations for the marriage and so on. They did not pop down the local chaple and make a private promise; everyone was in no doubt they were married. The doubrs about the marriage started much later on after a series of tragic losses of their children and then developed into a case by Henry in 1524; intensifyng and becoming more public from 1527 onwards. Henry falls in love with Anne around about 1526 and she is willing only to have him as his wife. He and she then work as partners to sue for a divorce and permission to marry from the proper authorities: Rome. The case is heard in England in 1529; but Katherine objects to the divorce and she appeals to Rome. A long delay follows due to political events in Europe and Katherine is a Princess of Spain, Aunt to the Holy Roman Emperor and the Pope does not make a decision. The Curia reviews the case; takes a long time; Henry and Anne get impatient, Henry discovers Anne is pregnant and the wedding above happens in private. There are some sources that say they actually wed in France in October or November. They may have married twice or claimed to have done to ensure the unborn child was legitimate.

      But as you point out Cranmer was to declare the above wedding lawful and the marriage to Katherine not so. However, at the date above this had not happened. The marriage was not declared lawful for another four months. At the time of the wedding to Anne I am afraid to say that Henry was very much still married to Katherine and he knew it which is why this wedding was a secret one. Only a few people knew about it but enough for it to be regarded as having happened and it was reported some time later in official dispatches so it must have quickly become common knowledge. And this is the court: the hotbed of gossip: the twitter of the 16th century. The news went viral. In other words the news quickly arrived in Rome where the Curia had not yet come to a decision. Henry was warned to return to Katherine and the Pope was not pleased.

      It was regarded as a bigamous marriage by the majority of people around the court, Europe and the country. Henry and Anne may not have believed it to be so as Henry believed that his first marriage was not valid, but they were in the minority. Henry may have genuinely seen his first marriage as over and ended, but he had not waited for the decision from Rome. Now he had to do something radical to ensure his marriage to Anne, who was pregnant was lawful and that is where Cranmer came in. He had a meeting with some other important church men and scholars and debated the marriage and found or declared the marriage of Anne and Henry to be valid and that of Katherine and Henry dissolved. The Curia soon after sent a Bull that declared for Katherine in the suit that had gone to Rome that her marriage to Henry was lawful and not invalid. So now it depended on whose side you were on and if you valued your life or not, as to whether or not you accepted Henry and Anne’s marriage as valid. Katherine regarded herself as Queen until she died in 1536. Mary never accepted her parents as being divorced. She had her early Parliament reverse the laws of Henry VIII making her mother’s marriage unlawful.

      Henry’s Parliament now enacted laws to declare that the only valid marriage was that of Anne and Henry and that the only lawful heirs were those of Anne and Henry. It became treason to declare, write, think, speak anything that was otherwise. If you valued your life you accepted the marriage as valid; if you did not then you went to the block; simple as that. The marriage was lawful by English law, but not in the eyes of the Catholic Church; which means most of the rest of Europe and the world.

      Today, on balance, although valid arguments can be made either way; most scholars and people accept that Henry was lawfully married to Katherine of Aragon and somehow also to Anne Boleyn. The marriage at the time it was made was bigamous simply because Henry had a wife still living. That is still the same today. If someone is not divorced or a widow and free to marry; then they get married to another person; it is bigamy. Our laws do not recognise bigamous marriage. Cursed or not; it really made no difference; Henry had not been divorced from Katherine at the time her wed Anne Boleyn and we really cannot use the trendy secular judgements of today to look at a marriage that was subject to canon law and to 16th century authorities. Many people still see marriage as being made in the eyes of God and that should be respected. Even those who do not have a religious view of marriage see it as being an important and binding promise between two people and take the contract and the obligations of their marriage seriously. They do not go and get married to another person usually before their former marriage has been legally ended..

