Episode 109 looked at the precedence for Henry VIII’s divorce request from Katherine of Aragon. There’s a narrative that Henry was making a huge request, that he essentially invented divorce. But it was actually a very common event, and even Henry’s own sister got divorced. So in this episode, I go back in time and look at some of the major divorces in European history, from Eleanor of Aquitaine (who became the wife of Henry II and mother to Richard the Lionheart) to the divorce of Louis XII in France. We also look at a situation that was very similar to Henry and Katherine where a Danish princess was kept in prison while her husband remarried, despite the Pope telling him not to.
What made Henry’s divorce request unique was the degree to which it was contested, and that it never actually came through.
The Canon Law of Henry VIII’s Divorce Case
The Great Matter of Henry VIII