The King’s Great Matter



Henry’s religious beliefs

  • Henry and Catherine of Aragon were firm believers in Humanism

  • Recognised that Pope had authority over his marriage

Concerns over succession

  • Needed an heir to secure Tudor bloodline to the throne

  • Catherine was reaching age of menopause (42)

  • Had number of miscarriages and still-borns

  • Male surviving heir - died 7 weeks later

  • Surviving daughter, Mary (1516)

  • 1524 - Henry stopped marital relations with Catherine

  • Female monarch still a taboo subject - last time (Matilda) lead to civil unrest

  • Chapuys - Spanish ambassador

  • Report to Charles V (Holy Roman Emperor/King of Spain) - Henry had gathered support to declare his marriage null and void

  • Henry claimed marriage invalid - brother’s widow

  • Leviticus - if you marry bro’s widow, you shall be childless

  • Deuteronomy - if brother dies, you must take his widow as your wife

  • Henry used Deuteronomy to MARRY Cath; using Leviticus to DIVORCE Cath

The case for divorce

  • Failed to produce heir and needed to produce a legitimate son

  • Catherine claimed her marriage with Arthur was not consummated - Henry marriage is


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