Thomas Wolsey's fall from power

Topics: Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII of England, Catherine of Aragon Pages: 4 (1400 words) Published: October 10, 2013
The most important reason for Wolsey’s fall from power was his failure to obtain a divorce. How far do you agree? Wolsey was a cardinal and statesman, Henry’s lord chancellor and most faithful servant, whom he was most reliant upon. From 1515 to 1529 Wolsey’s rule was undisputed. Henry VIII delegated more and more state business to him, including near complete control of England’s foreign policy. Wolsey’s finest hour was arranging the Field of Cloth of Gold. Wolsey used his wealth to indulge his passion for building, his grand style of living made him increasingly unpopular. Wolsey’s failure to arrange an annulment for Henry was quickly followed by his downfall. In this essay I will look how far this was the main reason for his collapse from power. Wolsey’s fall corresponded with the fact that he could not get a divorce from the pope. Henry desperately wanted a son and argued that his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, with whom he had a daughter, was not lawful. He asked Wolsey to use his influence in Rome to get a papal annulment of Henry’s marriage so that he could remarry. Only the Pope could dissolve marriages, nevertheless Wolsey was confident that such an outcome would be speedily achieved. At an early stage he assured him that there would be no difficulty in meeting his requirements., thus such annulments were relatively commonplace. In addition Wolsey was one of the most influential men in the Church and was owed favours by many of those who advised the Pope in matters. Both Henry and Wolsey believed this would be a quick and easy affair. Things did not go as planned. Catherine maintained that she was Henry's legitimate wife and queen, and that she had come to him a virgin, meaning her marriage to Arthur was not consummated. The fact that she was both unwilling to accept what Henry was proposing and her popularity with the people meant that she posed a blockade to Henry's wishes. There were those in England who supported Catherine’s viewpoint. One was...
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