Tag Archives: Katherine of Aragon

On this day in 1534 – First Act of Succession is passed

The First Act of Succession was passed on 23rd March 1534 by Henry VIII.

The Act declared his daughter with Katherine of Aragon illegitimate, therefore changing Mary’s status from Princess to Lady. It paved the way for any children Henry had with his new wife, Anne Boleyn, to be the heir to the throne, with any boys would take precedent over girls. Anne’s first child was Elizabeth which made her heir to the throne unless Anne gave Henry what he ultimately desired – a boy.

Another part of the Act required all subjects to swear an oath to recognise Anne as his legal wife and any children they have the true heirs. It also demanded that Henry’s subjects recognise him as the head of the church. Anyone not swearing the oath was arrested under the Treasons Act. Some notable subjects that refused to take the oath included Sir Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher both were later executed for treason.

Henry later altered the act when he married Jane Seymour creating the Second Act of Succession, this Act declared Elizabeth illegitimate alongside Mary and pronounced his son heir to the throne. It was altered again in 1543 when Mary and Elizabeth were returned to the line of succession but behind Edward.

Parliament record

On this day in 1496 – Mary Tudor was born

Mary Tudor was born on 18th March 1496. She was the third daughter and fifth child of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Mary was born at Richmond Palace.

In 1507 Mary was betrothed to the future Holy Roman Emperor, Charles. However, with Henry VIII changing political allegiance to favour France the betrothal was off. Instead Mary was promised to the aging King of France, Louis XII and at the age of 18 in 1514 she was married and proclaimed Queen of France. Less than three months into the marriage Louis died.

Henry VIII sent an envoy to France to bring his sister home, amongst them was Charles Brandon. Mary and Brandon were married in secret on 3rd March 1515. As the marriage was without the King’s permission they had caused treason, upon return to the English court they were summoned to explain themselves. Henry was furious and the couple were eventually let off with a heavy fine and an official marriage ceremony on 13th May 1515 at Greenwich Palace.

Mary was opposed to the King’s divorce to Katherine of Aragon and didn’t hide her feelings on the matter causing the once close siblings to fight. Mary also opposed Henry’s choice of new bride, Anne Boleyn. Anne was a maid in waiting during Mary’s time as Queen of France.

Mary Tudor

Mary died at her home in Westhorpe, Suffolk on 25th June 1533 and buried at Bury St Edmunds Abbey. After the dissolution of the monasteries her body was removed and re-interred at St Mary’s Church. Mary and Charles had four children and through her eldest daughter Frances was the grandmother of the nine day Queen, Lady Jane Grey.

On this day in 1473 – King James IV was born

On 17th March 1473 the future King James IV of Scotland was born to King James III and Margaret of Denmark. The location of his birth is most likely to be Stirling Castle.

At a young age the heir apparent was proclaimed Duke of Rothesay and was betrothed to marry Princess Cecily of England, the third daughter of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville.

King James III of Scotland was killed in the Battle of Sauchieburn in 1488 leaving the 15 year old prince the new King of Scotland. The Battle of Sauchieburn saw James III face a rebellion which used the young prince as their figurehead. The new King felt guilty over his indirect role in his father’s death and for the rest of his life at Lent he wore a heavy iron chain cilice around his waist, adding weight every year, as penance.

King James IV was involved in many arguments with the English court, including the backing of Perkin Warbeck, the pretender to the Plantagenet line. James even went as far as invading England in 1496.

In 1502 James signed the Treaty of Perpetual Peace with King Henry VII in a bid to end warfare between the two countries. As part of the treaty a marriage proposal between James IV and Margaret Tudor, daughter of the King of England, was agreed. Whilst agreeing to peace with England, James also maintained a relationship with France and began building a fleet that would defend Scotland and give them a large maritime presence.

King James IV married Margaret Tudor on 8th August 1503 at Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh. They had four living children including the future King James V. James IV also had eight illegitimate children with four of his mistresses.

The Italian Wars broke out in 1494 and lasted until 1559; it saw many countries involved from Italy and France to England and Scotland. As a result war broke out between England and France. Scotland was tied to both countries through treaties but declared war on England after Henry VIII invaded France. Pope Leo X threatened James with ecclesiastical censure for breaking his treaty with England and was later excommunicated by Cardinal Christopher Bainbridge.

