Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Space Oddity, Jun 4, 2011.
A Catholic England?
With Anne Boleyn as Queen? Surely, you jest.
The reason Henry VIII adopted the reform was because the Catholic Church refused to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon so that he would marry Anne Boleyn. Anne Boleyn being Queen here, Henry VIII still broke with Rome.
Hell, Henry's brand of Protestant-flavored Catholicism minus the Pope is likely to be a bit more strongly Protestant-flavored ITTL...
I could see Henry's alt-son to follow what Edward VI did and tilt England more to a Lutheran-flavored Church of England.
And after almost a month I update!
Well, I have to admit, part of this has been due to research--and part of this is due to the fact that while I have exciting things planned down the way, the immediate effect of the gender swap is 'things happen like they did in our timeline--ONLY SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT!!!!' Which is, as happens so often, rather tough to write. So, after much debate--the Cliff Notes version!
--The child is christened in an extravagant spectacle at the Church of the Obediant Friars. Henry, who has been leaning towards naming the child Edward, does a last minute swerve, and decides that, no, it'll be Henry after all. The court winces, but goes on with their business, because it's Henry VIII, and this is pretty much what you expect.
--Imperial ambassador Eustace Chapuys has the difficult job of breaking the bad news to Charles. He does hold out some hope--he has it on "good authority" that 'the child is sickly, and will likely soon die.' When this fails to pass, Chapuys offers yet another consolation--"the young bastard" shows signs of being "slow-witted".
--Aside from Chapuys and his 'good authorities', most people who see Prince Henry agree he seems healthy and active, with many comments on his bright red hair and blue eyes. Both of his parents dote on the young prince in their own ways--Anne as a loving mother, Henry as an almost obsessively protective yet rather distant father.
--Catherine of Aragon and her daughter Mary handle matters about as well as can be expected, especially as Henry starts making it clear that he no longer feels obligated to them in any way, shape or form. Or more exactly, the subordinates he has dealing with them make it clear, because Henry really doesn't want to see them, as he might start feeling guilty, which he really doesn't like. Both refuse to acknowledge Anne as Henry's wife.
-Francois I and Henry VIII are of course, good, dear allies who are going to stand with each other against that wily no-good Emperor Charles no matter what. At least so runs the official line. Tensions are, of course starting right below the surface, mostly because each man has an ego so large that accomodating anyone else's is rather problematic, and Henry, in his heart of hearts, can never quite cotton to this whole 'get along with the French' idea. Still, it would be wrong to say he's the big stumbling block--well, no it wouldn't, but he's not the ONLY big stumbling block. By the end of 1534, Francois is rethinking his whole stance on this Protestant thing, in light of the 'Affair of the Placcards', and this is naturally making him rethink his alliance with Henry. Even if Henry swears up and down he's not a Protestant, merely a man who has a few issues with the Pope. Still, for the time being, both realize that the alliance is good sense, and they're sticking with it. The question is, when will they allow themselves to think otherwise.
--In other French diplomatic matters, Francois continues to politely push for a marriage between the Dauphin and Mary. Henry really isn't too keen on this, and for once, his court is in agreement--even ardent Francophile Anne. True, Mary is technically a bastard now, if you accept Henry's ruling, but if you don't, she's the legitimate heir, which makes handing her off to a Catholic monarch rather troubling, even if right now, he's insisting he's your bestest buddy in the world, and will never, ever betray you. Which doesn't mean that some marriage alliance won't be in the cards--Anne is very keen on the idea having her son marry a French princess. The only problem is that the selection at the moment is rather limited. Francois' eldest daughter is the sickly Madeleine of Valois, who, in addition to her health and age problems, was already promised to James V of Scotland, though Francis has walked back from this due to the afore-mentioned health problems. His second daughter, Marguerite, is unattatched, but still ten years older than Prince Henry, a more significant age gap than lay between Catherine and Henry when they wed. And look how that turned out. Still, everyone is hopeful that some sort of accomodation can be reached.
--And turning to the biggest Catholic of them all, Pope Clement VII finds himself in a tough spot. Technically, he can and probably should take action against Henry for what he's done, but the fact remains--Henry now has a son he considers legitimate, and expecting him to chuck him aside on the Pope's say-so is... well, a bit optimistic. And so, despite pressure from Charles, he dithers. Privately, overtures are made to Henry, suggesting that if he makes some form of penance--a large donation, a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, a vow to fight against the insidious Turk--the Church would be willing to let this matter slide, recognize the annulment and Prince Henry's legitimacy, and basically get this whole ugly affair behind them. 
