• Megan L. Hickerson


In 1527, Henry VIII (1509–47) began the process of repudiating his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, in order to marry her lady-in-waiting, Anne Boleyn. His movement between these two women — and also between their children by him — accompanied a rejection of papal authority in England, an authority which had allowed by dispensation Henry’s marriage to Catherine, his elder brother’s widow, in 1502, but which was now refusing him the divorce he so wanted. In response, Henry and his principal ministers pushed through Parliament a series of statutes eroding papal power in England and enshrining Henry’s supreme headship over the Church of England.1 The 1534 Act of Royal Supremacy was accompanied by the delegitimization of Mary, Henry’s daughter by Catherine, in favour of the children of his marriage to Anne Boleyn, by the Act of Succession of the same year.2 Effectively named a bastard, Mary was sent away from court in 1531, at the age of 15. Her father refused to see her until after his first two wives had died and he had married his third, Jane Seymour, in 1536. Mary never saw her mother again.


Critical Text Henry VIII True Religion Papal Authority Commonplace Book 
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© Megan L. Hickerson 2005

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  • Megan L. Hickerson

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