The reign of Henry VIII was such an important turning point because of the things he achieved and the laws he managed to change. Henry was considered as a great king by some particularly because of his strong ideas about kingship. He believed that kings should be strong and be able to defend their country thus leading to his love of jousting. He was also considered a great king because of his knowledge. He could speak Spanish Latin and French well. He also wrote poetry and music. When he was thrust into the limelight after his brother’s death, he took on the role of king without any complaint.
It seemed that he had been thinking of becoming king as he been in his brothers shadow all his life. Only four years after becoming King, Henry invaded France and his troops defeated a French army at the Battle of the Spurs. Many in Europe saw this as a great achievement. However not all believed that Henry was a good king. Some thought he abused his power and had no interest in the country. He left Cardinal Thomas Wolsey his chief advisor, in charge of all state and government affairs. Some say that he neglected his duties as king just so he could chase a girl that did not want him (Anne Boleyn).
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He was called a bully and a tyrant and he could not take advice as he was so strong minded. His reign was a turning point because it was a change for the country. The Tudors were a new dynasty and Henry had to prove how powerful they were and how well they could rule England. Again this must have put a lot of pressure on Henry seeing as he wasn’t the first heir to the throne. When his brother Arthur died, Henry married his wife Catherine of Aragon to try and keep the alliance with Spain.
This was a turning point because for this to be allowed the pope had to issue a dispensation as marriage to your brother’s dead wife was prohibited in the bible. At the time, and throughout her life, Catherine denied that her marriage to Arthur had even been consummated (never completed) so no dispensation was needed, so this meant that she married Henry as a virgin. However, both the parties in Spain and England wanted to be sure of the legitimacy of the marriage, so permission from the pope was sought and received. This was important because there were mixed attitudes from the people about the marriage.
Some argued that Henry only married Catherine to maintain the Alliance with Spain and extend his empire while others said that he really loved the Queen. It was a powerful love match to start with because of the size of the two countries, which could only become bigger when combined. However Henry’s love for Catherine was discarded when she kept on having miscarriages. Although Henry had a daughter with Catherine, he long for a son and some say this was root of his eventual downfall. Why did Henry long for a son so badly you may ask.
As his heir of course! Yes he may have already had a child, but in the 14th century women were not considered as leaders so how could one run the country. This goes all the way back to biblical times and the idea that women are below men, weaker and less intelligent. Of course Mary would not be able to rule the country because she would not have had the necessary training and education for it. The rise of Henry’s advisor Cardinal Thomas Wolsey was very important. Some could say that Henry had done wrong by letting Wolsey manage his responsibilities.
But maybe if Wolsey hadn’t been in charge, Henry would not have been able to rule successfully. Wolsey was also the pope’s representative so therefore he had two masters. Who was he more concerned with, Henry or the Pope?. However Henry also benefitted from Wolsey. All his duties and responsibilities were finished before he got out of bed, but this also meant that Henry was a lazy king. Would it such a good idea to let Wolsey have control of government? Some say yes. After all, the country was being run well so there was no need to change but others say no Henry was a king and those were his duties to fulfil.
Needless to say Wolsey also benefitted from “baby sitting” Henry. He became a very rich and powerful man, possibly even wealthier than Henry. How could any man under the rule of the king be richer and more powerful?. This could be used to argue Henry’s incompetence as King. In the end Wolsey was brought down because he could not get Henry what he wanted, which was to marry Anne Boleyn. Another reason why Henry’s rule could be seen as a turning point would be that he somehow managed to get his marriage to Catherine nulled under no real evidence and also without the consent of the pope.
Parliament refused the decisions of the Pope and authorized the marriage of Henry and Anne with the Act of Succession 1533. the most important thing in this declaration was “any foreign authority, prince or potentate”. All adults in the Kingdom were required to acknowledge the Act’s provisions by oath and those who refused were subject to imprisonment for life. Any publisher or printer of any literature alleging that the marriage was invalid was automatically guilty of high treason and could be punished by death.
It was a turning point because no one had ever managed to achieved something through the church without it being approved by the pope until now. Henry through torturing, lying, cheating, manipulated and bribing people had managed to get what he wanted at last. But was it enough? In conclusion the reign of Henry VIII can be seen as a turning point because of what he accomplished, good and bad. He was first English king to authorise the translation of the Bible into English. He was also responsible for the Reformation in England and founded the Church of England with himself as its supreme head.
After all he was the only king to ever executed more than 72,000 people and had six different wives. Yet through all this hassle he only managed to get 4 children, only 3 of them were in line for the throne and out of that 3 only 1 was a boy. So in the end the continuation ‘Tudor Dynasty’ was never really certain. Although Henry was loved by some, he was also hated and many were glad when he died. But there are also some who remember him at his best, a young man with ambitions and an excellent athlete.