There seems to be quite some affection for Catherine of Aragon, justifiably so, and even testified to by her husband during the trial of their marriage in 1529.
Said Henry VIII of Catherine. ‘ I will in her absence declare unto you all my lords here presently assembled she hath been to me as true obedient, and comfortable wife as I could in my fancy wish or desire,’
Eustace Chapuys was the Imperial Ambassador. In December 1529 he was still new to the court and supported Catherine’s plight. In early December he reported to his master Charles V an incident that perhaps showed Catherine’s feisty willpower and demonstrates Anne Boleyn’s courage. I also think it is a sign of Henry VIII’s subservience to both women.
Henry had dined with Catherine, and she had bent his ear over the break-up of their marriage. ‘As to your almoner’s opinion,’ she railed, ‘in this matter, I care not a straw, he is not my judge.’
Almoner John Longland was Bishop of Lincoln and delegated by Wolsey to set Henry against the validity of the marriage. Chapuys tells of the manner of Henry’s leaving, and later of the king in the company of Anne.
This from the State Papers,Spain
Ouch! That told him!
But can we believe Chapuys, given his favour for Catherine? Well, Anne’s own words, spoken some years later, after the verdict against her, seem to give his account some credence.
Both Catherine and Anne were far stronger women than this ‘tyrant’ man Henry ever was.
But, is the popular preoccupation with Henry's wives to detract from the other important factors involved in the history of the reign?
More on that subject soon.