- Anonymous1 decade agoBest answer
the "great matter" referred to Henry's desire for a divorce from his first wife, Katherine of Arragon. Henry believed that he had committed a sin against God by marrying his brother's widow, despite a dispensation from the pope and her own solemn oath her marriage to Arthur was not consummated. By interpreting a bible passage (roughly - "marrying your brother's wife means you will be cursed with no children") Henry insisted that his lack of a male heir (all that was really important) was this "curse". Wolsey named this problem "the great matter" as he began to investigate ways to end Henry's marriage and free him to marry Anne Boleyn (although Wolsey did not know about Anne and, indeed, when first Henry muttered about this "great matter" was before he was truly in love with the lady anne.)
- tjcmstablesLv 41 decade ago
Apparently Henry VIII's great matter had to do with his strong desire to have a son to inherit the throne from Henry VIII. To accomplish this he used his power to annul his first marriage and the marry Anne Boleyn. He went on to have four more wives and in order to accomplish this broke all ties to the Catholic Church in Rome with the Pope. He then passed laws to make himself the supreme leader of the Church of England. He was second only to God.Source(s): Wikipedia. Typed in Henry VIII. Quite interesting reading.
- misslaveauLv 41 decade ago
The "King's Great Matter," as it was called, referred to his dilemma in divorcing his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. He had been married to Catherine for around 20 years, but before that, she had been his older brother's widow. Although they received a papal dispensation, Henry's conscience became troubled (or so he claimed). He believed that his and Catherine's lack of a male heir was evidence of God's displeasure with his marriage. Also, he really really wanted up Anne Boleyn's skirts. So his great matter became his pursuit of the divorce, which would eventually take years, split the country apart, kill some of the greatest minds of his time, and lead to the Reformation. Great Matter, indeed.
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- 4 years ago
The unification of Britian. It sounds ironic, given that the establishment of Anglicanism caused such great conflict. But at the end of that conflict, everyone was united in a common religion and common language (one of the probs with Anglicanism was the Book of Common Prayer, which caused people of Wales, Kent, and Cornwall to have to learn English). This was a process he started, probably not over till the reign of Liz 1, but it was among many things Henry did that raised England from second-class nation to world power.
- 1 decade ago
His great matter was the feeling that in marrying his brother's wife he had done something terrible and for that reason had been unable to produce a male heir that survived. He had a female child with Catherine of Argone that during her reign as queen became known as Bloody Mary. He divorced Catherine thereby breaking with the Catholic church and beginning the Church of England. He had fallen for a young Anne Bolyn. He had a female heir with her who became Queen Elizabeth the first. He had Anne beheaded after only 3 years. His 3rd wife Jane Seymour finally produced a male heir but she died, I believe in childbirth. His last 3 wives produced no further heirs to the thrown. He divorced his 4th wife, beheaded the 5th and the 6th actually managed to survive him.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
I've always wondered what would have happened if Henry had actually liked Anne of Cleves. She was young, from fertile stock and may have produced more children.
If Cleves had another son or two, they would have taken over when Edward died and Elizabeth might never have been queen.
- BryceLv 71 decade ago
That expression relates to Henry's need for a male heir, and his rejection and ultimate divorce from his forst wife, Catherine of Aragon. This situation lead directly to the dissolution of ties between Great Britain and the Roman Catholic Church, and the establishment of the Church of England.
Thanks, I learned something new today!
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- Anonymous1 decade ago
I don't understand your question. Did you mean to say "what was Henry VIII gray matter"? I'm not sure how much of that he used.