The Divorce of Catherine of Aragon: The Story as Told by the Imperial Ambassadors Resident at the Court of Henry VIII

By J. A. Froude | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER II.

Mission of Wolsey to Paris -- Visits Bishop Fisher on the way -- Anxieties of the Emperor -- Letter of the Emperor to Henry VIII. -- Large offers to Wolsey -- Address of the French Cardinals to the Pope -- Anne Boleyn chosen by Henry to succeed Catherine -- Surprise and displeasure of Wolsey -- Fresh attempts of the Emperor to bribe him -- Wolsey forced to continue to advocate the divorce -- Mission of Dr. Knight to Rome -- The Pope at Orvieto -- The King applies for a dispensation to make a second marriage -- Language of the dispensation demanded -- Inferences drawn from it -- Alleged intrigue between the King and Mary Boleyn.

IT was believed at the time -- and it was the tradition afterwards -- that Wolsey, in his mission to Paris, intended to replace Catherine by a French princess, the more surely to commit Francis to the support of Henry in the divorce, and to strengthen the new alliance. Nothing can be inherently more likely. The ostensible reason, however, was to do away with any difficulties which might have been suggested by the objection of the Bishop of Tarbes to the legitimacy of the Princess Mary. If illegitimate, she would be no fitting bride for the Duke of Orleans. But she had been born bonâ fide parentum. There was no intention of infringing her prospective rights or of altering her present position. Her rank and title were to be secured to her in amplest measure.

The Cardinal went upon his journey with the splendour attaching to his office and befitting a churchman who was aspiring to be the spiritual president of the two kingdoms. On his way to the coast he visited two prelates whose support to his policy was important. Archbishop Warham had been cold about

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