On December 26, 1503, Pope Julius II issued a dispensation for the young Prince to marry the widowed Catherine of Aragon, who was six years the boy's senior. Henry VII had desired this dispensation for his heir, since he wished to preserve the marriage alliance with Spain. The dispensation was necessary because it was questionable according to the laws of the Roman Catholic Church whether a man could marry his brother's widow. Young Henry initially rejected the idea of the marriage, however, formally protesting it in June 1505. He would later change his mind and marry Catherine after he acceded to the throne, in part because it was his father's dying wish that he would do so, and also because he, too, eventually saw the political benefits of marrying the daughter of the Spanish monarchs, King Ferdinand I of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile. As long as Henry VII lived, however, the marriage did not take place. During his teenage
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