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Reign of Henry the Eighth - (Continued) page 15


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The two monarchs had proclaimed with great diligence that the object of their meeting was to concert an expedition against the Turks, but it is more probable that Henry sought to induce Francis to cooperate with him, and withdraw from the Court of Rome - a circumstance which would have been equally detrimental to the Pope and the emperor; but Francis was not prepared for so violent a measure - in fact, he had no stubborn desire to spur him on to it. It is said that Francis, during the interview, had urged Henry to wait no longer for the permission of the Pope, but to marry the Marchioness of Pembroke without further delay; but it is quite certain that another counsellor was more urgent, and that was - Time. It was high time, indeed, that the marriage should take place, if they meant to legitimate his child, for Anne Boleyn was far advanced in her pregnancy. Accordingly, the marriage took place some time about now, but there are various accounts of the time and place of this event. Some authors affirm that she was privately married to the king at Dover, the same day as they returned from France; others that the nuptials were secretly performed in the presence of her father and mother, and of the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk, in the chapel of Sopewell Nunnery. To that nunnery, Anne, indeed, retired for some purpose immediately on her return from France, and Henry, who could not visit her in the nunnery, is said by tradition to have met her, occasionally, at a yew-tree, about a mile from that convent. There is also a tradition that she was married at Blickling Hall, in Norfolk; but Wyatt, her great admirer, as well as Stowe and Godwin, with far more probability, assert that this event took place in the following manner and place, on St. Paul's day, January 25th, 1533.

"On the morning of that day," says a contemporary, "at a very early hour, Dr. Rowland Lee, one of the royal chaplains, received the unwonted order to celebrate mass in an unfrequented attic in the west turret of Whitehall. There he found the king, attended by Norris and Heneage, two of the grooms of the chamber, and the Marchioness of Pembroke, attended by her train-bearer, Anne Saville, afterwards Lady Berkeley. On being requested to perform the nuptial rite between his sovereign and the marchioness in the presence of the three witnesses assembled, the chaplain hesitated; but Henry is said to have assured him that the Pope had pronounced in favour of the divorce, and that he had the dispensation for a second marriage in his possession. As soon as the marriage ceremony had been performed, the parties separated in silence before it was light; and Viscount Rochford, the brother of the bride, was dispatched to announce the event in confidence to Francis I."

This marriage was kept so secret that it was not even communicated to Cranmer, who had just returned from Germany, and taken up his abode in the family of Anne Boleyn. Cranmer whilst in Germany had married, Catholic priest as he was, the niece of Osiander, the Protestant minister of Nuremberg. This lady he had brought secretly to England, and was now living a married priest, in direct violation of the Church that he belonged to. Archbishop Warham was now dead, and Henry nominated Cranmer to the vacant primacy. He was consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury on the 30th of March, 1533, and he was immediately ordered to proceed with the divorces. The new primate, therefore, wrote on the 11th of April, a formal letter to the king, soliciting the issue of a commission to try that cause, and pronounce a definite sentence. This was immediately done; and Cranmer, as the head of this commission, accompanied by Gardiner, now Bishop of Winchester, the Bishops of London, Lincoln, Bath and Wells, with many other divines and canonists, opened their court at Dunstable, in the monastery of St. Peter's, six miles from Ampthill, where the queen resided. To this court they summoned both the king and the queen. Henry appeared by proxy; but Catherine ignored the court and its proceedings altogether. It was not likely, indeed, that, having denied all authority in the matter but that of the Pope, she should now recognise a tribunal which was proceeding as the devoted instrument of a monarch who had declared, in a letter to those very judges, that he, their sovereign, recognised no superior on earth, but only God, and was not subject to the laws of any earthly creature. All officers and institutions - the Church itself - had now shown that it was scarcely influenced by any law or motive but the will and fear of this self-inflated king. Parliament and Convocation had heaped fresh insults upon Catherine before proceeding to try her. Parliament, acting on the dicta of Cranmer and of Cromwell, had passed an act, strictly prohibiting any appeals to the Court of Rome, so that Catherine was cut oft' from all application to the only authority that she acknowledged; and another, stripping her of the title of queen, and designating her solely as the Princess Dowager of Wales, the widow of Prince Arthur, her first and only lawful husband. On the 12th of April Henry again-and now openly-solemnised his marriage with Anne Boleyn.

