A Conversation for King Henry VIII

The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V

Post 1


I expect it's too late to bring this up now, having missed this entry in PR; but it does seem excessively small-minded for this Entry to put a slur on Charles V, saying he only got elected by bribing the electors. He was after all the paternal grandson of the deceased Emperor, and his father was already dead, so his claim was excellent; he was exceptionally young for the job (at 19) and turned out to be exceptionally successful as Emperor. His nobility was demonstrated when he kept his promise of safe passage to Luther after the latter's trial and conviction at Worms. Not many such promises were honoured in those turbulent times, and Charles had many occasions to regret Luther's survival.

In fact it was an era of three superdudes: Charles V, Fran├žois I and Henry VIII. And to tell the unvarnished truth, Fran├žois and Henry were only trotting after Charles.

The issue of bribery is a red herring. It was obviously par for the course at the time.

The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V

Post 2

Phoenician Trader

This is a fair point. I don't know that I would have said that Henry was trotting after Chuck but I completely agree that Henry's European politics focused on the Emperor and not the Pope.

Essentially the Rome was a tool of the Emperor and not an independent political power. Henry and Charles negotiated with each other, often using the Papacy as a bargaining tool: that is, the Pope was important but not material to the political goals.

In the same way the dissolution of the monasteries and acquisition diocesan lands (through patently unfair "swaps") was largely about bringing the wealth of England under the civil political control of the Privy Council (Henry's cabinet). This was strongly promoted by two of Henry's Chancellors, Cromwell and Somerset and also by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Cranmer. Cranmer's theology placed the state ahead of the church (and God above both) and hence Charles' importance ahead of the Pope's.

The King's and "his" archbishop's theology matched the real world experience of European politics.

smiley - lighthouse

The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V

Post 3


Quite; but on the other hand, the papacy had only extended its rule over national churches for a few centuries, since the Crusades. Henry argued that he was restoring the traditional place of the ruler of England in church appointments. And so on and on . . .

I was most impressed by the Karl V exhibition a few years ago (I saw it in Vienna). The Titian portrait, with his faithful hound, is wonderfully sympathetic. And it was passing weird to see his gold pendant, the Order of the Golden Fleece, in a cabinet beside its image in renaissance paintings.

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The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V

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