To what extent were the factions in control of Henrican government between 1540 and 1547?

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To what extent were the factions in control of Henrican government between 1540 and 1547?

On the surface it appears that Henry was a temperamental declining monarch by 1540, who was out of touch with the countries politics surrounding him. It seemed that after Cromwell' s execution there was competition for power between the leading factional members. Yet in actual fact Henry was not what he seemed; he was sharp in playing the 'political game' to get what he wanted as much as the factions.

The two main factions were the 'Conservatives' and the 'Progressives' (or Radicals). The Conservatives were a faction whose main objective was to encourage the Catholic Counter-Reformation, but also to acquire personal gain at the same time. They also strongly believed in the removal of 'low-born servants who surrounded the king and who prevented the true nobles from occupying their rightful place in the affairs of the state' (i.e. Thomas Cromwell). Members included the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl of Surrey and Wriothesley (Lord Chancellor). The Progressives were the opposing faction who had contrary aims. These were to promote Protestantism. Members included the Duke of Hertford, Archbishop Cranmer and Sir Anthony Denny.

In the final years of Henry's life he was in much pain due to swelling of his legs, he was overweight, he was also suffering from brain damage and a vitamin deficiency. These all contributed to his temper and appearance and it is for this reason that he was involved less with the politics of the country. The factions felt that they could obtain control of this situation and be responsible for the running of the country and putting events for their own favour. Now that Cromwell had fallen and Henry had not created another chief minister, there were no further advisors for Henry, which led him to the factions. The factional members were also 'wily', experienced and ruthless by this time; they knew Henry would not last long and would only leave a minor on the throne, which encouraged them.
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The Conservatives started on a good base by managing to remove Cromwell from power and by putting Catherine Howard on the throne. This point immediately assumes the idea that the factions had power, and were sneaky about using it, for these events mirror the ones of 1536 when Anne Boleyn was put on the throne as part of factional tactics. The plot involved Howard (the 19 year old daughter of the Duke of Norfolk's younger brother) having a romantic affair with Henry and ensuring that he was fed misinformation about Cromwell. Yet Howard 'lacked any political sense' and ...

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