The King's Great Matter 1527-32

HideShow resource information

Why did Henry seek an annulment?

By 1527, Henry was convinced his marriage to Catherine was invalid before God thus unlawful
Catherine had been previously married to Henry's brother, however he died shortly after marriage
Leaving doubts as to whether they had consummated the marriage
Catherine went to marry Henry to continue the Anglo-Spanish alliance
Catherine was pregnant several times but only bore him one child a girl named Mary
Thus causing the situation of the King's great matter and ensuring the break with Rome all to free himself from Catherine
Henry had no reason to believe the Papacy would not approve his proposal
He believed that his marriage the Catherine contravened divine law, basing his case on scripture
Verses in Leviticus that prohibit marriage to one's brothers wife

1 of 4

Why did Henry seek an annulment? 2

He heard that translations varied- some saying you will have no children others saying you will have no sons
The King had no sons, and felt this was God's displeasure of his unlawful marriage, yet validity was uncertain
Conflicting bible passages existed in Deuteronomy contradicting Henry's argument
Henry argued thst Deuteronomy was a judaic custom, thus did not apply to christians
This was highly debatable and weak in canon law
Also difficulties with Leviticus as Catherine argued she was a virgin when she came to Henry as had not consummated her marriage with Arthur
Henry had to prove otherwise, thus proving cosanguinity so Leviticus would stand

2 of 4

Was Henry motivated by lust or pragmatism?

What motivated Henry to end his 18 year marriage
Little doubt he fell madly in love with Anne during 1525-7
Henry employed Wolsey to break up her love affair with Henry Percy
Anne's sister had been one of Henry's former mistresses, Anne did not want to follow in her footsteps
Henry had grown tired of Catherine, 6 years his senior, now 40, she did not compare to Anne
Numerous love letters were sent between Anne and Henry, with her being his prise if he secured the annulment
His love for Anne was not the only reason, he also had a large ego, convinced that his marriage was unlawful and illegal he wanted to get rid of it

3 of 4

What Motivated Henry? 2

Catherine had only been able to produce one child, a girl and she was unlikely to produce another let alone a son

The future stability of the tudor dynesty rested on the succession of a legitimate son and heir

He knew Catherine was the problem as he had an illegitmate son called Henry Fitzroy through a illicit relationship with Elizabeth Blout

God must be displeased with his marriage with Catherine

The papacy had granted previous annulments

4 of 4


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all British monarchy - Tudors and Stuarts resources »