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

Authors Avatar by J-Painter0408hotmailcouk (student)

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. However Henry wanted to ensure that his future son would be legitimate to ensure he would be able inherit the throne. This is supported in Source 5 which suggests “From December 1532 Anne’s pregnancy was also a pressing factor. When Henry found out that Anne was pregnant, he desperately needed to secure the annulment with Catherine and was willing to break with Rome to achieve this. Henry passed laws such as the “Act of the Restraint of Appeals”, mentioned in source 5, which stopped Catherine from being able to appeal to Rome. Instead, all cases would now be heard in English courts, which were headed by Thomas Cranmer. This meant that Catherine would never win any of her appeals as Cranmer favoured Henry so heavily. This shows that Henry’s desire for a male heir was the primary reason behind the break with Rome.

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This again can be further supported by sources 4 and 5. Both sources make implications that Henry was reluctant to change.  Source 4 “Henry himself would have denied any accusation that in rejecting the pope he was departing from Catholic orthodoxy” implies that Henry thought that Rome had broken with him, rather the he had broken with Rome. 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 ...

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