Revealing the letter from a doomed marriage which changed history...


Henry VIII is one of the most famous British monarchs, not least because he was married on six separate occasions, and changed the course of history in the process. On this very day in 1509, he married Catherine of Aragon, his first wife.

His desire to have a son, who would become the heir to the throne, obsessed him. By 1529, however, he was still without one and tried to divorce Catherine, who by then was deemed too old to have children.

However, even the will of the King could not get Henry the divorce he wanted, and his increasing frustration can be seen in his letter to Cardinal Benedetto de Accolti, the Bishop of Ravenna. The importance of the humble manuscript is remarkable, as it did without doubt herald one of the most significant events in English history.

Henry's anger at the fact he could not get his wish, despite it being his 'fair determination' that it be done, caused him to order a split from the Roman Catholic Church. Instead, he made himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England.


This monumental decision led to the creation of a deep rift between Catholics and Protestants, which even exists today. England separated itself from Europe, and severed its ties.

The incredible letter depicts the moment when Henry sought to enact the split, so he could get his divorce from Catherine and marry Anne Boleyn. Signed by Henry and dated January 18 1529, there can be few letters which have so defined the course of history.


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