      One final thought on Cranmer: many would have viewed him as having no authority to end the marriage of Katherine and Henry. Henry did go Holy See to have his appointment confirmed by the Pope but that does not mean that he had any authority to decide on this matter. Once the case had gone to the Curia in Rome it could be argued they alone could make the decision. That decision was made in May 1533 in Katherine’s favour. Depending on your point of view: just which decision was indeed the right one? That depends on many things; your support for Anne or Katherine, your support for Henry, your religious and world view, or your understanding of the law. Even today it divides people trying to make sense of it all: in 16th century England it was a confusing mess and a decision that could cost you your life.

      Personally I do not believe Cranmer had any authority to make this decision and it should only have been made by Rome.

      1. Dawn 1st says:

        Can I ask B.Q. what your opinion is on the politics of Rome at this time, because the Pope had been captured and Rome sacked some years before, and was fearful of reoccurrence of this happening again by Katherine’s nephew.
        Do you think the Pope held back an annulment of this marriage for fear of offending the Emperor, therefore risking another massacre, or if this threat was not there Henry could/would have got his annulment to stop the loss of revenue to the Vatican, perhaps hold back the spread of the New Religion and keep England on side in times of impending wars.
        I like to think to think the Pope’s decision was based on the Church teachings of that time, but as we see all through history money and fear speaks volumes, and over rides any fair decisions. And please do not see this comment as an argument, it is a genuine question…

        1. BanditQueen says:

          Can I get back to you on that question, Dawn 1st; need to give it some thought.

        2. BanditQueen says:

          Hello, Dawn 1st, apologies for delay in getting back to you; have not been so well lately.

          I agree with your brief but very good observations on the situation in Europe and it is clear that this may have influenced Clement’s decisions and actions. First reaction of course is the shere horror at the terrible events in Rome in 1527 and the sacking of the city and tortore and murder of its citizens. No town or city should go through that horror no matter what the soldiers believed as their motivation. Taking goods as you have not been paid is one thing: raping and murdering people is not something that can ever be justified even in the minds of the mercanaries of Charles V, who even more horrifying claimed he did not know what his men were up to until he arrived in the city.

          Clement must have been afraid and horrified and he would have done anything to avoid another terrible massacre and the city was in constant fear of a repeat of 1527. Clement and his bishops and Cardinals had of course escaped and were besieged in the Castelo San Angelo the fortress of the Pope and his last stand was made here. The people of Rome blamed Clement for the horrors of the night and that he did nothing to prevent it. What could he have done? Rome has never been a city that is very well defended save under the Roman Empire or course and apart from surrender and appeal for calm; to be fair, there is most likely little he could have done to stop the killing or the sacking of the city. He could have tried, rather than hiding in the Castelo, but this we know with hindsight and he may have had no choice but to leave at that time. He did come to an agreement with Charles, but not before many thousands had been killed or injured and after several weeks of seige and prisonment in the fortress.

          The delays and the decision in the case can be looked at in many different ways: I do not want to be here for weeks so I will be brief here. In 1529 when the case was moved to England the French had been thrown out of Italy a week before the hearing and Charles was in command. Once before a French King had threatened Italy and Rome and that was in living memory for some as well. On that occassion cities had surrendered rather that be destroyed and Rome had been abandoned. Alexander had made promises to Charles VIII to support his claim to Naples in order to save the city. Charles V was a true son of the Church but he was also a commander and a mititary man; he could easily use those troops that now occupied the penisula to destroy Rome and the lands around her; he had allies and he had personal reasons: the honour of his aunt for one thing.

          When Clement was allowed to escape and made his way to the hills he was not in a good place to use any fascilites to decide the case of the divorce. He was stuck here for some months and could only received Gardiner and Fox; he could make no decision for them. With the case moved to England it seemed as if it was in a better place to be decided as Wolsey as Cardinal Protector of England and a legate had some power to make a decision on the issue. But Clement was in a dangerous and difficult situation: the armies of the Emperor were never far away as he put it in the Tudors; and Katherine of Aragon was the daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand; their Catholic Majesties and the aunt of the man who led those armies, Charles V of Spain, Holy Roman Emperor.

