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History Assignment - Theme 1

To what extent was Wolsey to blame for the failure of Henry VIII’s annulment to Catherine of Aragon?

Answer: The part of Cardinal Wolsey in the annulment of marriage between Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon has been a topic of huge debate for centuries. Wolsey had been Henry VIII’s most loyal minister and his rule from 1515 to 1529 had been undisputed. The fall from power at this stage seemed like a huge misfortune but just how much of it was cardinal Wolsey’s fault it cannot be said. Cardinal Wolsey had been the king’s most reliable henchmen and had control over the nation’s foreign policy. It is unlikely that he would not abide by the wishes of his ruler. A deeper look into this segment of history reveals various perspective that could shed a light on the aristocratic putsch that led to ultimate downfall the kin’s most loyal servant.

Cardinal Wolsey did not have the absolute power to annul a marriage the way the pope did. The pope had a papal infallibility that could not be questioned. When Henry VIII accused the papal dispensation of being invalid in case of his marriage to Catherine Howard. He proclaimed that the marriage had been sinful and which is why he did have any sons because of the displeasure of god with him. Wolsey was partially to blame for slowing down the procedures of the annulment, this can also be seen as a contributing factor since he still went along with the King’s wishes.

The Most important aspect of this entire debacle was the delay in decision making that planted seeds of weariness and resentment in the king’s heart. Wolsey had not been wrong in assuming that the emperor’s situation should be dealt with the top most clergymen. But his folly was in appointing pope Clement VII who immediately dismissed Henry’s testimony that regarded the marriage as invalid. Queen Catherine was regarded as the most pious, religious and remarkable individual and it unlikely that the clergy men would try to potentially destroy her life because of King Henry VIII desire to marry Anne Boleyn. May believed that the claims of invalidity were fake and simply the king’s desire to annul the marriage in order to marry the much younger Anne so that he could have a son who would later become an heir to the throne.

From the beginning despite cardinal Wolsey’s best of efforts to follow his king’s order, decisions were delayed. In particular when the Pope had instructed the Cardinal to delay his journey, further strengthening the argument that if it were not for the Pope’s decision of prolonging the Legatine hearings, perhaps Wolsey could have accomplished Henry’s aim to dispose of Catherine This also proved to work in favour of Catherine who was not ready to give up. Queen Catherine nephew, holy roman emperor Charles V was also involved in this delay as he had exerted a lot of pressure on the pope in Rome.

Cardinal Wolsey could not have predicted the outcome as Pope clement VII clearly stated that the king could not annul the marriage on the accord of impediment previously dispensed. The pope was under a lot of pressure but he also knew that king was trying to annul the marriage by being consistent with catholic faith. But the appal infallibility dictated that a monarch could not violate catholic doctrine and bring disgrace and condemnation by the pope.

It can be emphasized that these delays meant that Henry and Wolsey were encouraged to become exhausted and eventually give up on the annulment which was partly transpired by Clément’s measures of failing to obtain the divorce despite being ordered by Wolsey to carry on the final conclusion.

The church sent the king a letter on January the 5TH, 1531 forbidding him to remarry under the penalty of excommunication. Therefore, his reason to not be involved could be due to having to announce publicly that the pope before him was wrong in marrying Henry and Catherine as Henry’s reason for the annulment is that he believes his marriage to be illegitimate. Consequently, Wolsey may appear to be the one to blame as he appointed Clement.

Nevertheless, Wolsey could have been depicted as the easier target to blame for failing Henry due to his dispute with Anne Boleyn as she posed a threat. Although it is worth acknowledging that it was her past which got in the way of her disliking of him due to his anger of her betrothal from Henry Percy, an earl who was paged to Wolsey in 1523. This conflict of interest suggests that she disliked him from the start, implying she became angered, as she wrote to him ‘plans you have broken and spoiled.’ She convinced herself and Henry that Cardinal Wolsey could not secure the annulment. 

