henry viii - background

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  • Henry VIII
    • Personality
      • Different to Henry VII?
        • Henry VIII had smooth succession when father died (21 April 1509)
          • welcomed by nobility and nation due to determined character
        • VIII had been trained to be King - made Duke of York and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland at young age
        • Rejected father's defensive policy - wanted to be an 'imperial' King
          • Chose traditional, costly policy - e.g French Crown - wanted to emulated Henry V's English victory at Agincourt through military expedition
      • Strong or weak? (HD)
        • Strong: determined, self-assured character. 'Puppeteer' for appointing talented politicians and administrators
          • e.g Wolsey, Thomas More, Cromwell. King also involved in direction of gov and foreign policy affairs followed his aims
        • Weak: easily manipulated by nobility/lovers (unlike father). Reactive not proactive in gov and foreign affairs. Lacked vision meaning he didn't control events; they controlled him.
      • 'Renaissance Prince'
        • Handsome - over 6ft - great pride
        • Courts of Renaissance princes, costume important aspect of courtly magnificence - image projected by King
        • Henry wanted his court to reflect a Renaissance royalty - place of magnificence - spent lavishly on courts (like Henry VII) to emp Renaissance credentials + impress
          • e.g temp palace near Calais to impress French King, Francis I
      • Interests and Religion
        • Educated (Astronmy, latin, french, complimented musician)
          • Henry enjoyed having a good time - he let others do all boring administrative stuff - Henry VIII only let nobility close to him (unlike dad)
            • Religious beliefs - mother Margaret very religious - key believer of Divine Right of Kings
          • Enjoyed honourable ideas of chivalry and importance of kingly values - image of 'perfect knight' very fashionable - motivated by traditional concerns - nobility, jousting and battlefield
    • Aims
      • Military glory - like Henry V
      • Secure French Crown
      • Keep Netherland links - cloth trade
      • Secure dynasty
      • Collect French pension
      • Compare well with other monarchs - rivals Charles V (S), Francis I (F)
    • Henry's role in Government to 1529
      • 1514-29 - Rise of Wolsey
      • Henry's early actions:
        • Execution of Empson and Dudley: Henry VII's financial advisors - VII had them executed for treason - used as scapegoats for unpopular aspects of VII's policies
        • Marriage to Catherine: within days of VII dying, Henry announced his decision to marry Catherine of Aragon. Marriage useful for Henry to demonstrate his fidelity and strengthening the dynasty


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