Why Did Henry Viii Want a Divorce

761 Words4 Pages
b) Do you agree with the view that the Break with Rome was brought about primarily by Henry’s desire for a male heir? Use sources 4, 5 & 6 and your own knowledge to explain your answer.
The Break with Rome was brought about by a number of reasons, namely Henry’s desire for a male heir and thus the need to obtain a divorce, the role of the Anne Boleyn faction and their reformist influence and Henry’s desire for greater power and revenue. Source 4 disagrees with the question because it argues that the divorce, which did not necessarily have to go through Rome, and the reformist influence had an impact. Source 5 partly agrees with source 4 that the reformist faction did influence Henry, but also argues that Henry had no clear policy and
…show more content…
Evidence that Henry considered legitimising his bastard son, Henry Fitzroy, also contributes to the argument that he was desperate for a male heir and thus that this caused the Break with Rome.
However, it was not the only cause. The role of Anne Boleyn and her faction is another cause of the Break with Rome. Henry had fallen in lust with her and once she was in the Privy Chamber she held great influence over him. This led to her introducing him to reformist ideas. As source 4 states, by rejecting the Pope Henry was, “opening the way” to reformist ideas. It also states that Henry had “new Lutheran influences” such as Cromwell and Cranmer who held Lutheran principles of the importance of scripture. Source 5 argues that Cromwell “showed” Henry how easy it could be to Break with Rome. The fact that source 5 also argues that until then Henry had “no coherent policy”, demonstrated by the appointment of the pro-Rome, anti-Supremacist More as Chancellor, shows how easily he was influenced either way. Indeed, Dickens argues that the surge of popularity for Protestantism caused the Break with Rome. It would seem that Henry’s personal religious convictions were not a cause of the Break with Rome, but the influence of Anne and reformers such as Cromwell were.
Another reason behind the Break with Rome was Henry’s desire for greater power. This is argued in source 6 when it asserts that it was caused by the fact that the Pope had “blinded [the
Open Document