Tuesday, 21 April 2009


Henry VIII with Gloriana in back - Claudius Messing
Originally uploaded by

It is 500 years since Henry VIII came to the throne and it can hardly be co-incidence that Prince Charles is planning a visit to the Pope, nor that yesterday’s papers were full of stories about how the Vatican would be presenting him with a luxury bound facsimile copy of the papers relating to Henry’s request for the annulment of his marriage to Katherine of Aragon. Turned down by the Pope, Henry, as we all know, severed relations with Rome, installed himself as head of the Anglican Church and proceeded to dissolve his marriage to Katherine, ransack the monasteries and confiscate Catholic lands. Of course it didn’t stop there and indeed when he finally died a further five wives later, the concept of divorce had become embedded in English tradition, even though one of his wives actually died and he found it easier to accuse of treason and behead two of them than go through a proper legal process again. Resolution has issued a press release indicating the need to modernise our divorce laws further and distance ourselves from the concept of blame which Henry repeatedly sought to heap on his wives. I won’t repeat the release as John Bolch has done a wonderful job of including it in his blog which you can read by clicking here.


Bentonbag said...

Divorced, beheaded, died,
Divorced, beheaded, survived.
Henry VIII also divorced his fourth wife Anne of Cleves (the Mare of Flanders), but I was led to believe by my school history teacher that it was very amicable and they remained friends. The legend is that they spent the wedding night playing cards so could go for non-consummation and annulment (but that doesn't fit the rhyme as well).

Ina Centaur said...

Thanks Judith - and an interesting account, too.

Although - despite Henry's lust and inconstancy, he did have pressures to produce a legitimate heir (recall the wars back just a few centuries ago when multiple heir-claimers battled for the throne -- his obligation to his country was to prevent that sort of anarchy from happening again!), and his wives (according to the medics at the time) just weren't producing the right children for him!

And here's my birthday dedication to the Bard for 2009:

Here's another photo of Henry VIII for you: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ic-beauties/3119081790/

Ina Centaur said...

Hmm although, I wonder why Charles would be asking for a copy of that particular annulment...