It still amazes me how one man could be denied a divorce that was easily obtained by most nobles by means of various loopholes in the canon law. The intense corruption of the Catholic Church meant that such dispensations were easily achieved by rich and powerful nobles, but the same backfired on Henry. The Great Matter was divided in two phases, one when Henry tried to get Rome’s support for his divorce, and the next phase when he tried to get the work done in England by Englishmen. Wolsey was in charge of the first phase, and Cromwell of the second, bringing about the fall of the former and the rise of the latter.
On 28th June, 1491, at Greenwich Palace, a baby boy was born. However, there was little by way of fanfare to herald the birth of what would turn out to be one of England’s most famous and notorious monarchs; for the baby born that day was the future King Henry VIII himself. In fact, so insignificant was the birth of Prince Henry his grandmother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, barely made mention of the event, and even added a correction to the date later on. However, this can be forgiven. As Prince Henry was the second son (and third child in all) of Henry VII and his queen consort, Elizabeth of York, rendering him relatively dynastically unimportant.