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The most important reason for Wolseys fall from power was his failure to obtain a divorce for Henry VIII- How far do you agree with this statement?

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'The most important reason for Wolsey's fall from power was his failure to obtain a divorce for Henry VIII'- How far do you agree with this statement? Due to Wolsey's constant victories, he was able to sustain power for 15 years, outlasting the King's other advisers. Yet unlike his role as 'alter rex' his fall was swift and dramatic, which came after his failure of obtaining Henry's divorce from Catherine of Aragon. In regards to this, it seems clear that this is the reason why Wolsey fell from power, yet there are possible contributing factors that one must take into consideration. One reason is that Wolsey was undoubtedly unpopular in court throughout his time. Within his time at court he acquired many enemies such as the King's minions because of his less than wealthy upbringing. This may have impact the king due to the closeness of him and the minions- who were influencing the King to oppose Wolsey. This is evident in his rivalry against the Duke of Norfolk and Suffolk who were the figureheads in the Tudor court. ...read more.


and the Treaty of London (1518), in addition to the many wars with France and Scotland helped him remain in power as it brought the King what he had wanted. Wolsey's naturally intelligent nature supplied him with the managing of getting Henry popularity from abroad as the Field of the Cloth of Gold and Treaty of London both show. The Field of the Cloth of Gold gave Henry the chance to show his wealth whereas Wolsey's decisive thinking in the treaty of London gave Henry international popularity; it was even described as a 'glittering success' by Susan Doran. The wars helped Henry establish England as a worthy foreign power which again was one of his aims. Due to these many successes, Henry believed he could entrust Wolsey, which is the reason as to why he did not listen to enemies of the Cardinal, in addition to the fact that Wolsey, on the whole, was delivering to Henry what he wanted. However, during the later years of the Cardinal's position, Wolsey had more trouble in meeting the King's ever expanding requirements. ...read more.


In addition to the marriage, factions at court related to this. Due to the Boleyn faction at court, Wolsey had major opposition, and because of Henry's infatuation with Anne Boleyn, the faction (including Duke of Norfolk) had the upper hand over Wolsey, thus providing a contributing reason for his downfall. To conclude, Ultimately the King's great matter of 1527 onwards was the most important reason for Wolsey's downfall because it was the most important matter that related to the King regarding his personal needs; a wife and a male heir he so desperately desired. Despite this being the main reason, it is true that his unpopularity was a factor that contributed. His many enemies at court provided reasons for Henry to remove him but he didn't because Wolsey was able to do what Henry asked. However, when he failed, Henry took into consideration these enemies, especially the Duke of Norfolk because of his family ties with Anne Boleyn. Therefore Wolsey's ultimate downfall was the failure of the divorce but his unpopularity and minor failures such as the subsidies were contributing factors. ...read more.

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5 star(s)

This is a concise and accurate response with clear understanding of events and sound evidence. The author is able to weigh up the relative importance of factors to reach an impressive conclusion. 5 out of 5 stars.

Marked by teacher Natalya Luck 26/07/2013

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