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Henry VIII





A Question of Divorce In 1511 Henry joined in the Holy League against France and in 1513 he led the English forces through a victorious campaign in northern France . Meanwhile France’s ally James IV of Scotland , Henry’s brother-in-law , led an invasion of northern England that was crushed in September 1513 at Flodden Field by Henry’s commander Thomas Howard , 2nd Duke of Norfolk with the death of the king and many Scottish nobles . Deserted by his allies , Henry arranged a marriage in 1514 between his sister Mary and Louis XII of France , with whom he formed an alliance . Louis’s successor , Francis I , met Henry at a magnificently stages meeting on the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520 but no significant political decisions resulted . In 1521 Henry arranged the death of his counsellor Edward Stafford , 3th Duke of Buckingham , one of the few nobles with a potential claim to the throne . In 1525 riots broke out in England in protest against an attempt by Henry to levy taxes for military purposes and he withdrew from major military activity in Europe . In 1527 Henry announced his desire to divorce his wife , on the grounds that the papal dispensation making the marriage possible was invalid . The chief reason for the divorce was that Catherine had failed to produce a male heir . Her only surviving child was Mary later Mary I of England . In addition , Henry was in love Anne Boleyn , a young and beautiful lady-in-waiting of the queen . Several obstacles however stood in the way of the divorce . Holy Roman Emperor Charles V , Catherine’s nephew , strongly opposed the divorce , and Pope Clement VII , whom Charles had made a prisoner could not invalidate the marriage without displeasing his captor . In 1528 the pope was persuaded to appoint Henry’s chief minister , the English cardinal and statesman Thomas Wolsey , and Lorenzo Camppegio , a papal legate , to try the case in an English legatine court . In 1529 the pope summoned the case to Rome . When the prospect of securing a papal annulment seemed hopeless , Henry dismissed Wolsey , who died soon after in disgrace , and appointed the humanist scholar and statesman Sir Thomas More as Lord Chancellor . The latter , however , was reluctant to support the divorce . The Break with the Papacy Henry now preceeded to dissolve one by one the ties to the papacy . With the aid of parliamentary legislation , he first secured control of the clergy , compelling that group in 1532 to acknowledge him as head of the English Church . In the following year Henry secretly married Anne Boleyn , who was crowned Queen after Henry’s obedient Archbishop of Canterbury , Thomas Cranmer , declared the marriage with Catherine void and that with Anne valid . An act of succession affirmed the declaration of the archbishop and established Anne’s progeny as heirs to the throne . Henry’s new chief minister Thomas Cromwell , a former follower of Wolsey , began a reform of the English Church but also of governmental machinery : introducing important centralizing and organizational changes dubbed by some “the Tudor revolution in government” . Although Hehry was immediately excommunicated , he repudiated papal jurisdiction in 1534 and made himself the supreme ecclesiastical authority inEngland with the aid of compliant bishops such as Stephen Gardiner . The English people were required to affirm under oath Henry’s supremacy and the act of succession . However , early hopes by Protestant radicals such as William Tyndale to introduce the Reformation into England were broadly thwarted : apart from the issue of papal supremacy Henry remained conservative in matters of doctrine . Nonetheless , an English translation of the Bible by Miles Coverdale was officially published in 1535 .


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