Essay on Thomas Wolsey's fall from power

1392 Words Oct 2nd, 2013 6 Pages
The most important reason for Wolsey’s fall from power was his failure to obtain a divorce. How far do you agree?
Wolsey was a cardinal and statesman, Henry’s lord chancellor and most faithful servant, whom he was most reliant upon. From 1515 to 1529 Wolsey’s rule was undisputed. Henry VIII delegated more and more state business to him, including near complete control of England’s foreign policy. Wolsey’s finest hour was arranging the Field of Cloth of Gold. Wolsey used his wealth to indulge his passion for building, his grand style of living made him increasingly unpopular. Wolsey’s failure to arrange an annulment for Henry was quickly followed by his downfall. In this essay I will look how far this was the main reason for his collapse
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Along with Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, they ran the English government for a few years after 1529, although only Norfolk showed real ability (these were previously Wolsey’s roles) Wolsey’s fall was only a matter of time.
Although his downfall was somewhat sudden, due to his great unpopularity amongst many people within England at the time, it does not appear as shocking as one might think. People such as Anne Boleyn campaigned to King Henry VIII anti-Wolsey propaganda and anti-Wolsey messages in an attempt to force Wolsey off the only source of power he had left to hold, influence over the king. This was similarly done, and accomplished, by the nobles and their envy of Wolsey's power. E.g. Anne Boleyn and her faction suggested to the king that the cardinal was actively conspiring to delay a papal decision, this had a big impact on the king. Anne had a personal grudge against Wolsey and was clearly hoping for a pay back as Wolsey refused to let her marry Henry Percy in the years before. Her hatred of Cardinal Wolsey intensified as his attempts to annul Henry's marriage to Catherine failed. Henry had been patient however Anne refused to become Henry's mistress, which frustrated him and made him more aware that the passage of time was endangering his aspiration to leave a male heir.
Wolsey was also widely disliked by others in the court e.g.

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