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Do you agree with the view that the break with Rome was brought about primarily by Henrys desire for a male heir?

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Introduction

The break from Rome was brought about by many factors. The first of these factors and the most important is Henry?s desire for a male heir which is supported in sources 4 and 5. Other factors which may have also played a part are Henry?s idea of a royal supremacy, supported in source 6. However it can be debated as to whether the other factors were Henry?s main reasoning behind the break, or whether his desire for a male heir was the most prominent reason. Firstly source 4 strongly supports the claim that the break with Rome was brought about primarily by Henry?s desire for a male heir. The source says ?Henry VIII wanted a divorce? and that this ?saw a breach with Rome?. The reason that Henry wanted this divorce is that Catherine was no longer of an age to have children and as they had not had a son, Henry started to worry that he would not have an heir. By divorcing Catherine, Henry would be able to marry Anne Boleyn, who was able to have children, and get the heir that he so desperately wanted. ...read more.

Middle

Source 5 ?Henry delayed for three years before cutting England?s legal ties with Rome? shows that he was reluctant. Henry did seem to want to obtain a divorce through Rome; however both of the sources suggest that Henry was forced to make the changes due to his desire for a male heir. Further evidence which supports the view that Henry still wanted to obtain his annulment through Rome was the fact that the Act in Conditional Restraint of Annates was conditional. This shows that Henry was still reluctant to completely go against Rome as he wanted to gain his annulment legitimately. Only when it became crystal clear to Henry that he would not be able to secure his annulment through Rome, due to Charles? power over the pope and the fact Catherine was Charles? aunt, did Henry resort to breaking with Rome. It can therefore again be said that Henry?s unquestionable desire for a male heir was the primary reasoning behind his break with Rome. On the contrary to this, sources 5 and 6 both have implications that suggest there were other reasons behind the break with Rome. ...read more.

Conclusion

Despite this primary motivation behind the break with Rome was the fact that Henry desired a male heir. Sources 4 and 5 both indicate Henry?s reluctance to break with Rome, but his need for an heir drove him to make the break. Henry continuously piled pressure on the pope to attempt to allow him his annulment, showing his reluctance to break with Rome. Henry established a reformation parliament as a last resort and continually tried to use Wolsey to attain the annulment legitimately, an example being the Blackfriars court case. The Royal Supremacy was only brought forward due to the need for a divorce and so this cannot be seen as a primary motivation, thought it did play a part. In addition to this fact source 6 is an unreliable source as it is biased whereas the information given in source 4 and 5 is balanced and very reliable which adds to the weight of the source. This is because they are written by historians who would not have been bias and as they are not written during Henry?s reign, they would be fearful of upsetting him. ...read more.

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