The Divorce of Henry VIII: The Untold Story from Inside the Vatican by Catherine FletcherIn 1533 the English monarch Henry VIII decided to divorce his wife of twenty years Catherine of Aragon in pursuit of a male heir to ensure the Tudor line. He was also head over heels in love with his wifes lady in waiting Anne Boleyn, the future mother of Elizabeth I. But getting his freedom involved a terrific web of intrigue through the enshrined halls of the Vatican that resulted in a religious schism and the formation of the Church of England. Henrys man in Rome was a wily Italian diplomat named Gregorio Casali who drew no limits on skullduggery including kidnapping, bribery and theft to make his king a free man. In this absorbing narrative, winner of the Rome Fellowship prize and University of Durham historian Catherine Fletcher draws on hundreds of previously-unknown Italian archive documents to tell the colorful tale from the inside story inside the Vatican.
When Catherine was three years old, it was decided that she would marry Arthur, Prince of Wales. Catherine and Arthur were married on 14 November Months later, Catherine and Arthur became ill, possibly from a sickness which was sweeping the area at the time. Prince Arthur died on 2 April , leaving after Catherine a widow at the age of She was extremely popular with the people of England. Despite Catherine's popularity, she did not produce a surviving son. Her only surviving child was a daughter, Mary I of England.
So what changed? Though early signs of anticlericalism had surfaced in England by the s, Catholicism still enjoyed widespread popular support. Andrews U. And he had no wish also, because he was personally rather pious. But by , Henry had a big problem: His first marriage, to Catherine of Aragon, had failed to produce a son and male heir to the throne. In June , the heavily pregnant Anne Boleyn was crowned queen of England in a lavish ceremony. Anne Boleyn, of course, would fail to produce the desired son although she gave birth to a daughter who would become Elizabeth I , and by , Henry had fallen for another lady-in-waiting, Jane Seymour.
Was Henry VIII the Worst Monarch of All Time?
Henry VIII and his divorce from Catherine of Aragon
They married in , but Arthur died five months later. She held the position of ambassador of the Aragonese Crown to England in , the first female ambassador in European history. During that time the English won the Battle of Flodden , an event in which Catherine played an important part with an emotional speech about English courage. He sought to have their marriage annulled , setting in motion a chain of events that led to England's schism with the Catholic Church. In their marriage was consequently declared invalid and Henry married Anne on the judgement of clergy in England, without reference to the Pope.
Catherine refused to annul her marriage so that Henry could marry again, which led to the separation of the Church of England from the Catholic Church. Catherine died in England in Her only surviving child, Mary Tudor, became queen in Growing up, Catherine received a thorough education that included Latin, French and philosophy, along with pursuits like embroidery. Having been engaged to Prince Arthur—heir to the English throne—since childhood, Catherine went to England and married him in Following Arthur's untimely death in , Catherine was betrothed to Henry, Arthur's brother.