How successful was Henry VIII's Foreign policy under Cardinal Wolsey?

Essay by simonjmcCollege, UndergraduateA-, April 2004

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How successful was Henry VIII's Foreign policy under Cardinal Wolsey?

Cardinal Wolsey was a trusted servant to King Henry VIII. He was appointed Lord Chancellor on Christmas Eve 1515; this in effect gave him great power over the king's government in areas such as foreign policy, religion, and politics. Foreign policy at this time was built upon the need for dynastic security; this would ensure that Henry cemented himself as ruler of England. Henry became further and further obsessed with the need for this security and he felt the only way this could be done was through an incontestable heir, this would exclude rivals from civil war. As Henry's scheme for a daughter had failed, he turned his attention to a male heir, which would provide "Greater Security" (1) to the English throne. It was during the autumn of 1525, when Tudor foreign policy was largely reconsidered then redirected that Henry decided for a permanent break with his wife Catherine of Aragon.

This would have serious implication on the success of foreign policy and relations with the pope. Due to this "relations with Spain were cool or hostile; his relations with the pope were wholly concerned with the annulment of his marriage" (2).However in the same year dynastic security was improved, through the treaty of Moor House, this ended the declared state of war between France and England.

From 1526 onwards the annulment of marriage between Henry and Catherine was the single aim of English Foreign Policy. The success of this dispensation relied on diplomatic interests within Italy, where the League of Cognac were battling against the Hapsburgs for power. The pope at this time was pope Clement; however he did not care for justice in his decision concerning the dispensation, rather he valued the controversy. After all...