Henry Viii Timeline

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HENRY VIII AND FOREIGN POLICY

Introduction

 Henry VIII was an ambitious aggressive monarch. Unlike his father Henry VII, whose interests were mainly defensive, Henry VIII was an interventionist. He wanted to raise England’s profile in European power politics and was prepared to go to war to capture French territory.

 He saw himself as the equal of Francis I of France and Charles V of Germany and wanted to show off England's power by claiming that England held the balance of power between them.

 His chief minister, Wolsey, the humanist, wanted the glory of international diplomacy but wished to avoid the waste of war. His quest for peace, helped to dampen Henry’s martial ambitions.

 During Wolsey’s period of high office, England only went to war once – in 1523. Wolsey probably spent more time on foreign affairs than on domestic issues.

Relations with France

1513 War with France: Why?

 Henry VIII wanted glory. He wished to renew the Hundred Years War with France. In 1422 Henry VI of England was proclaimed king of France; by 1453 the English had been expelled from France, except for the port of Calais. Henry wished to reassert his claim to the throne of France.

 Within weeks of his accession, Henry married Catherine of Aragon in order to renew England’s alliance with Spain. Spain might be the ally England needed.

What happened?

 Wolsey organized the expedition. Henry led 30,000 men and captured the towns of Therouanne and Tournai. The French were forced to flee after a skirmish known as the Battle of the Spurs.

Impact of war

 Henry’s success made him ambitious to continue with direct involvement in European politics. This set the tone for the future.

 The nobility received rewards and titles after the victories.

 Wolsey emerged as the man to whom Henry would entrust the running of the kingdom.

Peace and glory…...

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