The Tudor Society

23 March – Who’s queen: Catherine of Aragon or Anne Boleyn?

On this day in Tudor history, 23rd March 1534, the Pope issued a bull proclaiming Catherine of Aragon to be England's true queen and Mary the heir to the throne, while the English Parliament declared Anne Boleyn to be England's rightful queen and her daughter, Elizabeth, the heir. Weird!

In today's video, I explain what was going on and what the 1534 Act of Succession stated.

Also on this day in history:

  • 1540 – The Dissolution of Waltham Abbey, the last abbey to be dissolved by Henry VIII. Click here to read more.
  • 1596 – Death of Sir Henry Unton (Umpton), soldier, member of Parliament and diplomat in the reign of Elizabeth I. He died after being taken ill with “a violent, burning fever” after accompanying Henry IV of France to the siege at La Fère. His body was returned to England, and he was buried in Faringdon, at All Saints' Church.
  • 1628 – Death of Robert Daborne, playwright. In his later years he took up holy orders and was Dean of Lismore, where he died in 1628. His works included “A Christian Turn'd Turk” and “The Poor Man's Comfort”.

There are 2 comments Go To Comment

  1. R

    Confused? You will be after this week’s episode of King Henry’s Annulment and the Succession.

    The Parliament of Henry Viii had no right or legitimate authority to declare his marriage null and void as the Pope has a higher authority and Katherine had appealed to Rome. He should have done it sooner but now Henry had two wives and two Queens. What were people meant to believe? The King’s law said one thing and God’s Law in the representative of His Church said another thing. It is little wonder Thomas More called this Act a double edged sword “for if a man answers one way he loses his life, if he answers another, he loses his soul”. What a terrible and confusing dilemma and both women had been crowned as well which made them both Queens and Katherine never ceased to be called Queen. English Law now said Henry had one wife, the law of the Church said he had one wife, but a different wife, his first. Henry had married Anne before his annulment, so he had two wives for a time at least. Yet, Henry believed he had only ever had one wife, his present wife and Queen, until the next one, then Jane was his only ever wife and Queen, but Jane wasn’t crowned and some saw that as significant as well when it came to the succession. The sensible thing to do was in 1544 when the Third Act of Succession made Edward, Mary and Elizabeth Henry’s heirs, even though his daughters were not declared legitimate again. I think I am very confused in 1534.

    1. C - Post Author

      I know! I don’t suppose the average peasant really understood what was going on, or was bothered, as s/he just got on with their lives, but for courtiers it must have been a nightmare.

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23 March – Who’s queen: Catherine of Aragon or Anne Boleyn?