From The New York Times:
“Henry VIII will be spinning in his grave!” said the headline in The Daily Mail, a British tabloid.
Hampton Court Palace, where the Tudor king, Henry, broke off ties with the papacy in 1530 just to divorce his first wife and marry his mistress — with whom he was besotted and whom he later beheaded — on Tuesday held its first Roman Catholic service in more than 450 years.
During the service, held in the palace’s Chapel Royal, chants in Latin from an 18-person choir swelled up toward turquoise ceilings, adorned with golden stars and gilded cherubs. Around 350 attendees were packed into tiny wooden pews.
A procession of altar boys and priests solemnly made its way toward the front of the chapel as the scent of incense wafted across the ancient hall. The Medieval Latin chants date to before the Protestant Reformation, when they were heard throughout churches in Europe.
The service symbolized in part a growing reconciliation between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church. Both are grappling with internal divisions, including a battle over homosexuality, and the service came as several high-profile figures, including some members of the royal family and former Prime Minister Tony Blair, have left the Anglican Church. (In 2011, a ban on a British monarch’s marrying a Roman Catholic was lifted after more than three centuries, but Roman Catholics are still barred from taking the throne.)
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