Henry VIII and the quest for international influence

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  • The First French War, 1511-12
    • Henry's first taste of war was unsuccessful.
    • Ferdinand made peace with France and Henry felt betrayed.
    • Dorset's troops began to die of dysentery in vast numbers, the commander had little choice but to retreat.
    • Ferdinand used the English invasion as a diversion while he conquered Navarre.
    • Henry believed King Ferdinand of Spain would help England win back Aquitaine in France.
    • Henry's foreign policy aims, 1509-11
      • Henry VII had sought stability in his reign and had allied England with Spain.
        • A move later confirmed by Henry VIII as he married Catherine of Aragon in 1509.
          • Catherine of Aragon was the daughter of Spanish King Ferdinand and the widow of Henry VIII's brother Arthur.
      • Foreign policy dominated the first 20 years of Henry VIII's reign.
      • Henry wanted to win back French territories lost in the previous century.
      • He referred to himself as King of England and France.
      • He found war glamorous and wanted to assert himself as a dashing soldier-king.
      • Henry wanted England to be politically at the heart of Europe.
      • He believed he could exploit the rivalry between the superpowers of Spain and France to develop England's importance.
      • Henry VIII and the quest for international influence
        • War against France and Scotland, 1512-13
          • In 1513 Henry led an army of 30,000 personally into France.
          • War against France
            • Admiral Edward Howard unsuccessfully attacked the French harbour at Brest; he was killed in the fighting and the English withdrew.
              • His brother Thomas was then in charge and he complained that the lack of adequate supplies and poor repair of the ship meant that they could not venture out again until improvements were made; it wasn't until June 1513 that the fleet conveyed Henry's army to France.
            • The English defeated the French at the Battle of the Spurs on 16 August 1513.
            • The English besieged and captured two French towns, Therouanne and Tournai. Henry handed over Therouanne to his ally the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian.
              • Henry kept Tournai, it was well fortified and prosperous, it was easy to defend and potentially worth the effort of doing so.
          • War against Scotland
            • The 22nd of August 1513 saw the Scottish King James IV take advantage of Henry's absence to invade England.
            • There were three lines of English defence, in the North, Midlands and South.
            • Earl of Surrey's troops crushingly defeated the Scots at the Battle of Flodden on the 9th of September.
          • Peace
            • It was agreed that England, Spain and the Holy Roman Empire would continue the war against France.
            • To cement the alliance with Spain, Henry's sister Mary was to marry Charles, the grandson of Ferdinand and Maximilian and ruler of the Netherlands.
              • Ferdinand and Maximilian however, made their own separate peace with France.
            • Henry felt betrayed, so much so that he made his own alliance with France; with King Louis XII, and married his sister Mary to him instead of Charles.
              • Elderly Louis was ill and so, if Mary had a child, she could become regent of France.
        • England at peace 1514-22
          • With his sisters respectively regent of Scotland and Queen of France, Henry's international standing seemed assured,
            • Yet by 1514, things started to unravel
              • Louis XII died
              • His sister Margaret was stripped of the Scottish regency after marrying to Earl of Angus and fled to England.
          • The importance of the Treaty of London
            • The treaty of London was signed in October 1518 between England, France, Portugal, Spain, Denmark, Hungry, the Swiss Republic and various German states.
            • It was a non-aggression pact. They agreed to help each other if they were attacked.
            • The Treaty was seen as a great political achievement; an example of collective security and a sincere attempt to banish war.
            • It seemed to place England at the centre of European affairs, with Henry and Wolsey as the leading figures.
          • Changing relations between Henry, Charles V and Francis I
            • October 1518, Henry sold Tournai back to France for 12,000 livres.
            • Charles V succeeded as the Holy Roman Emperor in 1519.
              • As ruler of both Spain and the Netherlands, his territories encircled France. Henry sought to act as the arbiter between Charles and Francis.
            • Chancellor Wolsey was the prime mover in policies aimed at achieving lasting peace.
              • Henry sought to maintain his international influence through becoming the major peace broker in Europe. In trying to play off Charles V and Francis I against each other, he forgot that they were doing the same thing to him.
          • Defender of the Faith
            • In response to Martin Luther's Ninety-five theses attacking corruption in the Catholic churches, Henry wrote the Defence of the Seven Sacraments, asserting the power of the Roman Catholic faith.
              • In response, the Pope gave him the title of Defender of the Faith. Henry saw himself as a major theologian and defender of Catholicism against attack.
          • Field of the Cloth of Gold
            • Henry met Francis at the Field of  the Cloth of Gold in June 1520. The two young monarchs tried to outdo each other in splendour.
              • A Venitian observer spoke for many in observing "These kings are not at peace...they detest each other cordially".
          • The end of the peace
            • In 1521, Francis attacked Navarre and Luxembourg.
            • 25th of August 1521, Henry signed a secret treaty with Charles V in which he promised to help Charles in his war with France at some future date when he could afford it. Both sought "The Great Enterprise", the downfall of France, but neither monarch trusted the other.
