Wolsey Served Henry VII Well - Tudor History - Essay

1121 words - 5 pages

'Wolsey served Henry VIII well but served himself even better' Assess the validity of this view in the context of years 1509 to 1530

In some ways, Wolsey served Henry VIII well, which could be outlined by Wolsey's success in foreign policy. Wolsey was a successful peace broker; the Treaty of London 1518 was his most tremendous success, binding twenty countries together in peace. London became the center of peace, leading to England no longer being in diplomatic isolation. This shows Wolsey's strength and dedication to work through the treaty, establishing his serving Henry by giving him what henry is aiming for, which is International support. Notably, other events that backed up the idea are The Field of the Cloth of Gold, which added to the prestige of England abroad. Although England had meager resources and a relatively low income, Wolsey could still create a flexible and reactive foreign policy. Wolsey was able to ally effectively with powerful countries to ensure that English security and interests were protected, which as well known, was one of henrys top priorities suggesting that Wolsey was doing this to please Henry VIII.
However, this viewpoint can be limited because there are several things that Wolsey did to gain power and wealth for himself. It can be argued that Wolsey was only out for himself, in that Campeggio was not allowed to enter England in 1518 until Wolsey had the position of Legate. The pope later confirmed him, suggesting his silent manipulation of gaining power and therefore serving himself. Furthermore, Henry VIII's aims for foreign policy were unrealistic. England's resources were small compared to the others, and it was naïve for Henry to think the crown of France could be regained. Wolsey knew that he could use Henry's wants to manipulate into gaining power, such as becoming papal Legate.
It can be concluded that Wolsey did serve Henry well by, for example, completing some of the king's aims, such as the Treaty of London. However, it could be argued that hijacking the pope's plans with the treaty of London drew attention to himself as a peacemaker of Europe. The field of cloth of gold could also be seen as a promotion of himself.
In some ways, Wolsey served Henry VIII well, especially in domestic and foreign policy, for the part that in 1526 he told the Eltham Ordinances to lay out the methods for organizing the chaotic finances in Privy Chamber and for making kings' households more efficient; this meant that Wolsey's interference was purely to make the system of finances easier and therefore giving Henry a greater understanding of what is going on. In foreign policy, Wolsey had to face the difficulties of establishing the influential role of England in Europe, as Henry desired so much. For example, Wolsey found the Treaty of London, where somehow Wolsey turned everything out, meaning that England was acting as a peacemaker; this made Henry feel like a strong king who was his desire and had also overcome ...

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