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Tudor Minute July 11: Bull!

Hey, this is Heather from the Renaissance English History Podcast, and this is your Tudor Minute for July 11.

Today in 1533 Pope Clement VII issued a papal bull excommunicating Henry VIII and ordering him to abandon Anne Boleyn. After years and years of waiting for a papal answer to the question of his marriage, Henry finally received one, and Katherine of Aragon would have felt vindicated. But it was too late for them. Henry had already married Anne Boleyn, who was crowned Queen on June 1, so just over a month before this papal bull. She would give birth to the Princess Elizabeth in September, a disappointment considering Henry had risked his eternal soul in order to marry Anne and have her bear him a much longed for son.

The Pope was walking a fine line with the issue of Henry’s divorce. Certainly annulments weren’t unusual, especially for monarchs who wanted to put away a first spouse and marry a younger model. It had happened in France just a few decades before. The problem for the Pope was always that, after the forces of the Emperor Charles V sacked Rome, the Pope was vulnerable to Charles. Who was, coincidentally, Katherine of Aragon’s nephew. Religion was completely caught up in the politics of the time, but it was impossible to keep waiting in hopes that the situation would just end on its own. Eventually the Pope had to issue a ruling, which he did today, July 11.

That’s your Tudor Minute for today. Remember you can dive deeper into life in 16th century England through the Renaissance English History Podcast at englandcast.com.