Henry VIII Foreign Policy

Henry's Foreign Policy Aims

·         Before 1527: wants to establish himself as a strong European Monarch

·         From 1527: the ‘Kings great matter’ (having a son)

·         1540s: Warrior king and taken over France

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French Invasions 1512 and 1513

·         1512 – Sent a substantial army of 10,000 men to southwest France under the command of Marquis of Dorset

·         1513 – Henry led a force to North eastern France

How Successful?

·         The first invasion was just a failure and the second Geoffrey Elton said it was nothing more than a futile slideshow

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Successes and Failures of the French Invasions


·         1513 – Successful in not only winning the Battle of Spurs but also in capturing the towns of Therouanne and Tournai


·         1512 – Achieved nothing and was used by Ferdinand as a diversionary tactic while he successfully conquered Navarre

Almost bankrupt Henry

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Battle of Flodden, 1513

·         September 1513 Scottish army invaded England

·         England got a small army together and defeated them

·         Invaded as English troops were occupied in France

How successful?

·         Missed opportunity to take land from Scotland due to rule by infant king

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Successes and Failures of the Battle of Flodden


·         Many of the Scottish nobles were killed including James IV

·         Left an infant king on the throne


·         Henry did not take advantage of infant Scot king

·         War was costly

·         In danger of causing more rebellions back in England

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Treaty of London, 1518

·         Pope Leo X worried about spread of ottoman power

·         Wolsey called all major powers of Europe to settle their differences and live under universal peace

·         Over 2 dozen countries signed the resulting treaty committing them to avoid war or risk being attacked by the rest of the signatories

How successful?

·         Never intended to stop was just wanted the fame

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Successes and Failures of the Treaty of London


·         A crude balance of power was the be established across Western Europe which would prevent conflicts of the type seen since 1494 in Italy

·         Instant fame to England


·         Francis and Charles were direct opposition to each other and war was only a matter of time

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Field of Cloth of Gold, 1520

·         Meeting held over 2 weeks in June 1520 between Henry and Francis

·         Close to Calais

·         Cost £15,000

How successful:

·         Nothing positive came from it only Henry ability to show off his ‘wealth’

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Successes and Failures of the Field of Cloth of Go


·         Showed off Henry’s wealth


·         No agreement

·         Francis decided to side with Charles

·         Was expensive

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French Invasion, 1523

·         Forced a serious rebellion which gave Wolsey fresh hopes of a successful invasion of France

·         Duke of Bourbon would raise a revolt in Southern France

·         Henry and Wolsey sent an army to France in August

·         Bourbon failed to raise a revolt and fled to exile

How successful?

·         All the positives of this event are overwritten by the failures that England gained which means that the invasion was no where near to being a success and instead just caused more problems for Henry

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Successes and Failures of the French Invasion 1523


·         Secret negotiations for peace were opened with France

·         Signed Treaty of Bruges – peace


·         Cost £400,000

·         Negotiations achieved little

·         Did not meet with such enthusiasm in England

·         Made no territorial gains

·         Lack of supplies and bad weather

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Battle of Pavia, 1525

·         After the failed invasion of France in 1523 Wolsey began to look for peace between England and France

·         On 24th February 1525 the army of Francis I battled with Charles V’s forces in Northern Italy

·         10,000 French soldiers were killed, and Francis was captured

This changed the balance of power in Europe

How successful?

·         Still hope and a chance yet he was being used by Charles who was supposed to be supporting him

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Successes and Failures of the Battle of Pavia


·         August 1525 – the treaty of the more was signed

·         Treaty of Bruges

·         Henry receiving pension from Charles instead of Francis

·         Mary became engaged to Charles


·         Charles had used England to distract France and was not prepared to give anything in return

·         Amicable grant

·         Henry received no help or support from Charles in France

·         When Charles captured France Henry received no land

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Sack of Rome, 1527

·         In May 1527, Charles V’s troops ‘sacked’ the city of Rome

·         This led to the imprisonment of the Pope, Clement VII

·         Pavia had caused Europe to be controlled by Charles V and now this event meant he controlled the Catholic Church

How successful?

·         No successes and the Catholic Church was now against Henry

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Successes and Failures of the Sack of Rome


·         Henry had tried to get an annulment of his marriage

·         Papal dispensation would normally be a small matter, but Charles totally opposed the idea of divorce

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Treaty of Cambrai, 1529

·         Francis again tried to invade Italy in 1528 and reached Naples

·         In the Battle of Landriano in June 1529 Charles was victorious

·         The Pope made peace with Charles in the Treaty of Barcelona and then with Francis in the Treaty of Cambrai

·         Henry and Wolsey were left stranded

How successful?

·         Two most powerful countries are joined together against Henry

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Successes and Failures of the Treaty of Cambrai


·         Henry and Wolsey were left stranded

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