Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Question from Anna - Mary's position in the succession if Katherine had agreed to an annulment

What if Katherine of Aragon had let Henry 8th marry Anne Boleyn- would that have jeopardized Mary's position in the line to the throne and not let her see her mother?

If Katherine had gone in to a nunnery and let him marry Anne,I do believe that Mary would have been able to see her mother and still be in line to the throne after Anne's son.


Anonymous said...

I recall reading that there was a sort of "good faith" exception that allowed the Church to declare a child legitimate, even when the parents' marriage was annulled; when Margaret Tudor's second marriage was annulled, for example, the idea that the parents married in good faith ignorance of the existence of the impediment (which, in that case, involved the claim that her first husband had survived Flodden) meant that Lady Margaret Douglas was still considered legitimate. However, I am not sure if this would apply to Henry's case, since both parties knew of the relevant facts (her prior marriage to Arthur) even though there was good faith about the effect of the dispensation. If it would apply to Henry's case, it wasn't really relevant if Catherine agreed or not -- it wasn't necessary to bastardize Mary.


Anonymous said...

Had Katherine agreed to the divorce that was originally offered to her, I believe Mary would have been legitimate, like the children from Eleanor of Aquitaine's first marriage. But Katherine refused to let go of her position as queen, which was where the whole thing got messy. An divorce meant that the parents separated while an annulment meant the marriage never happened in the first place, which was why Mary became illegitimate. The whole 'you married Arthur' thing probably wouldn't have been touched upon if it weren't for Katherine's stubbornness, which made Henry VIII look for other reasons to divorce her, until he finally decided that he wanted an annulment instead.

As for Mary's treatment, which only came about because of both her mother and her own stubbornness, she would have stayed a princess and be allowed to see her mother.

Anonymous said...

I was taught in law school that "divorce" in our modern sense (terminating a valid marriage such that both parties could remarry) didn't exist during Tudor times; the only way to end a marriage was an annulment (that the marriage was invalid from the beginning) -- the church later adopted rules so the children did not always have to be bastardized.


Leanda de Lisle said...

Esther is correct that under canon law if a couple married in good faith, believing their marriage valid, as did Henry and Katherine, then the child was judged legitimate. But the reason Henry bastardized Mary was not that Katherine has resisted the annulment but because his subsequent child by Anne Boleyn was a daughter. He could not have Mary, the child of his annulled marriage, taking precedence over the child of his only 'valid' union. If Elizabeth had been a boy it is probable that Mary's legitimacy would have been left intact as a son would have taken precedence over even a legitimate elder daughter. I go into this in my book Tudor: The Family Story

Laura said...

It was always an annulment that Henry sought. There was no such thing as a divorce in the contemporary way we think of divorce. The only way to dissolve a marriage was through annulment, and there had to be justification for it in canon law. The marriage to Arthur was always the justification.

It is hard to say whether Mary would have been bastardized had Katherine cooperated from the beginning. There was also the issue of Anne's hatred and jealousy of Katherine and Mary. Although, if Katherine had stepped aside for Anne early on, and Anne had been able to produce the son she and Henry both wanted so badly it might have been different. After all, with the succession secured through Anne's male offspring there would have been no reason to disinherit Mary. The primary reason to disinherit Mary was to guarantee the succession for Anne's children because there were questions about the validity of Anne's marriage and subsequently her children.