History Assignment - Theme 2

To what extent was Campeggio to blame for the failure of Henry VIII’s annulment to Catherine of Aragon?

Answer: In the 1520s, King Henry VIII had grown extremely unhappy in his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. By then they had had eight children out of which only one Princess Mary (born 1516) surviving infancy. The king had always wanted a male heir to stabilize the future succession of the thrown as he had known the implications of having a female heir through previous examples. His reasons for seeking annulment were both private, emotional and political, but he hid them behind the garb of state concerns. The truth was he had been infatuated with Anne Boleyn, a young lady of the court who insisted that he make her his wife. This led to a length legal battle that concerned the top most clergy and rulers across nation and led to endless delays in political procedures.

King Henry VIII exercised an immeasurable amount of power in during his rule but there are certain legalities imposed by the church and Rome that simply cannot be superseded. And despite the best of efforts of the King and Wolsey their manipulations and ulterior motives could not actually manifest in the way they wanted it to.

Cardinal Campeggio was the legate appointed by Pope clement VII to oversee the and hear the annulment request and proceeding of king Henry VIII. Pope clement was extremely aware of the temperament and force that the rulers on both sides were exerting on him and he decided to employ Cardinal Campeggio at the very tuning point when he knew that the delays would result in the failure of the annulment.

The ultimate turn of events cannot be categorised as Cardinal Campeggio’s fault as he was also under pressure from the pope. The queen’s nephew, Charles V had sacked the city of Rome and held the pope as a prisoner. In any other circumstance, cardinal Wolsey would have appointed 3-4 clergymen who would have ultimately taken a decision in favour of the emperor and made some quick moves but Charles and his royal court Of Spain believed and fought for the rights; of their aunt sating that she could not be denied her right to the throne for a woman like Anne Boleyn. So, what did the church do? it delayed all procedures, with the hopes that the lust that the King harboured for young Anne would simply wear off.

In April 1528, Pope Clement VII finally granted Henry a papal commission to try the case, albeit reluctantly. He sent him to cardinal Campeggio, the "protector of England" at Roman Curia, in October. The appointment of cardinal Campeggio was also done to ensure that nothing goes according to plan so that Catherine would get enough time on her side.

Even after sending the cardinal the procrastination and reluctance in decision making was evident. Campeggio landed in England on September 29, but it took him nine days to make the 68 miles to London. After that in order to make the hearing the court date should have been decided swiftly. Campeggio arrived in London on October 8, but it was only on Mya 31st 1529 that the trial actually happened, almost 8 months later.

The church procrastinated in the hopes that Henry’s passion for Anne would burn itself out. The pope exercised their papal infallibility to call henry and Catherine to Rome for the case hearing. The cardinal even asked Catherine to join a convent is that the marriage could annulled in a quick manner but Catherine refused. The kind and Wolsey even tried to manipulate Catherine by threatening to separate her form her daughter but Catherine would not budge. In 1531, the king started to openly live with Anne Boleyn as the delays in case proceedings were wearing him down. His inner council of ministers was also filling his ears and trying to influence him about the inefficiency of cardinal Wolsey in this situation.

After the Blackfriars trial and queen Catherine’s rightful and passionate defence and appeal, the church was in a fix. The king sent Wolsey and Campeggio to go see the queen and gain try to bully her into submission. All of these plans failed yet again. By July pope clement had approved of Catherine’s appeal yet the Campeggio still kept trying to stall the decisions in hopes of winning the kings approval. In July, Campeggio announced that the court would adjourn until October. He said it would be because of a summer recess. his explanation was that the courts would sit for sessions as it was “reaping and harvesting” time in Rome.

This infuriated Henry VIII as the court was suspended which caused further delay. Eventually the news reached England. Catherine’s appeal had been successful. This turned out to be a huge blow for Henry, who had anticipated that his separation and annulment would go through much sooner instead he faced defeat in the face of papal intervention.

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