11th July 1533 – Henry VIII’s Marriage to Anne Boleyn Declared Null By the Pope

On the 11th July 1533, Pope Clement VII declared that Henry VIII’s marriage to Anne Boleyn was null, that Henry was still married to Katherine of Aragon and threatened the King with excommunication if he did not leave Anne and return to Katherine. However, Henry would not back down even though the sentence of excommunication was suspended until September 1533, so that Henry could make the arrangements. It is recorded in Letters and Papers:

‘Sentence of Clement VII. against Henry VIII., declaring his divorce from Katharine and marriage with Anne Boleyn null ; and pronouncing the King to have incurred the greater excommunication, but suspending the declaration of the same till the end of September.

The Pope also goes on to mention that all children that Henry has with Anne Boleyn are illegitimate, yet Henry would still find his own way around this with the Act of Succession in March 1534. This made the Princess Mary illegitimate and ensured that the succession would pass through the children of Anne, not Katherine.


LP vi. 807

Ibid., 808


Picture of Pope Clement VII.



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