        • Sidelined? England's foreign policy, 1522-29
          • The Duc de Bourbon, Constable of France, rebelled against Francis; looking to Charles and Henry for support.
            • Hoping to win the throne of France for himeslf, Henry sent 100,000 men led by the Duke of Suffolk, to invade.
          • England was still allied with Charles, who continued his war with France, but for several reasons, England could not afford to go to war.
            • The cost was too great; attempts to raise money were disappointing.
              • The failed Amicable Grant of 1525 almost led to rebellion.
            • Henry had little to show for England's efforts.
            • Henry would have been expected to provide supplies for Charles V's army troops.
            • 1525, anxious to secure his dynasty with an heir, Henry was considering a divorce, yet his wife, Catherine of Aragon, was the aunt of Charles V and he would be unlikely to support Henry afterwards.
          • Relationship with Charles V
            • Renewed war between Charles and Francis led to the capture of Francis after the battle of Pavia.
              • Henry felt he could share in the spoils of victory without having to go to war, Charles however ignored Henry's request in peace negotiations. He thought Henry had let him down and marries Isabella of Portugal instead of Princess Mary.
            • The breakdown of relations with Charles put a strain on their marriage. In spring 1527, he told Wolsey he wanted an annulment. Wolsey believed this would lead to a rift with Charles and so began to promote a French alliance.
            • 1526, Wolsey organised the League of Cognac between Italian states and France. Whilst England didn't join in, it did offer financial support.
              • However, Charles' troops proved unstoppable.
                • Under Duc de Bourbon, they invaded Rome on 6th of May 1527 and subjected the city to immense slaughter. The Pope fled and the Venetians asked Henry to intervene, however, by this time, he was too preoccupied by the "Great Matter" of his divorce.
        • Divorce and foreign policy
          • Only the pope could grant a divorce and after the invasion of Rome, he was Charles' prisoner. Henry feared an invasion by Charles.
            • Charles had his own problems.
              • Charles was worried about the encroachment of Turkey into eastern Europe.
              • He was also concerned about Gemany, where many states were adopting the Protestant faith.
              • He could have applied sanctions against Henry, however this would have hurt his subjects in the Netherlands who were increasingly dependant on the English trade.
          • Charles' armies continued their success in Italy, the French were defeated at the battle of Landriano on June 29th 1529. Peace was made at Cambrai.
            • Wolsey wanted to be at the peace making to influence the negotiations, but Henry insisted he remained at home in the Legatine Court trying to arrange the divorce.
          • Henry became preoccupied by seeking support for the divorce. Wolsey had fallen from power 1529, having failed to achieve the divorce.
            • Only the Pope had the authority to declare the marriage invalid due to Catherine's previous marriage to Henry's brother.
          • Relations with France
            • Henry again looked to France for support, the two kings met at Calais in October 1532, where Anne Boleyn was effectively treated as queen.
            • Francis suggested an alliance of France and England and the Pope against Charles.
            • Henry put himself beyond papal support by declaring his previous marriage invalid and marrying Anne Boylen.
            • Events had moved on again with the Reformation developing in England and Henry regarded as a pariah in Catholic Europe.
            • The death of Catherine of Aragon made war less likely as Charles no longer had a personal interest in invasion
              • Moreover, Charles and Francis had become embroiled in a dispute as to who should succeed to the Duchy of Milan; they were too preoccupied to threaten England.
        • The search for a Protestant Alliance, 1539-40
          • In 1539, the Pope had excommunicated Henry and called for his removal. Henry feared invasion.
          • France controlled the entire European coastline opposite southern England and was building a large navy at its shipyards in Brest at Havre de Grave.
            • In response...
              • In 1514 he had 29 ships, by 1539 he had 120 in the mouth of the Thames and 30 in Portsmouth.
              • He began to develop coastal defences often with building materials recycled form nearby monasteries.
              • He offered himself as husband to various French princesses to cement a new French alliance.
                • After seeking alliance through marriage had failed, Thomas Cromwell persuaded Henry that he should seek a Protestant alliance.
                  • In 1539, he began talks with the Schmalkaldic League. However, with the passing of the Six Articles which meant the English Church remained Catholic in theology despite its split from Rome, little came from the talks, except the marriage with Anne of Cleves.
          • Marriage with Anne of Cleves
            • Cleves was a German Duchy in an important strategic position astride the River Rhine. The Duke, William was in dispute with Charles V over ownership of Guelderland in Holland and needed allies, as did Henry, and for this reason, Anne of Cleves was offered to Henry to cement an alliance.
              • For this reason, and incompatibility, he divorced Anne of Cleves soon after marrying her.
  • Cleves was a German Duchy in an important strategic position astride the River Rhine. The Duke, William was in dispute with Charles V over ownership of Guelderland in Holland and needed allies, as did Henry, and for this reason, Anne of Cleves was offered to Henry to cement an alliance.
    • For this reason, and incompatibility, he divorced Anne of Cleves soon after marrying her.

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