The Matrimonial Trials of Henry VIII

by Henry Ansgar Kelly

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These are the trials that arguably changed the course of English history and subsequently redefined the course of Western Civilization.  These trials led to England's permament break with the Catholic Church and contributed to the success of the Protestant Reformation.  The marriages, divorces, annulments, and beheadings that were central to the notorious life of King Henry VIII, the subject of this book, may represent the nadir of this medieval institution. Henry’s first marriage alone generated three trials, all of which were essentially ecclesiastic. Because marriage was regarded by the church as eternal and divine, the ecclesiastic laws regarding the validity of marriage were crucial.  The Church could not give religious sanction to Henry's actions and Henry refused to bend his will to the Pope.  The result, while servicing the whims of a great historical villian, unleashed forces in England that set it on a path towards greater freedom and prosperity.  Henry's daughter, from his second marriage, became Queen Elizabeth, who initiated what many historians believe to be a golden age in English history.


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