The Story of... Henry VIII, Queen Catherine of Aragon and their legacy


It's just about a month now until the Royal Wedding: the uniting of a future King with a future Queen Catherine. But today in history saw the conclusion of a marriage for another Queen Catherine, as Henry VIII finally divorced his first wife, the Lady of Aragon.

Fortunately, the circumstances are unlikely to be repeated for the Lady of Middleton. Wills is a very different character from his predecessor and the politics of England are a little different. Nevertheless, there's no doubt that Henry had an impact.

Henry VIII was one of England's most famous, or infamous, kings. Remembered universally for his six wives, the most important event which King Henry presided over was his break with Papal authority in Rome which established the Anglican Church following that divorce.

There's no doubt that the fascination with Henry's memorabilia continues.

An exhibition of the King's armour at the Tower of London which demonstrated just how much Henry grew over the years from a tall, strapping athlete to a bloated, stomping tyrant provoked huge interest from Britons and tourists alike.

Armour gives a chance to get close to get close to the shapes and sizes of historical figures in a way that paintings do not: armour fits from head to toe and can be neither loose nor chafing. Henry's expansion from 34.7" round the waist to 51" is a matter of historical record - few failed dieters have to suffer that.

Little of Henry's armour has made it onto the private markets, but several documents related to the King have, and of course these too bring us closer to the arrogant monarch. Our experience is that these certainly remain highly desirable.

Indeed Bobby Livingston of RR Auction underlined in our interview with him that King Henry's signatures are exactly the sorts of pieces which an investor could have confidence of retaining or improving their value regardless of the economic climate.

Henry VIII divorce letter
Henry seeks an annulment


We certainly haven't struggled to sell valuable Henry VIII manuscripts on to eager collectors, including a summons to give King Henry advice and a text in arcane language requesting the supply of 'blak bogy' for his musicians.

However, perhaps the most exciting document we have remains available, and it is Henry's personal plea for a divorce from Pope Clement VII. A document which perhaps changed the course of history, paving the way for Protestantism in a way which would greatly influence both Europe and America in decades and centuries to come.


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