In June 1525, Henry VIII celebrated his thirty-fourth birthday, and Catherine of Aragon began her forty-first year. There was probably no prospect of her bearing another child, which meant there would be no male heir.
Abetted by Wolsey, John Longland, Henry’s confessor and Bishop of Lincoln, consoled the king.
Catherine’s inability to produce a male heir, Longland sympathised, was not Henry’s fault. Longland referred him to the Old Testament, Leviticus, chapter twenty verse sixteen, which reads, ‘If there is a man who takes his brother's wife, it is abhorrent; he has uncovered his brother's nakedness. They will be childless.’
Longland reminded Henry that of course, he did already have a son, who was English and was of Henry VIII’s own blood – of that there was no doubt. The king, whose mind until now had been undisturbed by notions of divorce, made the decision that Henry Fitzroy would be the next King of England. Fitz (son) roy (of the king) would become King Henry IX. At about the time of his sixth birthday, on 7 June 1525, Henry Fitzroy was elected Knight of the Garter; he was subsequently installed on the 25th. On 18 June, he was created Earl of Nottingham, and later on the same day, he received a previously-unheard-of double dukedom: Richmond and Somerset. From those two titles, he was endowed with lands from which revenues amounted to £4,845 in the first year alone. Next, on 22 June, he was appointed as Warden General of the Marches towards Scotland. Then, on 16 July 1525, he became Lord Admiral of England.