The King's Great Matter

Topics: Pope Julius II, Pope Leo X, Henry VIII of England Pages: 6 (2424 words) Published: January 18, 2011
The Spanish-English marriage alliance of Catherine of Aragon and Prince Arthur was arranged when the children were very young. Catherine traveled to England only to face tragedy when her young husband, Arthur died in 1502.Henry VII wanted to marry Catherine to his younger son, who would be, Henry VIII so that he did not lose the dowry money from Catherine's parents and to secure some other agreements between the two countries. In the Catholic Church, it was forbidden to marry the wife of a deceased brother. A papal dispensation was required for the marriage. It was easily obtained from Pope Julius II. Henry VII died before the marriage took place but Henry VIII immediately married Catherine once he became King. Many people involved questioned the validity of this dispensation. Catherine's mother, Isabella did not like the idea of her daughter being remarried and requiring a document from the Pope to have it done. But, once Henry VII died and Henry VIII proceeded with the marriage, no one mentioned the dispensation or the validity of it until Henry decided that he needed a grounds for divorce. Under the circumstances of Henry not wanting to be with his wife anymore, he proposed many doctrines that had been insignificant until then. Henry and Catherine actually had a fairly good marriage. The biggest problem in the marriage was lack of ability to produce a male heir. This was very important to Henry. They tried several times but were not successful. The couple did have one child that lived but, it was a girl named Mary. After many miscarriages and years of disappointment, Catherine began to get much older and lose much of her attractiveness. Henry not only began to lose interest in his wife, but he also began to worry about not having a son to succeed him on the throne. This was when the King's great matter began. Throughout this time period, Cardinal Wolsey, an advisor to Henry and very powerful in the Catholic Church, moved closer and closer to Henry. As the relationship progressed Henry became more distant to Catherine. Wolsey spied on Catherine and she thought he acted against her always. She began to believe that Wolsey had always hated her and possibly that she had always hated him also. She held him responsible for the promotion of Henry's bastard son, for tempting the King of France to break the word agreed at Madrid and plunging Europe into war, for ruining the alliance between the two countries, and for seducing the pope and the Italian states. She also held Wolsey responsible for Henry's irritability. It isn't surprising that Catherine also blamed Wolsey for Henry wanting to divorce her. But, Catherine was not the only one with this idea. The ambassador, the emperor, Reginald Pole, Catholic controversialists, and Catholic writers ever since have agreed that Wolsey was probably the instigator. Catherine's thought that Wolsey had put the ideas of divorce into Henry's head was very reasonable. She believed that Wolsey thought this was the best way to safeguard his pro-French policy by removing Catherine and replacing her with a French princess. Wolsey was serious about his French alliance and did hope to arrange a French marriage. He also feared Catherine. He knew that he needed to get rid of her so that he get closer to the king and help him handle his affairs. Most of the time, Cardinal Wolsey was looking out to better himself and his policies. Catherine was wrong about a few things though. She did not blame Henry for any of this. She felt he had been manipulated and took up for him every chance she had. She was wrong about Henry. He was not the innocent person she thought he was. Protestant writers have told the story according to Henry, that his conscience had separated him from Catherine. But, still many have said that it was simply out of desire for another woman. Henry's want for a divorce from Catherine of Aragon has also been attributed to his health. During the years 1527 -28, it was obvious that his health...
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