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Vatican selling replicas of historic annulment plea from Henry VIII

June 23, 2009

The Vatican has produced 200 painstakingly accurate duplicates of a 1530 document in which the House of Lords appealed to Pope Clement VII to annul the marriage between King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. The documents will reportedly offer the parchments for sale to collectors at a price of €50,000 (about $70,000).

The plea from the House of Lords, written in Latin on a long parchment, is one of the most important documents in English history. After the Pope rejected the plea, insisting that the king's marriage was valid, Henry VIII declared himself the head of the Church in England.

Inaccurate rumors about the document surfaced earlier this year. In April, when Prince Charles visited the Vatican for a private audience with Pope Benedict XVI, the London Times reported that the Pontiff would present the prince with a copy of the 1530 petition. That report was quickly contradicted by the Vatican. Such a gift would have been perceived as an affront, particularly in light of the fact that Prince Charles also obtained a highly publicized divorce.


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