Dr. Lee, the same clergyman who had married Henry to Anne, was sent to cite Catherine to appear. Every precaution was used to prevent Catherine knowing that it was intended by this court to proceed to a final judgment; but that mattered little; for, from first to last, she disallowed the authority of any trial by the king's subjects. On the 12th of May Cranmer pronounced Catherine contumacious, and on the 23rd, that her marriage was null and invalid from the beginning. On the 28th, in a court held at Lambeth, the archbishop pronounced the king's marriage with Anne Boleyn to be good and valid. On the 1st of June, being Whit Sunday, Anne was crowned with every possible degree of pomp and display. She was first brought by the Lord Mayor from the palace at Greenwich in a gay procession of barges to the Tower. Then, after some days, a brilliant procession of noblemen, great prelates, and ambassadors, conducted her through the streets of London in an open litter covered with cloth of gold shot with white, and the two palfreys which supported the litter clad, heads and all, in a garb of white damask. The queen was dressed in a surcoat of silver tissue, and a mantle of the same lined with ermine. Her dark tresses were worn flowing down her shoulders; but on her head she wore a coif with a circlet of precious rubies. Over her head was borne a canopy carried by four knights on foot.

The streets were hung with crimson and scarlet, and that part of Cheapside with cloth of gold and velvet, There were all sorts of pageants, in which pagan deities mingled freely with Christian emblems. No coronation had ever been witnessed at Westminster more costly or brilliant. Anne, being now far advanced in pregnancy, must have found it a most fatiguing ceremony. Cranmer, of course, placed the crown upon her head.

Henry, notwithstanding his separation from Rome, was anxious to obtain the sanction of his marriage by the Pope; but instead of that, Clement fulminated his denunciations against him over Europe. He annulled Cranmer's sentence on Henry's first marriage, and published a bull excommunicating Henry and Anne, unless they separated before the next September, when the new queen expected her confinement, Henry dispatched ambassadors to the different foreign courts to announce his marriage, and the reasons which had led him to it; but from no quarter did he receive much gratulation. One person in particular wrote to him in the most cutting and unsparing strain. This was Cardinal Pole, a near kinsman of his, whom he had used great endeavours to win to his side.

When the bishoprics of Winchester and York became vacant by the death of Wolsey, the king would fain have conferred one of them on Pole, whom he had educated and destined for the highest offices of the Church. The young clergyman could not conscientiously approve of Henry's divorce scheme, and accordingly fell under his displeasure. Henry, however, permitted him to retire to the Continent, and, having been educated in Italy, he there soon received the, cardinal's hat from the Pope.

The people, from one end of the country to the other, were on the side of Catherine. They justly looked upon her as a virtuous, amiable, and religious queen, who was; thrust aside to make way for a younger rival; and they did not hesitate to express their opinion of that rival's; conduct. They cried out against "Nan Bullen" lustily on all occasions, and declared that they would have none of her. The monastic orders, who were writhing under the privation of their ancient houses and estates, and who foresaw further and more extensive spoliations in the Reformation tendencies of Cranmer and the new queen, preached everywhere hatred to the "Bullen" usurper of the throne, and bold denunciations of the licentious conduct of the king himself. One Friar Peyto, a very devout and zealous member of the order of Observants, preached before the king and queen at

Greenwich, and denounced, in uncompromising terms, the most terrible judgments on them both. He reminded them of the story of Ahab, and cried out, "Even where the dogs licked the blood of Naboth, shall they lick the blood of Jezebel." He told Henry that, like the King of Israel of old, he had got his lying prophets to prophecy what he willed: "but," continued he, "I am Micheas (Micaiah), whom thou wilt hate because I must tell thee truly that this marriage is unlawful; and I know I shall eat the bread of affliction and drink the waters of sorrow; yet, because our Lord hath put it into my mouth, I must speak of it."

Henry, for a wonder, restrained himself, and preferred to set one of his chaplains to answer the friar. Probably the knowledge that the general opinion was that of the friar might induce Henry to this course, so different to his conduct in after years. The next Sunday, being the 8th of May, Dr. Curwen preached in the same place, and, after endeavouring to answer his arguments, made a furious attack on the friar himself, calling him a dog, a slanderer, a base, beggarly friar, a rebel and traitor. He denounced him as a foul slanderer of persons in authority and asserted that, so far from the king's marriage being an offence to God or man, it was a measure both highly desirable and highly commendable, as that which was to establish a righteous royal seed for ever; and then, supposing that his eloquence had completely defeated and put to flight the friar, he challenged him by name, shouting, "I speak to thee, Peyto, that makest thyself Micheas, that thou mayest speak evil of kings; but now thou art not to be found, being fled for fear and shame, as being unable to answer my arguments."