In September 1513 Scottish troops invaded England and headed towards Northumbria where they clashed with English forces on the 9th September. The English troops were under the leadership of Katherine of Aragon who was Regent of England whilst her husband Henry VIII was fighting in France. King James IV was killed in the battle and was the last King of Great Britain to die in battle. His body was taken to London for burial, however due to his excommunication King Henry VIII had to gain permission from the Pope to bury the Scottish King. He was never buried though; his embalmed body lay unburied for many years with his body going missing during the Reformation when Sheen Priory in Surrey, where he was lying, was demolished.

James IV

Book review – The Six Wives and Many Mistresses of Henry VIII

We all know the story of the six wives of Henry VIII and how their relationships ended but what about the women who didn’t make queen but still captured the heart of the king? Amy Licence has set out in this book to look at the woman that Henry encountered.

Amy Licence takes a chronological look at Henry VIII’s life we delve into the times of his life without Henry taking centre stage and let the women shine. We start at Katherine of Aragon and her marriage to Prince Arthur. An interesting theory is offered about whether or not their marriage was consummated. No spoilers here though you’ll have to read the book yourself to see it! We read how Henry and Katherine came together and reigned over the country in unison. Amy Licence also describes in detail how Katherine’s court was run and the pressure she was under to deliver Henry a male heir.

The story continues with Henry’s infatuation with Anne Boleyn and how he juggled two relationships at once, playing the loving husband and father to his wife whilst acting as the doting lover to his mistress. The book also shows how Henry’s search for an annulment to his wife destroyed one woman and elevated another to the position of queen. We see how Anne Boleyn keeps the king’s interest in the years before their wedding in order to protect her virginity if she was indeed still a virgin! The fall of Anne is captured in a way that is easy to understand why she was charged with treason.

Like Henry’s relationship with Katherine and Anne, dealing with two partners at the same time, we learn that Henry again repeats history by juggling Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour. Licence debates an interesting theory for Henry and Jane’s hasty marriage after the death of his former queen; was Jane already pregnant? Following Jane there are two shorts sections on his next queens Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard. Although short they are packed full of amazing detail of their relationships with Henry and how they came to be married to the King of England.

The final section is dedicated to Henry’s sixth and final wife Catherine Parr how she forfeited marrying for love to accept Henry’s offer, the book covers how she was almost arrested for her religious beliefs but knew how to treat Henry to avoid falling into the same fate as many wives before her. We also see what happens to Catherine after Henry’s death.

As well as covering Henry’s six wives the book also deals with the known and unknown mistresses of Henry as they happen within Henry’s timeline. We learn more about Bessie Blount and Mary Boleyn the only two women definitely known as Henry’s mistresses. Most importantly though we learn about the women that Henry encountered and possibly had relationships with. Perhaps the reason we don’t hear more about these women is that Henry was highly private as Licence discusses throughout. His attempt to protect his wives and his reputation means that we don’t know these women as well as we should. Henry truly believed what happened behind his bedroom doors stayed private.

This book is highly recommended to anyone who wants to learn more about the women in Henry’s life from his well documented wives to the mistresses and potential wives we know little about. A book that is fascinating from start to finish, it is a book you’ll find difficult to put down as you want to learn more with each turn of the page.

The six wives and many mistresses of Henry VIII

On this day in 1539 – Sir Thomas Boleyn died

Sir Thomas Boleyn died on 12th March 1539 after an eventful life in the Tudor court.

Sir Thomas Boleyn was born in 1477 at Hever Castle, Kent. Thomas Boleyn was born to Sir William Boleyn and Lady Margaret Butler. Not much is known about Thomas’ early life; it is suspected that he married Lady Margaret around 1498. The exact dates and order that the three Boleyn children were born in is still something that is debated until this very day but it is widely believed and backed up by Eric Ives that Mary was the eldest, born approx 1499, with Anne following in 1501 and lastly George born in 1504. It is believed that there were other pregnancies it can’t be said for certain.

