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How Successful Was Henry Viii's Foreign Policy Under Cardinal Wolsey?

1225 words - 5 pages

How successful was Henry VIII's Foreign policy under Cardinal Wolsey?Cardinal Wolsey was a trusted servant to King Henry VIII. He was appointed Lord Chancellor on Christmas Eve 1515; this in effect gave him great power over the king's government in areas such as foreign policy, religion, and politics. Foreign policy at this time was built upon the need for dynastic security; this would ensure that Henry cemented himself as ruler of England. Henry became further and further obsessed with the need for this security and he felt the only way this could be done was through an incontestable heir, this would exclude rivals from civil war. As Henry's scheme for a daughter had failed, he turned his attention to a male heir, which would provide "Greater Security" (1) to the English throne. It was during the autumn of 1525, when Tudor foreign policy was largely reconsidered then redirected that Henry decided for a permanent break with his wife Catherine of Aragon. This would have serious implication on the success of foreign policy and relations with the pope. Due to this "relations with Spain were cool or hostile; his relations with the pope were wholly concerned with the annulment of his marriage" (2).However in the same year dynastic security was improved, through the treaty of Moor House, this ended the declared state of war between France and England.From 1526 onwards the annulment of marriage between Henry and Catherine was the single aim of English Foreign Policy. The success of this dispensation relied on diplomatic interests within Italy, where the League of Cognac were battling against the Hapsburgs for power. The pope at this time was pope Clement; however he did not care for justice in his decision concerning the dispensation, rather he valued the controversy. After all this gave great influence over Charles V of Spain and Henry VIII and the longer the pope prolonged the decision, the longer he had both men on his side. "... In order to nourish the controversy for a while as means for maintaining in obedience the disposition of the kings" (3).So was Henry VIII's policy to annul Catherine a Success?The successfulness of this would be down to three factors. Firstly, how best to state the marriage with Catherine was null or void. The second factor was to create military conditions within Italy that would leave the pope to nullify the marriage and thwart opposition from Charles V, Catherine's nephew. While the third factor was to create diplomatic conditions, which would impel pope Clement to make declaration of nullity in defiance of the Spanish armies within Italy. Outlining these factors was well and good; however the implementation of these would prove a great deal more challengingHenry's position during 1526 remained intractably adverse. The league of Cognac failed to weaken the Spanish grip on Italy during the summer months. This may have proven costly as seemingly to only way to obtain a papal declaration of nullity was through defeating the...

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