Thomas Cromwell: Henry VIII's Partner in Crime (Video)
In 1536, a pivotal year in the reign of Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell's fortunes took a significant turn. His influence within the court was on the rise, marked by his successful persuasion to remove the threat of Anne Boleyn. Cromwell, a commoner with lofty ambitions, yearned to ascend to the upper echelons of nobility. As the chief minister, his role became paramount in shaping the trajectory of Henry's reign. He was a man driven by ambition and an intriguing blend of insecurity, which fueled his readiness to push boundaries. The separation from the Pope in Rome, securing Henry's divorce from Catherine of Aragon, had handed over control of nearly 900 religious institutions to the King. For Cromwell, this presented an opportunity to bolster his standing and enrich Henry.
The dissolution of these institutions, a sort of nationalization of wealth, saw the stripping of valuable items, including ornaments, books, and more. It was a disruptive social upheaval, unprecedented in its scope. The consequences of Cromwell's actions still linger in the form of magnificent, centuries-old buildings reduced to ruins. The wealth acquired through this dissolution flowed into Henry's treasury, further endearing Cromwell to the King. This transformation in their fates marked a pivotal moment in history, where ambition, power, and the pursuit of riches intertwined in the Tudor court.
- The Complicated and Disturbing Life of King Henry VIII
- Catherine of Aragon: The Spanish Queen of England
Top image: Thomas Cromwell, Chancellor of Henry VIII. Source: (Ann Longmore-Etheridge / Flickr)