It's actually a pretty reasonable offer, even if it is presently an unofficial, under the table sort of thing. Unfortunately Clement is dealing with Henry VIII--and he's dealing with him right after he's just had what he takes as a sign from God that he's been right the whole time. Henry insists that the Church's recognition of what he considers readily apparent matters is worthless. What he wants is assurances that he, and the monarchs who will follow him on the English throne, will never find themselves in the awful bind he was in--dependant of the whims and rulings of a man miles away under the thumb of a foreign ruler who should be minding his own business. And Henry is going to get this, no matter what the Pope's opinion on the matter is. Indeed, even as the Pope is making his proposal, the English Parliament is putting through acts that will make Henry the official head of the Church of England.
How Clement would have dealt with all this is an interesting question--however, he really doesn't get a chance to, because somebody feeds him deathcap mushrooms by mistake, or possibly "mistake".  He's succeeded by Paul III, who has a lot of things on his table right from the get-go, which causes him to put England on the back-burner, not in the least because it's such a knotted little problem. On the one hand, Henry's pretty blatantly usurping Church authority. On the other hand, moving against him might just push him even further into the Protestant camp. And so, the Pope continues to hold off and consider his options. He knows he's going to have to do something eventually. But what is proving a handful.
--The Act of Succession passes Parliament. Included in it is a provision requiring the swearing of an oath (if asked) that one finds the annulment, marriage, and Henry's status as head of the Church of England valid. This last bit in particular sticks in the craw of Bishop John Fisher and Sir Thomas More, though honestly they aren't too fond of the first two parts either. Henry does not take this well. You know the drill...
--And as 1534 comes to a close, it has become readily apparent that Anne is pregnant again...
IOTL, Henry was back and forth on the name of his 'son' for quite some time. Either 'Henry' or 'Edward'. When Elizabeth popped out, the point became moot, though Henry did consider naming her 'Mary' as kind of an extra 'Screw you' to Catherine. Classy guy.
If you're wondering why Prince Henry is 'the young bastard'--aside from this being Chapuys' genuine opinion on his legitimacy, the name is to make him distinct from his half-brother Henry Fitzroy, who everybody agrees is a bastard. Only not so young. Well, in comparison to Prince Henry Tudor, anyway.
 The Affair of the Placcards--which happened OTL--occurred on October 17th, 1534, and consisted of antiCatholic posters appearing all over Paris, Blois, Rouens, Tours, and Orleans, with one even being hung on Francois' bedroom door. In what is probably the most spectacular backfire in public relations history, it lead to alienating most of the moderates in France, including Francois, who not only publicly came out in favor of Catholic doctrine, but shifted from seeing Protestants as basically decent folk to seeing them as threatening conspirators.
IOTL, Clement didn't dither very much at all--he quietly excommunicated Henry and Archbishop Cramner. But the entire son matter does give Henry that extra bit of leverage that makes Clement stay his hand.
Which is what happened IOTL.
Interesting little TL and the prospect of an Henry IX, hopefully somewhat more rational than his father.
Fascinating point about the Affair of the Placcards. Sounds like you might have seen a much stronger Protestant position in France without that, which could make for an interesting world.
With the Protestant position looking stronger, with Anne having produced an heir and pregnant again, is there more unrest in Catholic areas in England or Ireland? Things could get nasty say if there's a challenge, or very bad if say something seen as an attack on the queen, especially while she's carrying another child.
Thanks for the compliments.
To answer your question--at the moment, the Catholic response in England to Henry's actions is somewhat confused. They don't like the way things seem to be going. On the other hand--Anne's had a son. Henry has been saying this whole time that his first marriage was invalid and cursed by god, that he had to get a divorce, that Anne would provide him with sons. And lo, that has come to pass. Which means quite a few people are thinking 'Jeez, maybe he was right.' All of which is leading to quite a bit of double-guessing on their part. Of course, you can only push people so far, a fact that Henry appreciates about as much ITTL as he does IOTL.
And to make up for my lack of posting earlier--here's another update, already! Continuing with the Cliff notes format...
--Early in the year, Anne gives birth to a daughter, who is named Elizabeth after both of her grandmothers.  While Henry did have some hopes for another son, he is still delighted, commenting to anyone who'll listen that it's nice to finally have 'a lawful daughter', to the discomfort of virtually everyone around him. Even Anne, who has on occasion, suggested that she wouldn't necessarily be displeased if through an act of divine misfortune, Mary were to, just as an example, fall down a flight of stairs and break her neck.
