Henry VIII - Early Years

Henry's aims, ambitions and achievements during the early years of his reign.

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  • Created by: Tiula
  • Created on: 12-03-11 12:37

Dynastic Policy -- Aims


  • a bride
  • an ally against France
    • Henry wished to be like the warrior kings of old, exerting his power over France in a blaze of glory
  • an heir, a son if possible

  • to marry a princess
    • not English -- would raise another noble family too high, giving them dynastic claim to the throne

  • to "cut a dash"
    • wants to be seen as a glorious and wonderful king
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Dynastic Policy - Achievements

  • married Katherine of Aragon -- 1509
    • beautiful
    • daughter of King and Queen of Spain - useful ally
    • Arthur's wife
    • in many respects, an ideal bride

  • birth of Prince Henry -- 1511
    • male heir

How successful?

-- not very: although he married successfully, gaining a bride, he did not fufil his most important requirement, which was getting a son.

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The Nobility - Aims


  • to establish new and better relationships with the nobility
    • better relations than Henry VII had had
    • needed their support for war

  • to keep a good reputation with the Council
    • mainly made up of skilled conservative gentry
    • Henry wanted war; Council not in favour

  • to participate in court events
    • desired to be a participator, unlike his father
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The Nobility - Achievements

  • executes Empson and Dudley -- 1510
    • show that he's new and different
    • to get rid of hated figures

  • cancelled bonds and recognisances

  • abolished Council Learned in the Law
    • unfair and controversial law court of Henry VII

  • Great Council summoned

  • oyer et terminer sent out
    • investigated recent offences to ensure a fair decision had been taken

  • calls Parliament -- 1510

  • participates with the nobles                                 (cont'd) 
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The Nobility - Achievements (ii)

How successful?

-- very successful. Quickly liked by most nobles.

-- when he finally fights in Calais, every able and fit nobleman supports him with troops

-- however, he was not successful in persuading the Council to go to war until 1511

(NB: The Council and The Council Learned in the Law were not the same!!!)

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Foreign Policy - Aims


  • war with France
    • traditionally, English kings were titled "King of England, King of France and Lord of Ireland".
    • Henry wanted to assert his claim to France
  • to keep England safe from Scotland
    • the "Auld Alliance" between France and Scotland traditionally stated that when England was fighting France, the Scots would attack in the North
    • Henry needed to ensure that whilst he was fighting France, the North of England was well defended
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Foreign Policy - Achievements

  • Holy League against France -- 1511
    • gives Henry the excuse he needs to attack
  • marriage to Katherine -- ally in Spain

  • Campaign in Spain -- 1512
    • army go to Spain with plans to invade South West France
    • drinking and defecating; little attacking
    • utter failure of campaign

  • Attack of Northern France -- 1513
    • landed in Calais with 25,000 men and 23 nobles
    • Therouanne captured
    • Battle of the Spurs
      • rout
      • 6 standards, 1 duke, 1 marquis and the vice-admiral captured
      • ransomed back to France
    • Tournay captured
    • expensive; the towns were described as "ungracious dogholes" 
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Foreign Policy - Achievements (ii)

  • The Battle of Flodden Field -- 9th Sept 1513
    • Auld Alliance - Scotland attacked with Henry away in France
    • James IV invades North of England
    • great victory at Flodden Field
      • James IV killed
      • 12 earls and 10,000 Scots killed
      • BUT not Henry's victory; Katherine and Earl of Surrey ruling
  • Anglo-French Treaty -- 1514
    • two powers at peace
    • Henry to keep Therouanne and Tournay
    • Henry to receive a pension from France
    • Louis XII to marry Henry's sister, Mary

 How successful?

-- not very; cost to crown was £922,000 1511-14, wasting the reserves of Henry VII, gained very little.
-- only great successes: Spurs (which was a rout, not a glorious battle) and Flodden Field (which was not Henry's victory) 

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