Monday, 23 May 2005
Henry VIII and the Biblical Excuse
Apparently when Henry VIII was young he was a great athlete. He was involved in various sports, amongst which were football. This contrasts markedly with the image we have of him as a fat bloke riddled with gout, which of course describes his later years.
When he became king he was only 18 years old. His brother Arthur, who had been the heir to the throne had died several years earlier. He was thus made Prince of Wales and future king and also had to marry his brother's wife, Katharine of Aragon.
Henry's marriage to Katharine did not make him very happy as the desired male heir was not forthcoming. Over 10 years she suffered many miscarriages and when a boy was born he only died a few months later. This made Henry extremely depressed. He could not understand why Katharine could not come up with a male child and came to the conclusion that God must be angry with him. He could not think why though until he came across a passage in the Levitikon book of the Bible, which gave him an answer. He found the part which says "thou shalt not marry your brother's wife or though shalt remain childless". This gave him the answer he wanted and one suspects it gave him the justification to start proceedings which would lead to an anulment of a marriage he already had grown tired of. In 1533 he divorced Katharine and separated her from their daughter Mary. She ended her life three years later, in 1536, alone and uncared for.
Posted by Anna at Monday, May 23, 2005