The Six Wives of Henry VIII
Catherine of Aragon Anne Boleyn Jane Seymour Anne of Cleves Catherine Howard Catherine Parr
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King Vs. Queen
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T
he ultimate struggle of Catherine of Aragon's life began when she was 42.

After 18 years of marriage, King Henry declared himself troubled by whether or not he had sinned in marrying his brother's wife. The king cited a verse from the biblical book of Leviticus that stated that a man who took his brother's wife would be punished by childlessness.

But his real concern was much more carnal: Anne Boleyn.


Henry and Catherine

The king's counselors pulled out all the stops. The pope had erred when he had granted a dispensation for the marriage of Catherine and Henry. An offer from Pope Clement VII for a second dispensation was declined. Scholars and theologians throughout Europe were solicited for their ruling.

Queen Catherine did not take this turn of events passively. She refused to retire to a nunnery. She argued the validity of her marriage with the king. She petitioned relatives to intercede on her behalf. At a speech before the papal inquisitors' tribunal in May 1529, she threw herself on the ground at the king's feet, begging him to reconsider. (See In Her Own Words.)

Popular support for Catherine was strong. So strong that Spain's ambassador suggested that she petition her nephew, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, to invade England and prevent the divorce. She declined.
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Intro Background Why choose this wife? Role as queen King vs. queen Love Life Children Ultimate fate