On This Day 23rd May 1533
On 23rd May 1533 at a specially convened court at Dunstable, Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury declared that the marriage between Henry VIII and Katharine of Aragon had been void from the beginning, and that therefore when Henry had married Anne Boleyn he had been a bachelor. After seven years of wrangling Henry was free. Anne was crowned as Queen of England on 1st June 1533. Just over a month later, Katharine’s Chamberlain, Lord Mountjoy, came to her at Ampthill and informed her that she was to be known henceforth as ‘Princess Dowager’.
On This Day 22nd May 1539
On 22nd May 1539 Edward Seymour, later Viscount Beauchamp and Earl of Hertford, was born to Edward Seymour, brother of Queen Jane Seymour, and his second wife, Anne Stanhope. Young Edward contracted a secret marriage to Lady Katherine Grey, to the fury of Elizabeth I, who loathed the Grey sisters, and had no desire to see heirs born to be contenders for her throne. Seymour and Katherine were thrown into the Tower of London, but still managed to produce a second child. Seymour appears to have enjoyed secrecy, making two further clandestine matches, both to ladies named Frances Howard!
On This Day 21st May 1527
21st May 1527 saw the birth of Philip of Spain to the Emperor Charles V and his wife Isabella of Portugal. Philip inherited half of the lands his father ruled over – Spain, the New World and the Netherlands. Philip married four times, including to Mary I, Queen of England. As her husband he had the title of King of England, his head on the coinage, and regnal years named after him, but he had no real power. On Mary’s death, he made overtures to her sister and heir, Elizabeth, but she rejected him. In 1588, Philip’s Armada against his former sister-in-law was defeated.
Image is Philip II and Mary I, attributed to Hans Eworth
Alison Weir has continued her fictional ‘Six Wives’ series
with a new look at that most fortunate of Henry’s wives, Anne of Cleves.
In this non-fiction article, she looks at the evidence behind the rumours
that Anne bore a child after her divorce from Henry, one that may even have