June 12 – Catherine of Aragon accuses Henry VIII of being a bad example!

Posted By on June 12, 2022

On this day in Tudor history, 12th June 1530, twenty-one years and a day after they got married, Queen Catherine of Aragon got rather angry with her husband, King Henry VIII.

Catherine accused the king of leading an evil life and setting a bad example.

What led to these accusations?

What had Henry VIII done to upset Catherine?

Find out in the video or transcript below.

By the way, you can enjoy a quiz on Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon today on the Tudor Society – click here.


In yesterday’s video, I talked about the marriage of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, which took place on 11th June 1509. Today, I’m fast-forwarding 21 years to Sunday 12th June 1530, when the king got a good telling off from Catherine.

By this time, Henry was involved with Catherine’s former maid of honour, Anne Boleyn, and was trying desperately to get his marriage to Catherine annulled. Although Henry was continuing to treat Catherine with respect and appearing with her in public as man and wife, king and queen, Anne was rising in prominence and was a real threat to Catherine. Six months earlier, Chapuys had described “a grand fête in this city, to which several ladies of the Court were invited” and how Anne Boleyn took precedence over all the other ladies, who included “queen Blanche and the two duchesses of Norfolk, the dowager and the young one)”, and that she sat by the King “occupying the very place allotted to a crowned queen”. Chapuys went on to report:
“After dinner there was dancing and carousing, so that it seemed as if nothing were wanting but the priest to give away the nuptial ring and pronounce the blessing. All the time, and whilst the carousal was going on, poor queen Katharine was seven miles away from this place holding her own fête of sorrow and weeping.”

So what exactly did Catherine say to her husband on this day in 1530? Well, according to Eustace Chapuys, the imperial ambassador, Catherine exhorted her husband “to be again to her a good prince and husband, and to quit the evil life he was leading and the bad example he was setting.”
Catherine went on to tell him that even if he did not respect her, “his true and lawful wife”, that “he should at least respect God and his conscience”, and that he should not ignore the brief issued by the Pope. Catherine had applied to the Pope for this brief “for to the effect that nobody shall, under pain of excommunication, judge, allege, counsel, procure, solicit, or otherwise speak “á complacentia o gratia,” of this matter of the dissolution of matrimony between the King and Queen, unless it be as God and his conscience may dictate.”

Unfortunately, Catherine’s words had no effect on the king. Henry argued that the pope’s brief, which was urging the king to practise restraint, “was of very little consequence” and that there were plenty of people who were on his side. The king then “left the room abruptly without saying another word.”
Poor poor Catherine.

Also on this day in history:

  • 1540 . An imprisoned Thomas Cromwell wrote to King Henry VIII regarding his “most miserable state”, asking for mercy, and pleading his innocence.
  • 1567 – The death of lawyer Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich. A not-so-nice Tudor chap!

Find out more about these “on this day” events here.

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