ISBN 978 1 85944 150 3. Published 2008.
Wolsey was a great man. He was Henry VIII’s agent but never his friend. He was thirty-seven when Henry became king and fifty-eight when he himself died at Leicester. Wolsey was not original in that foreign policy was that of the king. He loved ostentation but always claimed that it was important to reflect the magnificence of the monarch. Hampton Court and Christ Church, Oxford are examples and both were appropriated by Henry VIII. Wolsey failed the king because he was unable to solve Henry’s marital problems based on the need for a legitimate heir which needed a new and younger queen able to produce the much-needed male heir. But he did indeed solve it by employing and training Thomas Cromwell who was unencumbered by religious attachments and solely concerned to solve ‘the King’s Great Matter’ and introduce practical solutions. Wolsey was despised as ‘low-born’ – ‘a butcher’s son from Ipswich’ by the aristocracy for whom he was easy prey.