Victory over French and Scots – New Pope Calls for Peace – Marriage Arrangements for Mary and Charles – Wolsey’s French Friendship
Without Ferdinand but with the support of the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian, and his daughter Margaret of Austria, Duchess of Savoy and regent of the Netherlands, Henry’s army invaded France from the north. The English were victorious at the Battle of the Spurs in August 1513 and then took Tournai from the French. Meanwhile, back at home with England under the regency of Catherine of Aragon, Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, won an even more spectacular victory against the Scots at Flodden in September 1513.
Henry and his troops returned home to prepare for another invasion the following year.
While the English had been battling with the French and the Scots, Giovanni di Lorenzo de’ Medici, Pope Leo X, established himself in the papal office. The new pope was set on a different path. His was one of harmony and accord. He reversed the policy against France of his predecessor and called for peace among Christian nations. In France, King Louis XII was old, he was and weary of schism and war, and in October 1513 he gratefully submitted to the new pope’s initiative.
Wolsey was forced to consider an about-turn. While Henry was still bent on the conquest of France, the pope’s holy war had been called off and the new clerical policy necessitated befriending France.
The double-dealing of Ferdinand complicated the English position once again. In an agreement back in 1507 between Henry VII and Maximilian, Henry VIII’s younger sister, Mary, had been pledged by treaty to marry the future Charles V, grandson of Maximilian. The terms of the treaty determined that the marriage must take place by May 1514, but now Charles’s paternal grandfather, Ferdinand, declined his consent for the union.
Mary was eighteen years of age and Charles was fourteen, and Charles protested that he wanted a wife not a mother. Unaware of these developments, however, Henry VIII and his sister continued to make lavish wedding arrangements. Meanwhile, Leo X pursued his quest for unity among all Christian nations and the treacherous Ferdinand slapped Henry down again by opening negotiations with Louis of France.
Wolsey, in the meantime, was elevated to Bishop of Lincoln as a reward for his impressive work during Pope Julius’s war.
He too, despite Henry’s continued preparations for war, was adopting the papal strategy and preparing to negotiate with France.
England’s man in Rome, however, was Cardinal and Archbishop of York Christopher Bainbridge. He was staunchly anti-French and an obstinate obstacle to Wolsey’s policy.