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Tudor Minute June 11: Marriage of Henry and Katherine


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

Today is the wedding anniversary of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, in 1509. It was a private ceremony in the church of the Observant Friars outside Greenwich Palace. She was 23 years old, and he was just short of his 18th birthday. 

The marriage required papal dispensation, since according to canon law it was illegal for a man to take his deceased brother's wife, as it would be considered a sin. However, Katherine testified that her marriage to Arthur had never been consummated, and therefore was not a true marriage. Because of this, the Pope gave his permission for Henry to take her as his bride, and on 11 June 1509 (just after Henry VIII took the throne), the two were married in an intimate ceremony at Greenwich Palace.

According to the Calendar of State Papers of Spain, the marriage vows at this wedding went something like this:

“Most illustrious Prince, is it your will to fulfil the treaty of marriage concluded by your father, the late King of England, and the parents of the Princess of Wales, the King and Queen of Spain ; and, as the Pope has dispensed with this marriage, to take the Princess who is here present for your lawful wife?

The King answered : I will.

Most illustrious Princess, (etc.) - The Princess answered : I will.”