Strait of Dover Dictates Events
Not for the first time and certainly not for the last time, the Strait of Dover controlled events.
Charles V was driven by the need to establish communications between his dominions, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, all now united for the first time under one sceptre.
There were two alternative routes.
The first was through the Straits of Dover and the second was from Barcelona to Genoa and thence through Milan to the Tyrol.
France might threaten both (France at this time occupied Milan).
Her threat in the English Channel could be parried by an English alliance, and for this reason Charles, in spite of all provocation, maintained his friendship with Henry VIII.
Francis and Henry Grow to Love Each Other
Since the peace of 1514 between England and France, there had been on–off plans for the sovereigns to meet, but Habsburg Queen Catherine did not like the Valois French and so frustrated Henry’s wishes. An arrangement in 1519 had, like others before it, fallen through, so to express his disappointment Henry started to grow a beard. He vowed not to shave until he met the King of France. Apparently Francis did the same.
Catherine, however, put a stop to that too; disliking both the French and the beard, she ‘daily made him great instance and desired him to put it off for her sake’.
Henry submitted with the apology that his love for Francis was not in their beards but in their hearts.
In the end, both men had their way.
Francis Appoints Papal Legate Wolsey as His Proctor
23 February 1520
Wolsey proposed to Francis that both kings should appoint him as their proctor to make the arrangements for the proposed meeting on their behalf, not in his capacity as Henry's minister but in his role as impartial papal legate.
Charles Also Wants a Meeting
Charles asked to meet Henry and Wolsey before they met Francis. Arrangements were made for him to land at Sandwich, Kent, on his way back to the Netherlands from Spain by ship.
Charles in England
26 May 1520
The plans materialised and after visiting his mother, Joanna, at Tordesillas, Charles sailed from Corunna in north-west Spain and arrived at Dover, rather than Sandwich, met by Wolsey. He then spent three days with his aunt Catherine and Henry at Canterbury.
Wolsey and His Subordinates Showered with Imperial Gifts
As a mark of goodwill, Charles offered Wolsey Spanish bishoprics and their revenues for himself and annuities were also accepted for his servants Thomas Ruthall, Richard Pace and Brian Tuke.
He then sailed to the Netherlands and then Henry and Wolsey sailed to Calais.
Francis and Henry at Field of the Cloth of Gold
June 7–24 1520
Field of Cloth was the summit meeting organised by Wolsey. It was outlandishly lavish and infamous for its glamour, extravagance and lack of apparent political significance.
Francis, however, did beat Henry at wrestling.
Excommunication Bull for Luther
15 June 1520
Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medici, Pope Leo X, threatened to issue a bull of excommunication against Luther unless he recanted his anti-papal opinions within sixty days.
Second Meeting with Charles Gravelines
24 June 1520
Before returning home after the ostentatious Field of the Cloth of Gold, Henry and Wolsey travelled east to Gravelines, accompanied by Queen Catherine, for another meeting with Charles.
This was a far smaller and cheaper affair than the Field of Cloth.
Selim I Dies
22 September 1520
The Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, who had been a military threat to Christendom in the east, died in Carlu, Turkey.
Luther Burns His Bull
10 December 1520
Luther burns the Pope's bull at Wittenberg in the presence of a cheering crowd