Thursday, April 21, 2011

Question from Guy - Catholic opposition to Edward VI's legitimacy

I read that some Catholic rulers didn't fully accept Edward VI's legitimacy because he was born to an excommunicate. But Henry wasn't an excommunicate at the time until 1538, was he? Is it more because the Catholic Church weren't involved in sanctioning his parents' marriage? Was there any serious opposition to his legitimacy?

1 comment:

Foose said...

Clement VII decreed Henry's excommunication in 1533, although he delayed pronouncing sentence for a few months. In March 1534, "Henry was declared anathema and England broke with Rome" (Marguerite de Navarre, Mother of the Renaissance, by Patricia and Rouben Cholakian).

Pope Paul issued his own bull of excommunication in 1535, after he succeeded Clement, citing Henry to appear in Rome, and it was confirmed in 1538, when the full penalty - absolving Englishmen from allegiance to Henry, and calling for his deposition - was imposed.

The papal actions of 1534 and 1535 would, I think, establish that England was schismatic and invalidate marriages performed there. This would keep Edward from being regarded as legitimate in the eyes of Catholic Europe, although I believe even the Emperor considered it a mere technicality (although his diplomats could make noise about it). I have also read that for some people Edward's claim was diminished by the fact that his mother was never crowned, unlike her predecessors (particularly in relation to Mary Tudor).