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Access the view that Henry VIII's wish for a divorce was the main reason for the Break with Rome.

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Introduction

Access the view that Henry VIII's wish for a divorce was the main reason for the Break with Rome. Although it is fair to say that a number of important factors ultimately resulted in Henry's desire for a Break with Rome, it is clear that Henry's wish for a divorce from Catherine of Aragon to ensure a male heir was the key underlying motive throughout the saga. Henry's desire for power and financial gain are still both extremely important aspects of the debate, but it is certainly arguable that these are secondary ambitions which gained prominence as the events unfolded. For many years it had been clear that Henry strongly desired a male heir to the throne. It was also becoming clear that Catherine of Aragon was growing too old to bear him a child that he craved, and Henry saw this as a sign from God that his marriage to Catherine was unholy, with this point being reinforced by Catherine's miscarriages. ...read more.

Middle

Historians also argue that Henry's desire for financial gain was also an important factor which led to his desire to obtain the Break with Rome. Firstly, the Act in Restraint of Annates, which had initially began as a threat in 1532, was put into place in 1534. The initial aim was to persuade the Pope into granting the divorce. However, by 1534 it was clear that this was not going to happen and so Henry was implementing policies to ensure a Break with Rome. Ultimately, this means that by the time it was passed, the Act was no longer a way of threatening the Pope into granting a divorce. Instead, it was Henry simply take control of the Pope's income and so it is therefore reasonable to suggest that by 1534, financial motives for a split had crept into Henry's thinking. This was again shown in 1534 by the Act for First Fruits and Tenths. This provides a further example of money that was formerly sent to the Pope becoming an additional income for Henry. ...read more.

Conclusion

Consequently, if the Pope had granted the annulment in the first place, Henry's desire for a male heir could have been rectified and the desires for power and money would never have been allowed to evolve. On balance, it has become clear that the way in which the events unfolded affected why Henry was so keen for the Break with Rome. Initially at least, there is strong evidence to suggest that Henry's only real motive was to obtain the divorce and produce a male heir. However, as the years rolled by it is suggested that the reasons behind the events developed. The concentration of legislation passing between 1532 and 1534 suggest both that Henry was becoming more desperate and also that a lust for power and money were now providing the fuel behind the events that both introduced and secured the Break with Rome. Therefore to conclude, although it is certainly possible that Henry's strong initial desire was for a divorce and to obtain a male heir, but once he realised the possibilities that lay before him in gaining power within the Church and increasing his income drastically to enable his exuberant lifestyle these motives expanded and diversified. ...read more.

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