• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How important was the failure to achieve annulment of Henry VIIIs marriage to Catherine of Aragon in causing Wolseys fall from power?

Extracts from this document...


Faye Dixon How important was the failure to achieve annulment of Henry VIII?s marriage to Catherine of Aragon in causing Wolsey?s fall from power? (24 marks) Sometime between 1521 and 1525, Henry VIII made the decision that he would have to obtain the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, it was becoming clear to the king that his wife was not going to produce a male heir, the biological clock was ticking and furthermore Catherine was becoming physically less attractive. Although the Queen had some influence over the King previously, which Wolsey resented, this was slowly deteriorating, and although Henry was a very strong catholic, he became convinced that marrying Catherine had been a big mistake, and against the law of God. Wolsey?s job therefore, to help achieve this annulment seemed crucially important to his position, as if he failed, he would fail the King, whos favour he needed. On one hand, Wolsey?s failure to achieve annulment of Henry VIII?s marriage was very important in causing his fall from power. Once Henry had decided to proceed with the annulment known as the ?Great Matter? he presumed that swift success was guaranteed, Wolsey advised the King that all ...read more.


Wolsey was always aware that his survival depended on keeping the kings favour, in 1515-27 he had successfully limited the influence that others could have over the King, including his own wife Catherine of Aragon, and even she resented this. But his main rival was Anne Boleyn, who was partly the reason for the King to wish for an annulment to his marriage, this along with the fact that Anne?s political allies were the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, suggests that if Wolsey had not failed to achieve an annulment then he would not have been the guilty party for every setback, showing that Wolsey?s failure to achieve annulment was greatly important to his fall in power. On the other hand, both Wolsey and Anne fought to get their ?own men? into the privy chamber hoping to monopolise influence over the king, when Henry favoured Anne?s candidate for the position of Abbess of Wilton, Wolsey claimed to be unaware of the King?s wishes, which was not a suitable excuse for a man who was meant to be the King?s Chief Minister, suggesting that even before the annulment Wolsey?s relationship with the King was being strained, the nexus of power was ...read more.


with Henry VIII had weakened, and without a strong relationship with the king, he would find himself in a very weak position. Overall, although Wolsey?s failure to get annulment was quite important in causing his fall in power, it was not the most important issue, the Cardinal needed the trust and favour of the King to achieve anything, and without it, the King would not delegate power to Wolsey as he would first need to prove that he could achieve the King?s demands. Failure to achieve annulment was not the first time Wolsey had failed in achieving the King?s desires, the Cardinal had successfully managed to isolate England, and lose valuable monies, which subsequently weakened his relationship with Henry and lead him to be less inclined to confide in or ask Wolsey to do anything, furthermore, Wolsey became less and less popular with both society and the nobles, who Henry also needed to please, as a consequence, the King would be less likely to be as close to Wolsey in fear of society and the nobles disliking him, this may also be a reason why Henry VIII decided to distance himself from the Cardinal and delegate less power to him. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The most important reason for Wolseys fall from power was his failure to obtain ...

    5 star(s)

    when Henry had to step in and remove the subsidies because they was widespread discontent. So because Wolsey showed lack of care for Henry's popularity, Henry may have removed Wolsey for issues regarding popularity. Wealth could have also played into this because of the fact that both men were hungry for expense.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Assess the view that Henry VIII's wish for a male heir was the main ...

    3 star(s)

    He also took into account Tyndale's theories which stated that the King should have the overall power. Some Historians have stated that Henry really did lover Anne Boleyn and therefore was desperate for a divorce and therefore had to break from Rome.

  1. Assess the view that Henry VIII's wish for a divorce was the main reason ...

    Henry wished to hold back the Pope's influence in England. The Pope was, for example, the sole leader of the beliefs of the new Church of England.

  2. Anne Boleyn - A queen who inspired a revolution.

    before and would go to all costs to ensure he made the first move and took control of the situation. Thomas wanted to remove Anne from the equation and at the same time, Henry wanted to remove her from the throne, following this realisation, Anne Boleyn followed a dramatic downfall.

  1. Henry VIII'S Foreign Policy.

    Charles V proved that he was the successor to Ferdinand and Maximilian in more ways than their thrones: he was just as manipulative, self-interested and unreliable as they had been. For example, rather than capture Boulogne, which had always been the most realistic and useful target of English foreign policy

  2. Do you agree with the view that the main reason for Wolseys fall from ...

    As Henry began to lose faith in Wolsey his failure to solve the Great Matter may have been the final straw and so caused his fall. Alternatively the annulment may have been a test by Henry to see if Wolsey had in fact lost his touch.

  1. Explain why Henry VIII wanted to end his marriage to Catherine of Aragon in ...

    The final argument for Henry?s divorce is his conscience. Linking back to Henry?s need for a legitimate heir he began to feel doubts as to Mary?s legitimacy ? was King Francis right?

  2. How successful was Wolseys foreign policy in satisfying the ambitions of Henry VIII in ...

    It was a grandiose scheme? intended to bind the 20 leading states of Europe to perpetual peace with one another. The plan was for all those states with an active foreign policy not only to commit themselves to non-aggression, but to promise to make war on any ruler who went

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work