Henry VIII personal divorce plea (1491-1547) (PT248)



Henry VIII was created Prince of Wales after the death of his older brother Arthur, Prince of Wales.

A special dispensation from Pope Julius II was necessary in order to allow him to marry his brother's widow, Catherine of Aragon.

However, Catherine, his first wife, failed to provide Henry a male heir to survive to adulthood. And by 1529 Catherine was deemed too old to have more children.

Henry VIII's greatest desire was to secure an annulment to his marriage so that he could marry Anne Boleyn and produce a male heir.

When it was suggested to Catherine that she quietly retire to a nunnery she steadfastly refused.

Henry VIII set his hopes of an annulment upon an appeal to Pope Clement VII.

The Pope was at the time a prisoner of Catherine's nephew, The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, following the Sack of Rome in 1527, and this prevented him from annulling the marriage.


This one page letter measuring 12.5 x 15.5 is written in Latin and dated January 18 1529.

View full translation

This historically significant correspondence represents Henry VIII's attempt to advance his plans to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn.

Unable to make contact with The Pope, Henry VIII writes to Cardinal Benedetto de Accolti, the Bishop of Ravenna.

Henry sends a recommendation for his envoy Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire (and curiously the father of Anne Boleyn) to be sent to represent him in discussions with Emperor Charles V.

The letter is in very good condition, with professional repairs and reinforcement to intersecting folds on reverse, scattered light toning, minor edge wear, and a few small areas and pin holes of paper loss (primarily from ink erosion).

The signature is extraordinarily bold and dark, and, given its age, the document is exceedingly bold for display.

The basic message of this royal piece - heavily dressed in a formal tone - essentially sends the recipient the good wishes of His Royal Highness, expresses a desire for mutual co-operation between the two factions, and asks that note be taken of the ambassador he is sending - the father of Anne Boleyn.

Under pressure from Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, The Pope's inability to grant Henry VIII's request for an annulment changed the History of England forever.

In an interview with the Associated Press in June 2009 David Starkey, a British Historian, TV presenter and Tudor expert, said:

"It is an event of enormous magnitude, the most important event in English history," 

"This is the moment at which England ceases to be a normal European Catholic country and goes off on this strange path that leads it to the Atlantic, to the new world, to Protestantism, to Euro-skepticism."

This is Henry VIII's personal attempt to seek an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

Dated January 18 1529 and signed by Henry VIII.


This document represents the beginning of one of the most significant events in British history.

Documents of this significance are rarely available on the collectors market. The Vatican Secret Archives hold a document measuring 3 foot x 6½ foot, dated 1530, sent by members of England's House of Lords to Pope Clement VII supporting the divorce from Catherine of Aragon.

It is considered a crucial document in the King's battle to divorce his first wife.

It's also the most expensive piece of merchandising in the Vatican. Copies of the document can be bought in the gift shop for €50,000 ($75,000). Not surprisingly the original is safely locked away and deemed priceless.

What we are offering today is a totally unique item, arguably of greater importance.

For Sale: £275,000


PLEASE NOTE: This item qualifies for our unique 120% guarantee. Please click here for full details

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For further information please email adrianroose@paulfrasercollectibles.com or telephone +44 (0) 117 933 9503


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