          I agree that the fears you have mentioned may have influenced the actions and the delays that followed. Campeggio may have come to England with the intention of also hearing the case but it is also the case that in the late Summer he received secret orders from the Pope not to make a decision in the trial. I believe that Clement wanted to delay the issue as long as possible and to hope that he could decide in Katherine’s favour at the right time without offending Henry.

          Once the case was ajourned to Rome and Katherine made her appeal to the Curia and Rota, to have the case heard there; there was now the possiblity that he could take control and hope that Henry would give up. There were many delays over the next few years; not all on the part of the Pope or Katherine some on the part of Henry making his case to have it moved to either a neutral city or back to England. This is looked at by Christine Fletcher in her book on the inside story of the hearing in Rome Our Man In Rome published a couple of years ago. The case in Rome actually did not open until 1532 and by this time Henry had given up and had made a decision to push the divorce through himself. He had called the Reformation Parliament, turned on the clergy, and was in the process of having himself declared head of the Church, although not legally until 1534.

          The canonical arguments could both be seen in the context of Jewish and Christian teaching but could both be interpreted to match either Katherine or Henry’s case. Henry used the Leviticus argument about marriage to his brother’s wife and remaining childless, but this did not match his case: he was not childless and some people could argue that it refers to a living wife and not a widow. Canon Law had made declarations both in favour and against the marriage of brother in law and sister in law, dating back to the 7th century; it was not always clear. Katherine relied on the Levirite marriage in Deutamronomy that stated that if brothers lived together and one died then the other had to marry the widow and bring her under his protection. This was to protect both her rights and his inheritance. If he refused then her had to formally release her. The Church supported this and in the case of Katherine and Henry it was this that Clement supported. The case of Katherine and Henry do not actually suit this verse totally as it was obligation that the brother made the first child not his but that of his brother and it was his brothers heir. In the case of Henry and Katherine they did not have a son but a daughter, although under Jewish Law a girl can inherit if they have no brothers. But of course the Church was more flexible in these cases and had to interpret scripture in the light of Christian teaching. Thus the verse was explained by Fisher to completely support Katherine’s case. Henry and Katherine were both sincere in the case they put, but they were also obstinate and no compromise was found or possible. Clemment was stuck in the middle and in a very difficult situation: Henry was a faithful defender of the Church against Luther and Katherine was a devout Catholic, a daughter of two champions of the Catholic Church, but he was also always in the fear that Charles may turn on him again and for him the best thing to do was to allow the delays to happen.

          In the end the decision that he did make in favour of Katherine was in light of the Curia;s debate and teaching, and it was taken out of his hands by Henry’s own actions. Once Henry married Anne and proceeded without waiting in effect the case in Rome was at an end. But a final decision had to be made, and with things going from bad to worse in England; on March 23rd 1534 the Curia made a decision and Clement made his bull in favour of Katherine. That things had taken on a life of their own in England, however, made this a moot point in the King’s eyes as he and Anne were married, Archbishop Cranmer had declared the marriage of Anne and Henry lawful and Henry free to marry her if he chose. The rest as they say is history. Yes, I believe Clement made the correct canonical decision in the light of Church teaching but I also believe his delays and tactics were very much influenced by the political changes in Europe and the military threat that was never far from his front door. And sadly, for Katherine it was all for nothing: she may have the satisfation of the treasured bull that vindicated her argument; but by now she was set aside and the poor lady a virtual prisoner in a foreign land of the husband she adored until her death.

          Do I think he wanted to keep Henry on side during the wars in Europe? The Holy League formed back in his early years as King may have been dissolved by now but Henry was still seen as a balancer in Europe and it was never wise to slight a growing sea power; faithful to the faith or not. I think that the Pope was trying to gain or maintain a balance of power or some sort of peace in Europe and while Francis and Charles were fighting each other they were less than a threat to Rome. When that stopped; they could trun on Rome or England; the divorce from Katherine made the latter more likely; and the Papacy remember excommunicated Henry and England making it tempting for the Catholic powers to unite and invade. However, I am sure that your point about holding back the spread of Lutherism and other new beliefs at this time, would certainly have played apart in the thinking as well.