Thomas Boleyn began building an illustrious career within the Tudor court that dates back to 1501 where he was noted to be present at the wedding of Katherine of Aragon to Prince Arthur. Boleyn was again entrusted with an important duty by King Henry VII in 1503 in which his daughter Margaret was to be escorted to Scotland for her marriage to King James IV.

In 1509 Boleyn was created a Knight of the Bath at a ceremony that celebrated the coronation on the new King, Henry VIII. This was the start of a relationship with the King that would bring him to such high power within the realm as well as a relationship that tore his family apart. At some point during these early years serving Henry, Boleyn was made ambassador to the Low Countries (Belgium, Netherlands and Flanders), here he met Archduchess Margaret of Austria and at some point during his meetings with the Archduchess he arranged to send his daughters to serve in her court.

For the next decade Boleyn fulfilled many roles within the court from acting as an envoy to the Netherlands in 1512 to acting as an ambassador in France between 1518 and 1521. During his time as ambassador to France Boleyn was heavily involved in the Field of Cloth of Gold, the meeting between Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France.

At some point during this decade his oldest daughter, Mary, had caught the eye of the King and became his mistress. There is no record of the relationship so we don’t know how long they were together or when. It was also rumoured the Henry was the father of one if not both of Mary’s children. Again there is no evidence of this and the King never claimed he was the father of Mary’s children especially as she was married at the time of the affair. However, in 1523, Thomas Boleyn was invested as a Knight of the Garter. Was this Henry’s way of giving reward to the Boleyn’s for his relationship with Mary?

In 1525, Boleyn had further honours bestowed upon him as he was created Viscount Rochford and further in 1529 when he was granted the titles of Earl of Wiltshire and Earl of Ormond. At the same time Henry’s desires had transferred to Thomas Boleyn’s other daughter, Anne. Was the honour being bestowed upon Thomas rewarding him for his years of service to the King and his father before him, or was Henry simply handing out favours to his new mistress’s family?

As Henry pursued his new mistress and his quest for an annulment from his current wife, Katherine of Aragon, he was becoming more and more surrounded by members of the Boleyn family, Thomas’ son George was handed the title of Viscount Rochford upon Thomas’ ascension to Earldom. Thomas was also sent as an envoy to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and Pope Clement VII in an attempt to gain their allegiance for Henry’s divorce.

Thomas Boleyn’s success reached a pinnacle when in 1530 he was made Lord Privy Seal, one of the greatest roles within the council and when his daughter Anne finally married the King and was proclaimed Queen in 1533 it seems that Thomas Boleyn was almost untouchable.

As Anne Boleyn’s downfall began a few short years later so did Thomas’. He was ordered to be a part of the council that was set up to try and sentence the men accused alongside the Queen for treason and adultery. This included his son, George, as well as Anne. He was involved passing sentence on Mark Smeaton, Henry Norris, Sir Francis Weston and William Brereton. However, he was excused from passing sentence on his children and condemning them to death as traitors. He did witness both of their executions at the hands of the man he had served loyally. Thomas Boleyn forfeited the role of Lord Privy and retired to Hever Castle, his position was to be handed to Thomas Cromwell.

DIGITAL CAMERA                         Hever Castle – the family home to the Boleyns.

Although Boleyn had retreated to his home in Kent he still served the King and there are records of him helping to fight the rebellion in the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536, just months after witnessing his two children die. It appears that Boleyn was slowly gaining favour with the King again as he was present at the christening of Prince Edward.

Thomas Boleyn died on 12th March 1539 from unknown reasons and was buried in St Peter’s church in Hever next to his home. Upon his death King Henry ordered masses to be said for Thomas Boleyn’s soul.

On this day in 1539 – Nicolas Carew executed

Nicolas Carew was beheaded on 8th March 1539 on Tower Hill, London for his alleged involvement in the Exeter Conspiracy.

Nicolas Carew grew up in the company and shared education with the future Henry VIII when they were children so it comes as no surprise that when Henry became king, Carew was knighted and rewarded for his loyalty. He held the role of Master of the Horse and was a leading figure within Henry’s court.

Carew was highly regarded by Henry VIII and was always close by. Carew was one of many that Cardinal Wolsey believed had too much influence over Henry and so engineered his dismissal from court in 1526. His dismissal only lasted a couple of years and by 1528 he was inducted into the Privy Council on recommendation of Francis I of France.

