Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Question from Annina - Political impact of Henry's wives

hello, i need your help!

for my oral exam i need informations about the political impact of the first two wives of Henry VIII! i hope you can help me!



Lara said...

Annina, that's kind of a broad question... could you narrow it down some and maybe fill us in on what information you already have?

kb said...

What books have you already looked at? Or movies?

Anonymous said...

Well, in a nutshell, Katharine of Aragon was a Spanish princess who had already been married to Henry's brother Arthur, so although most people liked her, there were some who thought it wrong for a man to marry his brother's widow (it says so in the Bible). Also, this created an alliance with Spain against France. At that time, England, France and Spain were the 3 great powers of Europe, so any alliance between 2 of them could possibly bring about the downfall of the 3rd. This was a potentially dangerous time for France. After a short war against them, they eventually all made friends in The Field of the Cloth of Gold, though there was still widespread unease between the countries, especially when one French ambassador questioned the legitimacy of Princess Mary (the brother's widow + Bible story again). As for Anne Boleyn, when Henry proposed divorce with Katharine in order to marry Anne, Charles V of Spain went mad (Katharine was his aunt) and held the Pope hostage to make sure that he refused the divorce. The Pope did refuse, so Henry broke from Rome, though, contrary to popular belief, he continued all his old Catholic practices. The only difference was he was now Supreme Head of the Church instead of the Pope. Henry divorced Katharine and married Anne (who was already pregnant with Elizabeth) as planned. Many of the people of England did not like the new arrangement and rebelled, and were often hung, drawn and quartered or burned alive. One such person was Thomas More, who escaped lightly as he was beheaded. Spain remained enemies with England, and though France supported the match at first, after a time it created an alliance with Spain against England, and even thought about marrying a French prince to Mary, showing that they believed in her legitimacy. That was the reason why Henry married his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, because she was the sister of an important German duke, who would make a good alliance with England against France and Spain. That was why Henry was so eager to treat Anne of Cleves well even when divorcing her (he gave her the title of King's Sister, as well as various houses and lands), because he knew he needed to retain his alliance with the Duke of Cleves against France and Spain, who could both be very dangerous enemies.