          Hope that answers your very interesting questions. Another good book is Henry VIII and Clement VII; written in the 1970’s but still a very good overview of the arguments and strained relationship of the time.

        3. BanditQueen says:

          Hi again Dawn, just to add that the book was published in 1936: I got it in the 1970s; sorry for mix up. Williams suggests also that Henry had other options, but once he had made up his mind on the cursed marriage argument in Leviticus he was not going to be moved from it. He could have suggested for example that Pope Julius had issued the wrong type of dispensation or the wording was not complete, but did not do so. An issue called Public Honesty was also raised where the assumption of consumation and agreement to the marriage of Arthur and Katherine was made on the basis that they were married publically at least three times. It would have been outrageous therefore in the face of public honesty to say anything else about it being a true marriage and that Henry and Katherine would have caused the public to be angry had they made this knowledge public. Or at least I think that is what was meant by public honesty: could not actually get my brain around that argument.

          But in any event the legal argument was used and to Henry’s shame he also used a similar argument with ending his current marriage to Anne. Even though the poor lady was afraid and in dread as she had been condemned to die; Henry not content with her death went further, sending Cranmer who had been specially brought in to declare their marriage lawful and look at the divorce from Katherine, and who favoured and honoured Anne as a patron of the new religion and good works; to go to her in her rooms in the Tower and agree to have this second marriage also declared null and void. Henry could not use the same arguments as with Katherine but he did use the argument of consangnity that is being within forbidden bounds as he had a sexual relationship with another close relative of Anne’s. Having failed to get the Duke of Northumberladn to agree that he was contracted to Anne in marriage, a rather desperate Henry looked for another dirty trick to play, this time that he had sex with Anne’s sister and so should not have married Anne without a dispensation.

          Ironically he had sought such a dispensation from the Pope through Dr Knight and failed. But now with Anne afraid for her life, in her last days, mourning her brother and friends, I think what Henry did was far worse than his arguments for a divorce from Katherine. That had been for genuine conscience reasons; this was selfish. Henry would have been free to marry anyone he chose once Anne had been executed, but he had to go further. May-be this is also linked to his plot to kill Anne in the first place: a man with a living wife, even though divorced cannot marry anyone else while she is still alive unless they are released by holy writ to do so. The same was true in Jewish times: a man needed what is called a get or a special document to free them from the partner and to declare them in writing free to marry. But with a decease partner Henry was a widow and so free. But he wanted more: he wanted his marriage to Anne as if it had never happened. He also wanted to make sure there was no conflict for the throne: the children with Jane Seymour were to have no legal challenges: so poor little Elizabeth had to be declared a bastard and that could only be done with Anne’s marriage also null and void. Cranmer must have felt sick at his task in the Tower that day. Some confusion surrounds this but it is believed that on a day or two before Anne’s execution he went to the Tower and got her to sign a document to say that the marriage was void. Why would Anne agree?

          Sadly, I believe that Anne was so upset and afraid and unsure of what she was doing or thinking, sleep deprived and worried about her daughter that she would agree to anything. May-be she believed she would be spared her life if she agreed. Was she promised her life?

          Some historians have suggested this was the case and Anne on 18th May believed the delays in her execution meant that Henry was testing her and she would be sent to a nunnery, which also would have ended her marriage. Entrance to holy orders was a way a marriage could be dissolved and also women and men found guilty of some crimes were sent to them to do penance rather than face prison or execution. Did Anne fear for the daughter that she left behind, not yet three years old, that she may be in danger and was she promised that Henry would look after her if Anne signed this henious document? Whatever the reason, Henry’s misuse of this legal protection that was meant to protect couples from being disowned too easily. Henry was taking things to the extreme, when you think that he went to such lenghts to marry Anne in the first place. Just how could he discard her after three years, when they were so passionate for so long before they were married and how did a marriage that started off with so much hope for the future, go so tragically wrong?

