Henry 8th foreign policy.

Henry 8th foreign policy.


  • The capture of Tournai and Therouanne in 1513 was a reflection of Henry's strong Renaissance kingship. The territories were not viewed as permanent acquisitions but rather as useful bargaining tools in any future relations with France.
  • Wolsey was a successful peace broker and the Treaty of London was viewed as his single greatest achievement. The treaty bound 20 foremost states in Europe together in a pact of perpetual peace. London was at the center of international relations and importantly England was no longer isolated. Further events, such as Field of Cloth of Gold enhanced English prestige.
  • Wolsey and the king conducted a flexible and reactive foreign policy. Wolsey recognised the need to ally effectively with powerful countries in order to preserve English security. Wolsey intended to make peace with charles but also kept communications open with France.


  • Henry's aims and ambitions were often unrealistic. Englands resources were small compared to her European counterparts. Henry was naive to think that he could regain the crown of France. In, short english foreign policy was costly, short sighted and out of date.
  • Henry's campaigns had few gains. The French campaigns of 1512-13 were expensive and ultimately of little long term value. Tournai and therouanne which Henry gained through the battle of the spurs cost more to run than Henry actually earned from them. Henry spent 1.4 million fighting wars 1511-25. He squandered the financial legacy left to him by his father. The increasingly high cost of warfare meant that Wolsey had to call upon a parliamentary taxation and forced loans. Ultimately, the crown faced serious domestic disturbances in Suffolk and East Anglia as a consequence of the Amicable Grant 1525.
  • He was out done by other more experienced monarchs in the early part of his reign. This can be seen by Ferdinand of Aragon using English troops in Aquitaine as a diversion so that he could capture Navarre.Both Ferdinand and Maximilian signed separate treaties with the French and often operated behind Henry's back in their own interests.
  • Wolsey's diplomatic revolution failed because it gave him little chance of attaining an annulment of Henry's marriage to Catherine. After 1526 wolsey hoped that the french would regain the upper hand in northern italy, freeing the papcy from imperial obligations and allowing Clement VII to decree the marriage null and void. Wolsey backed the wrong side, a point confirmed by the sack of Rome in 1527.


The failures of foreign policy massively outweighed the failures. Although Henry did have some successes in his foreign policy, they were only small compared to the failures. 


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