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Henry VIII Part III: Divorce Trial

Campeggio suggests that Henry should try to reconcile with Catherine, but the King does not want to and want nothing less than to have his marriage annulled. Campeggio agreed to persuade Catherine to enter a convent so that the marriage could be easily dissolved. This article touches upon what happens after Catherine refuses to cooperate with Henry’s desire to divorce her.

When Campeggio meets with Catherine, he advises her to enter a convent and retire in a graceful fashion. Catherine refuses and proclaims that she will live and die a married woman. The English people were also giving their full support to Catherine at the time. To punish her stubbornness, Mary is taken from Catherine. She was told that if she did not obey the King’s wishes, then she would not be able to see her daughter.

By January of 1529, Catherine makes a desperate plea to Rome. She lodges a complaint against the authority of the Legatine Court. She is also against having Wolsey and Campeggio try the case. The issue of the royal marriage would be tried in court. In April of 1529, Catherine chooses her representatives. In the trial, she will be represented by Archbishop Warham, Cuthbert Tunstall, Bishop of Ely and St Asaph, and John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester , who is her main supporter.

The trial is held from May 31 to July 16 in 1529. Wolsey and Campeggio opened court at Blackfriars with Henry and Catherine appearing before the court on June 18th. Catherine challenged the authority of the Court. She wanted her case heard in Rome, but was not given that opportunity. During the proceedings, Henry expressed to the court that he feared the consequences of marrying his brother’s wife and believed that this was the reason he did not have a son.

In a rather moving speech, Catherine stood by the validity of her marriage to Henry. She did not accept the authority of their court and wanted the case referred to Rome. When they declined her request, she left the court and did not return to the hearing again. On July 16th, the Pope decided that the divorce case would be best if it was heard in Rome. In August of 1529, Henry is summoned to Rome to appear before the papal curia , which is the official assembly of the Catholic Church in Rome that the Pope presides over. This enraged the king. He was growing increasingly annoyed with Rome. It was also becoming clearer that the Pope may never grant him the divorce he wanted. He started to accept the fact that if he wanted to divorce Catherine, he had to come up with a different plan.

The next article will touch upon Henry’s efforts to get a divorce from Catherine of Aragon. For starters, he seeks the assistance of people that are well versed in Biblical passages and law. He starts looking for a way to persuade opponents by using the Bible.