Wolsey: Alter Rex or Political Partners?

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Alter Rex- The argument that Wolsey was like a second king and, in some ways, more powerful than the king himself

Political Partners- The argument that Wolsey and the King worked together, but Henry was ultimately in control

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Alter Rex

Built Hampton Court in his own design for himself- when he died Henry moved into it, showing it was fit for a King

Eltham Ordinances 1926, Allowed his to remove those close to Henry without suspicion even though it was for his own benefit.

Court of the Star Chamber, used power to challenge nobles, some believe he used it to get revenge

He broke Church rules, emboding all that was wrong, yet no one picked up on it because of his high position- e.g. not visiting dioceases

Dissloved religious houses to fund expeditions abroad e.g. France and creation of schools

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Alter Rex Continued...

Wolsey earned more than Henry, he was the richest man in England, 10 times richer than his nearest political rival. 
Same amount of household staff as Henry- 500+. Furnishings and clothing of a high standard, rival to any royal court

Treated foreign envoys to magnificant banquets and celebrations- foerign ambassadors always talk about his wealth
Left palace on mule as a churchman, yet surrounded by large and lavishly decked out cavalcade of servants and guards

Polydore Vergil imprisoned on his command-1515. Rumoured involvement in the execution of the Duke of Buckingham-1521

The Treaty of London- Peace organised solely by Wolsey

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Political Partners

1522- Wolsey planned a suprise attack on French Navy, Henry felt this plan was foolhardy and it fell through

1528- Fell out over trivial matter involving appointment on a abbess to the nunnery at Wilton Wiltshire. Wolsey ignored Henry and have to grovel an apologie after

The Amicable Grant 1525- Which Wolsey acted without Henry, causing riots and Henry had to cancel it

Wolsey was of low birth, even though resented by nobles they could not do anthing as long as he had the king's trust

His low birth was Wolsey's defence but also used against him

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Political Partners Continued...

Policies decided by Henry and Wolsey in private

King and Cardinal operated on trust and respect

King respected Wolsey's decisions, would intevened more if he felt it was neccessary

Could not criticise, Wolsey's policies were Henry's policies as he was in charge of him

The execution of the Duke of Buckingham was what Henry wanted, it was Wolsey acting due to Henry's wishes

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