But there came an answer - though not from Peyto - which was not greatly to the credit or the foresight of the preacher, for in the rood-loft, one Elstow, a friar of the same house as Peyto, stood up, and in a loud and undaunted manner said, "Good sir, you know well enough that Father Peyto, as he was commanded, is gone to a provincial council holden at Canterbury, and is not fled from any fear of you, but to-morrow will return again. And meantime, here am I, another Micheas, ready to lay down my life to prove all those things true which he hath taught out of the Holy Scriptures; and to this combat I challenge thee before God and all equal judges; even unto thee, Curwen, I say it, which art one of the four hundred prophets into whom the spirit of lying is entered, and seekest by adultery to establish succession; betraying the king into endless perdition, more for thine own vain-glory and hope of promotion than for the discharge of thy clogged conscience, and the king's salvation." The friar went on in the same strain, growing bolder and bolder, and hurling the most awful denunciations at the head of the king, and none could bring him to silence, till Henry, in a voice of thunder, commanded him to be still. The king did not pass this over. The two friars the next day were summoned before the council, and sternly rebuked and threatened. The Earl of Essex told them they deserved to be put into sacks and thrown into the Thames. "Threaten those things," said Elstow, smiling, "to the rich and dainty folk, which are clothed in purple and fine linen, and fare sumptuously every day, and have their chieifest hope in this world; but we heed them not - nay, we are joyful that for the discharge of our duties we are driven hence; and, thanks to God, we know the way to heaven to be as ready by water as by land, and therefore care not which way we go." The end of this plain speaking was, that the friars, with all their order, were soon after banished; and Curwen, as Friar Elstow had prophesied, was promoted to the episcopal bench.

Yet no complaints of the clergy or the people could prevent the ruthless king wringing the heart of his forsaken wife, by demands of her renunciation of all title to royalty. On the 3rd of July Lord Mountjoy, who had formerly been her page, waited on her from the king to announce to her the completion of the divorce, and to warn her to take a lower style and address than that of queen. Catherine was living quietly at Ampthill, and the martyrdom through which she had lately been made to pass had shaken her health severely. It was some days before she could see the messenger, and when she did she was still lying sick on her couch, and suffering from a thorn which by some accident she had run into her foot. She had a number of her servants assembled to hear what was said, and she then demanded whether the message were in writing or was to be delivered by word of mouth. Lord Mountjoy said he had both a verbal and a written command, but when he began to address her as the Princess of Wales, she stopped him, and let him know that she was not princess dowager, but the queen, and withal the king's true wife; had been crowned and anointed queen, and by the king had had lawful issue; had committed no crime by which real forfeiture of her rank and estate could come, but that the estate and name of queen she would vindicate, challenge, and maintain during her lifetime.

Mountjoy begged to remind her that she had not only been divorced but that this divorce was confirmed by the Act of Parliament in both Houses, and that the Lady Anne had also been anointed and crowned Queen of England, which act was also confirmed by the lords spiritual and temporal, and the commoners of the realm; but Catherine, with undaunted spirit, repudiated all such proceedings, as effected by bribery and unfair means, declaring that neither universities, convocations, nor parliaments had power to divorce, but the Court of Rome alone, to which she still appealed. Mountjoy then represented to her that her obstinacy might occasion popular commotions in the kingdom, to which she replied that she should much regret that,- she trusted there would be no dissensions in the realm on her account, which she never contemplated, nor ever would; but she would never consent to injure her daughter's rights and the health of her own soul by compliance; and if she should be so unfortunate as to forfeit the favour of the people, still, she trusted to go to heaven "cum fama et infama," for it was not for the favour of the people, nor yet for any trouble or adversity that might be devised for her, that she would lose the favour of God. When Mountjoy showed her the report which he had drawn up of the interview, she called for pen and ink, and carefully struck out the words princess-dowager wherever they occurred. She also treated the whole divorce as a mere farce, being pronounced in the king's own realm, by "a man of the king's own making," Cranmer, whom she asserted to be a person by do means impartial.

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Pictures for Reign of Henry the Eighth - (Continued) page 15

Old Greenwich
Old Greenwich >>>>
King Henry and his Council
King Henry and his Council >>>>
Francis I
Francis I >>>>
Louise reading of the Capture of the King
Louise reading of the Capture of the King >>>>
Rhodes in the Sixteenth Century
Rhodes in the Sixteenth Century >>>>
Boudoir of Anne Boleyn
Boudoir of Anne Boleyn >>>>
Residence of Anne Boleyn
Residence of Anne Boleyn >>>>
Entrance to Wolsey's College
Entrance to Wolsey's College >>>>
Queen Anne Boleyn
Queen Anne Boleyn >>>>
Entry of Anne Boleyn into London
Entry of Anne Boleyn into London >>>>
Henry VIII. dancing with Anne Boleyn.
Henry VIII. dancing with Anne Boleyn. >>>>
Antechamber in Hever Castle
Antechamber in Hever Castle >>>>
The Trial of Queen Catherine
The Trial of Queen Catherine >>>>
The Dismissal of Cardinal Wolsey
The Dismissal of Cardinal Wolsey >>>>
Wolsey at Leicester
Wolsey at Leicester >>>>
Ruins of Leicester Abbey
Ruins of Leicester Abbey >>>>
Thomas Cranmer
Thomas Cranmer >>>>
Private Marriage of Anne Boleyn to Henry VIII
Private Marriage of Anne Boleyn to Henry VIII >>>>
Cardinal Pole
Cardinal Pole >>>>
Place of Execution within the Tower of London
Place of Execution within the Tower of London >>>>

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