Nicolas Carew

Carew, like many others at the court during Henry’s divorce proceedings, began to disapprove of Anne Boleyn and the influence she held over Henry. Carew revealed to the Imperial ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, his sympathy and support for Katherine of Aragon and the Princess Mary. This outburst only made his downfall easier to engineer.

In 1538, two years after Anne Boleyn’s execution, Thomas Cromwell began to turn against those who helped him bring down the former Queen. Cromwell presented letters to Henry that allegedly came from Nicolas Carew that contained words of treason. Henry became convinced that his close friend Carew was involved in a plot to depose him and in his place crown a Yorkist claimant to the throne, most likely Reginald Pole, the last strong Plantagenet claim.

Carew was arrested and stood trial on 14th February 1539 where he was found guilty of high treason and sentenced to death. Carew was beheaded on 8th March at Tower Hill.

On this day in 1530 – Pope Clement VII forbid Henry VIII from marrying Anne Boleyn

As the battle between Henry VIII and the Pope raged on over Henry’s divorce to Katherine of Aragon. It was becoming clear that it was not just about Henry’s belief that the marriage was never legal; it was about Henry wanting to take a new wife, namely Anne Boleyn.

Katherine did everything she could to protect herself and her daughter, Mary. She was sending letters to her nephew, Charles, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire for his assistance with her cause. Charles. The news of the events in England reached the ears of the Pope, who threatened Henry with excommunication if he went ahead and took a second wife.

The Pope issued the following statement;

“Bull, notifying that on the appeal of queen Katharine from the judgment of the Legates, who had declared her contumacious for refusing their jurisdiction as being not impartial, the Pope had committed the cause, at her request, to Master Paul Capisucio, the Pope’s chaplain, and auditor of the Apostolic palace, with power to cite the King and others; that the said Auditor, ascertaining that access was not safe, caused the said citation, with an inhibition under censures, and a penalty of 10,000 ducats, to be posted on the doors of the churches in Rome, at Bruges, Tournay, and Dunkirk, and the towns of the diocese of Terouenne (Morinensis). The Queen, however, having complained that the King had boasted, notwithstanding the inhibition and mandate against him, that he would proceed to a second marriage, the Pope issues this inhibition, to be fixed on the doors of the churches as before, under the penalty of the greater excommunication, and interdict to be laid upon the kingdom.
Bologna, 7 March 1530, 7 Clement VII.”
 (LP iv. 6256)

Henry VIIIPope Clement VII

On this day in 1500 – Cardinal Reginald Pole born

It is widely accepted that Cardinal Reginald Pole was born on 3rd March 1500. He was born in Stourton Castle in Staffordshire to Sir Richard Pole and his wife Margaret. Margaret was the daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, which made Margaret the niece of King Edward IV and Richard III. Therefore Reginald would have had a strong Plantagenet claim to the throne had it not been for the Bill of Attainder that was passed against his grandfather when he was found guilty of treason.

Pole studied at Oxford from the age of 12 and completed his degree just after the age of 15. It looks like Pole was always destining for a life within the clergy.

Henry VIII bestowed many honours on Pole including the deanery of Wimborne Minister in Dorest, the Prebendary of Salisbury and the Dean of Exeter, despite never being ordained into the church. In 1521, with Henry’s blessing, Pole set off to the University of Padua where he quickly became popular and was highly regarded amongst scholars like Erasmus and Thomas More. Henry paid half of Pole’s fees whilst he was studying abroad.

Pole remained in Padua until 1527 when he returned home. Henry at this time was desperate for Pole’s support and his written opinion on ‘The Great Matter’, his divorce with Katherine of Aragon. In exchange for his support Henry offered Pole the role of Archbishop of York or the Diocese of Winchester in return for his loyalty. Pole wanted to avoid being dragged into the situation instead seeked permission to leave for France to further his studying. In effect he went into self imposed exile to avoid answering Henry’s demands. Despite this Henry was still covering Pole’s allowances abroad.

