This paper re-examines three of the major arguments on the validity of Henry VIII's first marriage, suggesting that, though the king misplayed his cards, he held a much better hand than his contemporary or modern critics have allowed. With a better presentation of his cause, an unbiased court might well have concluded that, on canonical principles and precedents, the union with Katherine should not have been permitted.Unfortunately for Henry, however, even such a favourable verdict could have failed to free him from his Spanish consort.
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