Wednesday, 29 April 2015
Mini History Blog: Who’s the old bloke in the red hat?'
That’s Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, archbishop of York. The son of an Ipswich butcher, Wolsey has served the king diligently as his chief minister, organising wars and taking care of the routine government business the king finds crushingly dull. Along the way Wolsey has accrued high church office, grand palaces and some very powerful enemies among the English aristocracy, who think with some justification that he is a jumped-up pleb. Wolsey has been tasked with securing the king a papal annulment of his marriage, on the grounds that as a teenager Queen Catherine was married to Henry’s elder brother, Arthur, and that the marriage was consummated. Scripture is ambiguous about whether such a marriage is legal or an abomination unto the Lord. But worse than that, the Pope is a prisoner of Queen Catherine’s nephew, Charles V, king of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor. It all looks rather tricky.
This and other questions are answered by Dan Jones in his article 'Why isn't Henry VIII fat and other Wolf Hall mysteries explained'
in January this year.