It was Norfolk's big moment in 1540, and he muffed it.He had a very hard act to follow in Cromwell, one of the ablest administrators and hardest workers in Tudor history, and the disastrous fall of his niece Catherine Howard did not help, but even before the latter event Norfolk's limitations were evident. Henry wound up raging at the Privy Council that they had deprived him of the "best servant" he had ever had, which I think is Henry's sole expression of regret for one of his victims.After Catherine Howard's execution, Norfolk was grudgingly rehabilitated and the rest of Henry's reign is usually represented as a duel between the conservative and reform factions at court, with Henry holding the balance and ensuring no one got a permanent upper hand. Norfolk, Gardiner and Wriothesley were the chiefs of the conservatives, while the remnants of Cromwell's team - Ralph Sadler, Audley, Lisle (later Northumberland) and Archbishop Cranmer, joined by Hertford (Prince Edward's uncle) and Queen Katherine Parr - comprised their Protestant opposition. Charles Brandon and Southampton preferred the middle ground, with friends on either side.
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