A report on Anne Boleyn and Annulment

Near contemporary portrait of Anne Boleyn at Hever Castle, c. 1550
Anne's sister Mary Boleyn
Claude of France, wife of Francis I. Anne served as her maid of honour for nearly seven years.
An early-20th-century painting of Anne Boleyn, depicting her deer hunting with the king
Catherine of Aragon, Henry's first wife and queen
Henry VIII, by Hans Holbein the Younger, around 1537
Anne Boleyn's coat of arms as Queen Consort
Bishop John Fisher, by Hans Holbein the Younger. Fisher refused to recognise Henry VIII's marriage to Anne Boleyn.
Greenwich Palace, also known as the Palace of Placentia, after a 17th-century drawing
Henry's reconciliation with Anne Boleyn, by George Cruikshank, 19th century
Jane Seymour became Henry's third wife shortly after Anne's execution.
Thomas Cromwell, Anne's one-time strong ally, with whom she clashed over foreign policy and the redistribution of church wealth. Portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger, c. 1532.
Anne Boleyn in the Tower by Édouard Cibot (1799–1877)
Thomas Cranmer, who was the sole supporter of Anne in the council
Grave marker
St Mary's Church, Erwarton, Suffolk, where Boleyn's heart was allegedly buried

Henry soon focused his desires on annulling his marriage to Catherine so he would be free to marry Anne.

- Anne Boleyn

These marriages were to Catherine of Aragon (on the grounds that she had already been married to his brother—although this annulment is not recognized by the Catholic Church); Anne Boleyn (on the grounds that she had allegedly seduced him with witchcraft and was unfaithful—not wishing to execute his legal wife, he offered her an easy death if she would agree to an annulment); and Anne of Cleves (on the grounds of non-consummation of the marriage and the fact that she had previously been engaged to someone else).

- Annulment
Near contemporary portrait of Anne Boleyn at Hever Castle, c. 1550

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Queen Catherine c. 1520

Catherine of Aragon

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Queen Catherine c. 1520
Queen Catherine c. 1520
Portrait by Juan de Flandes thought to be of 11-year-old Catherine. She resembles her sister Joanna of Castile.
Portrait of a noblewoman, possibly Mary Tudor c. 1514 or Catherine of Aragon c. 1502, by Michael Sittow. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.
16th-century woodcut of the coronation of Henry VIII of England and Catherine of Aragon showing their heraldic badges, the Tudor Rose and the Pomegranate of Granada
Henry VIII at the time of their marriage
Catherine watching Henry jousting in her honour after giving birth to a son. Henry's horse mantle is emblazoned with Catherine's initial letter, 'K.'
The Trial of Queen Catherine of Aragon, by Henry Nelson O'Neil (1846–1848, Birmingham Museums)
The Lady Mary, Catherine and Henry's daughter
Statue of Catherine at Alcalá de Henares
Grave of Catherine of Aragon in Peterborough Cathedral
Catherine of Aragon's arms while queen

Catherine of Aragon (Catalina; 16 December 1485 – 7 January 1536) was Queen of England as the first wife of King Henry VIII from their marriage on 11 June 1509 until their annulment on 23 May 1533.

By 1525, Henry VIII was infatuated with Anne Boleyn and dissatisfied that his marriage to Catherine had produced no surviving sons, leaving their daughter Mary as heir presumptive at a time when there was no established precedent for a woman on the throne.

Portrait of Henry VIII after Hans Holbein the Younger, c. 1537–1562

Henry VIII

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King of England from 22 April 1509 until his death in 1547.

King of England from 22 April 1509 until his death in 1547.

Portrait of Henry VIII after Hans Holbein the Younger, c. 1537–1562
The meeting of Francis I and Henry VIII at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520
Henry with Emperor Charles V (right) and Pope Leo X (centre), c. 1520
Portrait of Anne Boleyn, Henry's second queen; a copy of a lost original painted around 1534.
Portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger, c. 1537
Portrait of Anne of Cleves by Hans Holbein the Younger, 1539
Portrait of a woman believed to be Catherine Howard, Henry's fifth wife, by Hans Holbein the Younger, 1540
Catherine Parr, Henry's sixth and last wife
Henry in 1540, by Hans Holbein the Younger
Coffins of King Henry VIII (centre, damaged), Queen Jane (right), King Charles I with a child of Queen Anne (left), vault under the choir, St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, marked by a stone slab in the floor. 1888 sketch by Alfred Young Nutt, Surveyor to the Dean and Canons
Musical score of "Pastime with Good Company", c. 1513, composed by Henry
Catherine of Aragon watching Henry jousting in her honour after giving birth to a son
Cardinal Thomas Wolsey
Thomas Cromwell in 1532 or 1533
Gold crown of Henry VIII, minted c. 1544–1547. The reverse depicts the quartered arms of England and France.
King Henry VIII sitting with his feet upon Pope Clement VI, 1641
A 16th-century depiction of the Parliament of King Henry VIII
Henry's Italian-made suit of armour, c. 1544. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Depiction of Henry embarking at Dover, c. 1520
The division of Ireland in 1450

In 1525, as Henry grew more impatient with Catherine's inability to produce the male heir he desired, he became enamoured of Mary Boleyn's sister, Anne Boleyn, then a charismatic young woman of 25 in the queen's entourage.

With the chance for an annulment lost, Cardinal Wolsey bore the blame.