The new monarchy
Henry VII is less known than Henry VIII or Elizabeth I but he was more important in establishing the new monarchy.
Henry VII firmly believed that war and glory were bad business, and that business was good for the state. Henry had more power and more money than earlier kings. His aim was to make the crown financially independent. When he died in 1509 he left a huge amount of money. The only thing on which he was happy to spend money was the building of ships. Henry VIII was quite unlike his father. He was cruel, wasteful with money, and interested in pleasing himself.
Henry VIII was always looking for new sources of money. He disliked the power of Church in England because, since it was an international organization, he could not completely control it.
In 1531 Henry persuaded the bishops to make him head of the Church in England, and this became law after Parliament passed the Act of Supremacy in 1534. The break with Rome was purely political. He wanted to control the Church and keep its wealth in his own. He used the Parliament to make the break legal. Through several Acts of Parliament between 1532 and 1536, England became politically a Protestant country, even though the popular religion was Catholic. After the acceptance of the Reformation Henry closed monasteries and other religious houses. Monks and nuns were thrown out. The dissolution of the monasteries was probably the greatest act of official destruction in the history of Britain.
Elizabeth I became queen when Mary died in 1558. She wanted to find peaceful answers to the problems of English Reformation. She wanted to bring together again parts of English society which were in religious disagreement. And she wanted to make England prosperous. She considered trade the most important foreign policy matter, and also encouraged merchant expansion. She recognized Spain as her main trade, rival and...