        4. Dawn 1st says:

          Many thanks Bandit Queen for taking the time to put together your answer, I appreciate it. I always find the theories on the legality of the annulment put forward, either for or against, are with good reasoning.

          This annulment was a very complex matter, to my mind this wasn’t just the separating of two people it was the separating of two countries too, who were ‘big players’ in Europe. What could have been seen as a ‘simple’ (for want of a better word), church matter concerning a marriage, became a huge concern politically, because of who the annulment involved, and that in turn brings about all the machinations and tactics that come with the politics.

          Another important point as I see it anyway, is that there was no one who was impartial or neutral to judge in this matter, all those involved had their own agenda and good reasons, and each wanted a outcome that suited them and their positions.

          I have always considered the Religious Houses through history, the Convents and Monasteries the ‘Welfare State’ of the time, providing physical and spiritual care and comfort for the ordinary people, without these dedicated men and women the populace would have been much more impoverished. But it appears to me the further up the hierarchy a Church man rose, the more political his position became, his religious vocation taking 2nd place at times, as with Wolsey. The bible having two conflicting writings was a large argument in itself, but the political position of the Pope/Rome at that time would have had, to my mind, a greater influence on the decision made. I do think that the thought of upsetting the Emperor was more terrifying than any threat the King of England could shout out. Then what about Anne..she was of the ‘New Learning’, another good reason to withhold an annulment, if she had been a devote catholic as Katherine, would the outcome have been different?

          As for Henry, I do feel his concerns over his marriage were genuine and reasonable to him, and if we take Anne out of the equation for a minute, there possibly were other reasons why Henry began to have doubts, and fears. Not leaving a male heir, for one, was not an ideal situation. A female ruler was less than acceptable in these times, if not abhorrent to all men…a high probability of plunging England into civil war again.
          I may have crossed wires here, but was there not a precedent by an earlier Pope/Curia some centuries before who annulled a French King’s marriage because of the lack of a male heir, (there were daughters) freeing him to take a new wife ‘for the sake of the country’….Henry did become extremely frustrated at the lengthy amount of time this was taking, quite a natural reaction really, as Rome continually seemed to drag its feet in it’s decision..from this stemmed the bloody-mindedness of getting what he wanted at all cost.

          The whole thing became a massive tangled web of European politics, Religion, egos, battle of wills and brutal behaviour. I don’t think anyone in England came out of it unscathed, from Henry down to the lowest subject when we consider the aftermath of ‘King’s Great Matter’. Henry’s triumph turned out to be short lived and bitter-sweet. There were no winners as such, but so many losers…

          Though we may hold different views, as I tend to be in agreement with La Plus Heureuse, but I most likely see it too simplistically, but once again many thanks for you replies B.Q., and for the book recommendation.

        5. BanditQueen says:

          Thank you, Dawn 1st for your excellent overview of the situation and your comments; glad I could be of help. I completely agree with you; the issue was certainly complex and as you see, has given me a lot of thought. I do not think I have ever seen so much written about any other issue in our history as this one; I did a thesis on this in college and the amount of stuff I found written was startling. I agree on the point about there being no-one that we would recognise certainly as a neutral judge in these matters; partly because a secular issue like divorce was also a religious matter and the church courts were the ones that made the decisions on these issues: of course we have seperate divorce courts, but even in Victorian times; you needed an Act of Parliament before the first proper divorce acts later in the century. And with Kings and Queens of powerful nations of course you need the higher church authorities; and as you say the higher clergy and powers all had agenda’s. One power was bound to think Henry was right, the other to fear to offend Spain or France. Well they have the armies after all. Without a more secular look on divorce or a strictly theological one rather than one based on canon law; the issue could not be resolved without some consequences. Yes, Henry had grounds to be optimistic in 1527 as the Pope had sorted out the marriage complexes of the Duke of Suffolk and granted his sister a divorce; but none of them were married to a Princess of Spain.

