Henry VIII’s annulment to Katherine of Aragon is one of the most talked about events of Henry’s reign. Henry and Katherine were married for just over 23 years so when it was discovered Henry wanted to put his wife aside and take another everyone was quite shocked. Henry’s reason for the annulment was that he was being punished and would have no sons as he married his brother’s widow.
The Pope would not grant Henry the annulment he wished for, the Pope was under the influence of the Holy Roman Emperor and also Katherine’s nephew. After many meetings, court cases and suggestions for Katherine to enter a nunnery Henry eventually broke with Rome and became the Supreme Head of the Church of England and appointed Thomas Cranmer as Archbishop of Canterbury.
On 9th April 1533 the Duke of Norfolk and a delegation of councillors were sent to Katherine of Aragon’s Amptill residence to inform her that the King had now married Anne Boleyn and that her marriage to the King was never legally binding. As the delegation left the room it was down to Katherine’s chamberlain, Sir William Blount, that in addition to the news that her husband has married another she could no longer call herself Queen of England. Katherine was now to be called Dowager Princess of Wales, the title she had after the death of her first husband, Henry’s brother, Arthur.
Katherine refused to go by her new title as in her belief she was and always would be Henry’s true wife and Queen of England.
The Spanish ambassador, Eustace Chapuys wrote to Katherine’s nephew and his master, Charles V the following day and wrote;
“But there is no chance that the King will listen that the affair be determined otherwise than by the Archbishop, of whom he is perfectly assured, as he has performed the office of espousal (de l’esposement), as I have formerly written to you ; and he is fully resolved, as he has told many, and those of his Council publish, that immediately after Easter he will solemnize his marriage and the coronation of the Lady. The better to prepare the way, he sent yesterday the dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, the marquis and the earl of Ausburg to the Queen, to tell her that she must not trouble herself any more, nor attempt to return to him, seeing that he is married, and that henceforth she abstain from the title of Queen, and assume the title of duchess, leaving her the entire enjoyment of the goods she formerly had, and offering her more, if she needed more. The Queen would not fail to advertise me of the interview. I know not whether they are in any doubt as to the Queen’s willingness to dislodge or not ; but about eight days ago, the King’s council commanded my lord Mountjoy to rejoin her with all diligence, and keep watch upon her, and not leave her.”