Wrote this exam question for practice, what mark would you give it out of 12? If anyone has any tips on how I can improve it would be greatly appreciated!
Explain why Wolsey was so important to Henry VIII in 1515-1525 (12 marks)
The Amicable Grant
Field of the cloth of Gold
One reason why Wolsey was important to Henry was because of his success in improving the political status of England - which was not considered a great power at the time. Wolsey did this through his presentation of the “Treaty of London” in which he put forward the idea of international peace - where each state would promise not to attack each other. This treaty became popular, with over 20 European leaders as well as the Pope signing the agreement. The result of this was England becoming a respected power - placing both Henry and Wolsey at the centre of European politics. The success also made Henry appear very strong and prestigious - which could not have been achieved without the influence of Wolsey. For this reason - he was important to Henry in 1518.
A second reason why Wolsey was important to Henry was because of his impact on foreign policy - and his ability to improve England’s relations with its allies. This is seen through Wolsey’s success at arranging the Field of the Cloth of Gold (1520) - which was a large celebration that brought together England and France - and enabled them to present their wealth and power to one another. Although there were no political outcomes - the event was a major ego boost for Henry, and made him very pleased with Wolsey. As well as this, it put Henry at the centre of European diplomacy - which meant that he could manage international relations more closely. Overall, Wolsey’s success in this meeting boosted Henry’s status, which is why he was important to the King.
A third reason Wolsey was important to Henry was because Wolsey protected him from criticism. Evidence for this is found through the failure of the Amicable Grant (1525) - a tax that was put in place in order to pay for Henry’s large spending. Many people were angry, and did not accept the tax as it hadn’t gone through parliament and was deemed illegal. Henry took no responsibility for this, leaving Wolsey to accept the blame. The fact that accepting the blame would result in a negative outcome for Wolsey only made him seem more reliable to Henry - in the sense that he would make sure Henry took no criticism. This made Wolsey useful, as he would sacrifice his own reputation in order for Henry to be viewed positively.