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Henry Viii Case

Essay by   •  January 31, 2013  •  Essay  •  728 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,251 Views

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The sources offer some support for the view that Henry VIII wanted an annulment simply because he needed a male heir. Source 1 is a speech made by Henry VIII to the lord Mayor and Alderman of London. In the speech he says that in his 20 years of ruling no one has managed to conquer England. He goes on to say that his existence would be quite pointless if he left them in trouble after his death. If he left them without an heir there would be complete chaos and it could affect the kingdom terribly. So here he's saying that if he left England without an heir it would be very wrong and unjust on his part. Being King it's his duty to ensure the kingdom's in good hands. He also says he loves his wife Catherine and that she's the best thing that ever happened to him. He says he's never been unhappy with her. However, according to Henry, his marriage to her was against God's law and he had committed adultery by marrying his dead brother's wife. This was the reason he never had a male heir and all his other children with her, except Mary, had died. So throughout this speech, he insists that he's divorcing her only because he needs a male heir. In source 2, according to Leviticus, if any man weds his dead brother's wife, he has committed adultery. It says "If a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered thy brother's nakedness; they shall be childless". So after reading this Henry strongly believes that the reason he hasn't had a male child yet is because he got married to his brother's wife. In order to get a male heir his only option would be to get his marriage with Catherine annulled.

The sources do not fully support the view that Henry wanted an annulment simply because he needed a male heir. Source 1, was a speech made by Henry in 1528. By this time Henry was already having an affair with Anne Boleyn. So how far can we believe Henry when he says he wants this annulment only because he needs a male heir? Anne had made it clear that she would not sleep with Henry unless he got an annulment. So that could be a reason for the annulment. Source 2 is by Deuteronomy. It says that when a man dies, his wife shall marry no one other than his brother and have children with her. This completely contradicts what Leviticus has written. So according to this, Henry did a good thing by marrying his dead brother's wife and he is following

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