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Letter from Henry VIII to Wolsey

Letter from Henry VIII to Wolsey

Shelfmark: Cotton Ms. Vespasian F iii, f.73

Though disappointed at the sex of his new child, Princess Mary, born on 18 February 1516, Henry VIII told the Venetian ambassador that he and Katherine were both young and that, by the grace of God, sons would follow. 

In this letter, written to Thomas Wolsey in June 1518, Henry confides hat ‘I trust the quene my wyfe be with chylde’. Henry explains that it was partly due to Katherine’s ‘dangerus tymes’ that he was reluctant to allow her to travel to London from Woodstock, where they were staying. No doubt remembering past unhappy experiences, Henry adds: ‘my lord Iwrytt thys unto nott as a ensuryd thyng, but as athyng wherin I have grette hoppe and lyklyodes’. 

In November 1518, Henry’s hopes for a legitimate male heir to ensure the Tudor succession were once again crushed when Katherine gave birth to a still-born girl.

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