          I also agree; Henry had genuine fears about his marriage and his reasons were sincere. He needed a male heir. It is hard for us to imagine what it was for him to be afraid off as we are used to women ruling and having power, but it was a rare thing in the 16th century; and when an earlier Queen had tried to rule: Matilda, the anarchy had followed. There were Queens in England in Saxon times, and in smaller states in Europe, and Isabella was Queen in her own right, but she too had to fight off a rival half brother. I think that Henry was just doing as he believed to be the best thing for a safe England and peace: the Tudor dynasty had taken the crown and was still young. He had rivals and his brother in law, Suffolk had a son by his sister Mary; plus there were other candidates at the time he approached Rome. I think even Wolsey believed Henry wanted to marry someone other than Anne at this time; he was looking at French Princesses. It was a sad state of affairs. A better system of legal and theological justice may have settled it earlier and with much of the suffering for all parties avoided.

          Thanks again for replying. Cheers.


      2. La Plus Heureuse says:

        See, I disagree. Even though I’m catholic, I don’t think Rome should have the right to make any decision over this. A king was supposed to have God give him the right to rule alone and that his authority couldn’t be questioned because he ruled in God’s name, it was what was believed in that time and date, so why should the pope be the exception? The pope is seen as representative of God or Christ, yes, but why does that make him superior to a king who was to rule directly from the will of God and who could only be judged by God, not by a representative of God, but only God himself?

        1. BanditQueen says:

          The case was in the hands of the Pope because of the right of Katherine to take the appeal to Rome as the ultimate arbitary in canon law as was the custom at this time. The Curia could debate both arguments and make a decision. It was not the Pope who made the decision: it was the Curia; and the Pope issued the Bull stating the decision. At this time; although in many decisions, the Church in each country had a certain degree of autonomy; rulers were deemed to be subject to the laws of God and the Church and Rome could be asked to intervene to prevent Princes and Kings from doing the wrong thing.

  11. Patty Gibson says:

    What happened to all the different jewerly for these periods for sale at. The only one that comes up is Anne Boleyn’s inital necklace there were peices from each character in the series the Tudors of the women for sale are they all sold out or am I looking into the wrong area?

  12. Patty Gibson says:

    did all my coment dissapear Where is all the jewelery pieces that were offered for sale in Dec.? Are they all sold or am I on the wrong site?

    1. Claire says:

      Your comments are both here. We don’t sell replicas of “The Tudors” jewelry any more, we stopped selling them at the beginning of the month. I have emailed you.
      Best Wishes,

      1. Cyndee Reynolds says:

        No more replica jewelry? Can you tell us why? And what about orders that haven’t been received?
        Thank you,

        1. Claire says:

          Daniela has stopped working with us so I’ve removed her jewellery from the site. Any orders that came in before then have been processed, made and dispatched, and I’m obviously happy to handle any problems. I don’t have an order in your name though.

  13. Cyndee Reynolds says:

    Thank you Claire. No I didn’t order but my daughter did for Mothers Day gifts. I will check with her. Thank you so much for your reply.
    Warm Regards,

    1. Claire says:

      Hi Cyndee,
      If she emails me at claire@theanneboleynfiles.com I can check her order.
      Best Wishes,

  14. Cyndee Reynolds says:

    Hi Claire,
    I will pass the information on to her. She is out of town until Wednesday but I will make sure she gets it. Thanks again.
    Warm Regards,

    1. Claire says:

      Hi Cyndee,
      What’s her name?

  15. Cyndee Reynolds says:

    Hi Claire,
    My daughters name is Rebecca same last name as I. However I do believe she and her friend were going to place and order together and it’s probably in her name. I don’t remember her last name. My daughter will be home tomorrow so I will ask her .
    Thanks again.
    Warm Regards,

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