In May 1536, Pole eventually spoke out against Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn. Henry called Pole back to England to answer questions on his writings. Pole disobeyed Henry’s orders and instead headed to Rome after receiving a Papal invitation to stay at the Vatican from Pope Paul III. This was a blow to Henry as it was clear for all to see that the once close relationship that they shared was over as Pole sided with Rome against Henry and England.

Despite never being ordained Pole, in 1537, was created a Cardinal and was charged with organising a march on London to replace Henry’s current government with a Roman Catholic one to bring the country back in line with Rome.

In retaliation to Pole’s betrayal Henry arrested members of the Pole family including his brother, nephew and mother, the Countess of Salisbury and charged each of them with treason and aiding Reginald Pole and his cause. All but one was found guilty and Bills of Attainders were passed against them all stripping of their titles and land and eventually they were executed for Pole’s betrayal.

Pope Paul III died in 1549 and a conclave was held to find his successor, at one point Pole had nearly two – thirds of the votes required to become Pope, however, Pole didn’t want to campaign to become Pope and so support began to slip away from him.

Reginald Pole remained a Cardinal and was quietly dedicated to his work. That is until the death of Edward VI in 1553. With the Catholic Mary I taking the throne Pole’s life was once again an active one. He instantly wrote to the newly anointed Queen and successfully returned to England from exile as Papal Legate in 1554.

Under Mary I, Pole saw the attainder against his family reversed and was finally ordained as a Priest in 1556. Two days later on 22nd March Pole was consecrated as the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Pole was the last Roman Catholic to hold this position. Alongside this he also acted as chief minister and advisor to the Queen.

Cardinal_Reginald_Pole

Reginald Pole died on 17th Nov 1558, most likely for the influenza which had gripped London in an epidemic. He died just a few short hours after Queen Mary I. He is buried at Canterbury Cathedral.

On this day in 1500 – Charles V of Spain is born

Charles V was born on 24th February 1500 to Joanna of Castile and Philip I of Castile and was born the heir of three seperate houses – Habsburg, Valois-Burgandy and Trastámara.

Born the grandson of Isabella of Castile, Ferdinand II of Aragon, Maximilian, Holy Roman Emperor and Mary of Burgandy, Charles would grow up to become one of the most powerful men in Europe.

In 1516 he became King of Castile alongside his mother and this quickly followed by gaining the crown of Aragon in 1519. In the same year Charles was elected Holy Roman Emperor beating Frederick II of Saxony, Ferdinand I of France and Henry VIII o the position. As the grandson of the previous Emperor, Maximilion, Charles was the natural choice and with an unanimous decision he was crowned on the 28th June 1519.

In 1525 Charles married Isabella of Portugal and had three children with Isabella, however just four years earlier he was betrothed to the five year old Princess Mary daughter of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon. Princess Mary later married Charles’ son Philip when she was aged 37.

During Charles’ reign as Emperor Henry VIII had started to try and divorce Katherine of Aragon in 1527. Katherine wrote frequently to her nephew, Charles, to help her cause within Europe and the Pope. In 1527 Charles had taken the Pope prisoner and so he was unable to get involved at the time, which Henry unsuccessfully tried to use to his advantage. In 1529  although the Pope was free he was still heavily influenced by Charles. The Pope sent Cardinal Campeggio to preside over the divorce hearing and delay it as much as he could.

In 1554 Charles began to withdraw from his duties passing them on to his brother, Ferdinand, and son, Philip II of Spain.

On 21st September 1558 Charles died, aged 58, of malaria. charles v

On this day in 1511- Prince Henry Tudor died

In 1511 on 1st January, 18 months after their wedding, Katherine of Aragon gave birth to a boy, giving Henry his first born son following the tragic stillbirth of a daughter the previous year. The boy named Henry was quickly made the Duke of Cornwall and was expected to be invested as Prince of Wales soon after. Prince Henry was christened on 5th January, which saw his godparents include King Louis XII of France, Duchess of Savoy and the Archbishop of Canterbury. A lavish jousting tournament was thrown in the prince’s honour with the King competing under the banner of Sir Loyal Heart, proclaiming his love for his Queen and new son. Tragedy struck on 22nd February when the young Prince suddenly died, he was given a state funeral at Westminster Abbey befitting his status. England would have been such a different place had this young boy survived.