Pope Clement VII Forbids Henry VIII to Remarry – 5 January 1531

Posted By on January 5, 2012

Pope ClementOn this day in history, 5th January 1531, Pope Clement VII wrote to Henry VIII forbidding him to remarry and threatening him with excommunication of he took matters into his own hands and disobeyed Rome:-

“At the request of the Queen, forbids Henry to remarry until the decision of the case, and declares that if he does all issue will be illegitimate. Forbids any one in England, of ecclesiastical or secular dignity, universities, parliaments, courts of law, &c., to make any decision in an affair the judgment of which is reserved for the Holy See. The whole under pain of excommunication. As Henry would not receive a former citation, this is to be affixed to the church gates of Bruges, Tournay, and other towns in the Low Countries, which will be sufficient promulgation. Rome, 5 Jan. 1531. (LP v.27)

See my article “A Timeline of Anne Boleyn’s Relationship with Henry VIII – From 1528-1533” for more information on Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII’s relationship and how Henry VIII did go about annulling his marriage to Catherine of Aragon and marrying Anne.

You can read more correspondence between the Pope and the King in Letters and Papers Volume 5 January 1531 – click here – particularly documents 30 and 31.

4 thoughts on “Pope Clement VII Forbids Henry VIII to Remarry – 5 January 1531”

  1. miladyblue says:

    A less stubborn individual than Henry VIII would have given up at this point, I think, especially given Henry’s devotioin to his faith.

    It probably helped Katharine at this point in time that her nephew – the most powerful man in Europe, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who was also King Charles I of Spain – literally had the Pope under the gun.

    What I am curious about in this case was, Charles was able to stop the annullment attempt – through the regular Church process – in its tracks. Was this because he did not want the stain on family honor, or was he doing this out of real affection for Katharine, whom he did meet when he visited England in the mid 1520s?

  2. Baroness Von Reis says:

    So much for what the Pope has to say,I don;t think the King could have cared less,he was going to marry Anne come hell or high water no matter what.

  3. Fiz says:

    I think it is safe to say that Charles V had little if no affection for Catherine. I believe that he ignored every appeal she made and was a very cold fish in all his relationships.

  4. Dawn 1st says:

    It does seem that Katherine’s pleas to her nephew fell on deaf ears most of the time, the only help he seems to have done for her was when he took the pope as prisoner and Henry’s envoy could not get to see him, therefore delaying a decision, and after the pope escaped back to Rome maybe he didn’t want to upset Charles again by judging on Henry’s side. I think the Emperor had a lot of major policital problems of his own at that time so a ‘domestic’ wouldn’t have been high on his priority list.
    Am I right in thinking this Pope had an iillegitamate son of his own, called Alessandro.
    Do you think that the English court would have known this, especially Henry and Katherine, as they were asking this man to make a religious moral discission on the legality of their marriage, which is kind of hypocritical in the circumstances. But I suppose this was the typical double standards of these times used by the men with power, Do as I say, not as I do…

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