The King's Great Matter 1529-1535

Mindmap on the divorce between Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon

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  • The King's Great Matter
    • Reasons for Annulment
      • Henry had no son, only Mary (1516)
      • Feared Mary might not be accepted as Sovereign
      • Believed that his lack of Son was a punishment from God because he had married his brother's wife
      • Leviticus
      • Henry believed that the Popes did not have the power to allow a marriage such as his to his own sister in law, therefore he hadn't been married in the eyes of God
      • Henry was attracted to Anne Boleyn, he wanted to marry her and produce a male heir
    • Why was Henry's case for annulment so weak?
      • Deutronomy claimed that a man could marry his brother's wife, if he died
      • It was clear that Leviticus was talking about a brother that was still alive
      • Leviticus said that Henry would be childless, but Henry had Mary in 1516
      • Catherine claimed that her marriage with Arthur had not been consummated, therefore it wasn't a true marriage
      • Pope Julius had granted a special 'dispensation' in order for Henry to marry Catherine in 1509. No pope would accept Henry's argument that he had exceeded his powers in doing this
    • Why did Henry encounter opposition to the divorce?
      • Henry faced serious opposition from Catherine. If she agreed to the divorce it would make Mary a bastard and mean that Catherine had lived as Henry's mistress all this time
      • Catherine has highly regarded at court and throughout the country
      • Anne wasn't popular at court as she was part of one faction, vying for power and influence with the King
      • Anne Boleyn made it seem like Henry wanted to replace Catherine with a younger, more attractive wife
      • Catherine refused a papally inspired compromise whereby she would go into a nunnery, thereby dissolving her marriage and allowing Henry to remarry
      • Charles V was Catherine's nephew and was the most powerful man in Europe. In 1527 he captured Rome, making Pope Clement VII his prisoner
    • How did Wolsey handle the divorce?
      • He used all his skills as a diplomat and statesman to achieve an annulment
      • He hoped to be made 'acting Pope' while Pope Clement was captive so that he could decide in the King's favour. The Pope refused
      • He persuaded Cardinal Campeggio to put the nunnery plan in place, but Catherine refused
      • Got the pope to agree to a special court held at Blackfriars in London in 1529
        • Ploy by Pope Clement playing for time. Before a verdict could be reached, the case was revoked to Rome
      • After the failure of Blackfriars and the success of Charles V in Italy, Henry sacked Wolsey
  • Why did Henry encounter opposition to the divorce?
    • Henry faced serious opposition from Catherine. If she agreed to the divorce it would make Mary a bastard and mean that Catherine had lived as Henry's mistress all this time
    • Catherine has highly regarded at court and throughout the country
    • Anne wasn't popular at court as she was part of one faction, vying for power and influence with the King
    • Anne Boleyn made it seem like Henry wanted to replace Catherine with a younger, more attractive wife
    • Catherine refused a papally inspired compromise whereby she would go into a nunnery, thereby dissolving her marriage and allowing Henry to remarry
    • Charles V was Catherine's nephew and was the most powerful man in Europe. In 1527 he captured Rome, making Pope Clement VII his prisoner

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