--Pope Paul III is very put out. His plan of 'ignoring the Henry problem until it either goes away, or I get an idea' has inadvertantly resulted in the imprisonment of two devout Catholics, one of whom is a bishop. This necessitates something being done. The problem is Paul is still in a bad position here, and he knows it. He can't let Henry walk all over him, but Henry believes God is on his side, and quite frankly, the Almighty hasn't given any apparent sign to the contrary yet. With that kind of attitude, Paul realizes that if he pushes Henry too hard, it'll likely send him even further into heresy--and that could be destabilizing to all of Europe. But Paul hits on something! He sends Henry a strongly-worded warning that if Henry continues to act in this manner, Paul will be forced to excommunicate him. He bids Henry to release Fisher and More, and again quietly hints that the See is willing to recognize the validity of the annulment and the marriage, as long as Henry is willing to stop with this present nonsense and at least make some gesture to show that he's sorry.
Henry's response to this is, from Paul's point of view, disappointing. He declares that excommunication is nonsense, a political power that the Bishops of Rome have appropriated to themselves to help them usurp the authority of kings. Henry's eyes may have been blind before, but now he sees, thank God, and he is going to make sure he gets what's his. Paul, realizing that he is dealing with 'a most intractable heretic', has by the end of the year gotten to work excommunicating Henry.
--Thomas More and John Fisher are trying to get out of swearing the oath without getting killed through legal shenanigans. Using the concept of silence implying consent, they argue that they don't have to take the oath as long as they don't speak against it. This isn't exactly winning over their judges, and when the King's Solicitor General Richard Rich's testimony comes up, they are in trouble. Rich explains in a private conversation with More, More poised a hypothetical question that made it clear that he didn't think that Parliament could make Henry the head of the church, while in a private conversation with Fisher, Fisher denied it outright. More loudly denies that he said any such thing--or that if he did say it, it didn't mean what Rich makes it out to mean--while Fisher is simply shocked that opinions given by a priest in confidence are being used as testimony. This destroys the last fig leaf of protection the two possess, and they are quickly sentenced to be executed. 
The resulting executions enflame public opinion against the King, the Queen, and the court, with nearly everyone trying to back away from the whole affair. Henry will later insist the blame rests on evil councilors. Anne will, to her dying day, insist she was against the whole thing, and told Henry as much. (As one cynic notes, that may be so, but if it's true, she didn't tell him very loudly.) Thomas Cromwell will privately declare that the whole affair was, naturally, regrettable, but insist that technically Fisher and More were both guilty.
--Turning to Cromwell--aside from turning a bishop and a politician into martyrs, he's been busy having his men check on the monasteries, all in preparation of his grand scheme to dissolve them, and enrich the crown. He's facing quite a bit of opposition in the court in this matter, and from some surprising corners--Anne, for example, while in favor of dissolving the more abusive and decrepit orders, wants the money to go into creating charitable and educational organizations that will take the monasteries' place. This could be a problem, but for the moment, Henry has decided that he REALLY wants that money, and so he's listening to Cromwell, while the chance of an organized resistance forming is troubled by the fact that the Catholics are suspicious of the Queen, and vice versa. Anne's ability to serve as a lynchpin is further compromised by the fact that she is pregnant ONCE AGAIN, which tends to eat up her time.
--Anne's latest pregnancy is not the only... joyous news in England. King's bastard Henry Fitzroy and his young wife Mary Howard are expecting as well, despite Henry VIII's suggestion not to overindulge in hanky panky.  While Henry's a bit worried that his son might not be following his instruction, he is delighted at the thought of becoming a grandfather. Indeed, Henry is about as happy as he gets. After years of worry that the Tudors were going to die with him, things are looking up. Yep, great to be him. Extra great, anyway.
--Eustace Chapuys writes the Emperor with "good news". Anne and Henry's marriage is getting rather tense, as Henry is starting to realize the bad side of having a wife who's smarter than him--or rather, who's smarter than him and lets him know it. He's still very fond of Anne--she's given him a son, after all--a healthy, happy son--but, well, she can be a bit trying at times, and the succession of pregnancies are not helping her nerves any. While Eustace acknowledges that there now exists no chance of Henry taking back Catherine, he is fairly certain that the woman who has usurped her place will be displaced herself in the near future. While Eustace is exagerating things somewhat, many of his essentials are quite correct...
--Catherine and her daughter, meanwhile are both suffering virtual imprisonment, with Catherine's health rapidly failing. Both take the news of Elizabeth's birth, and YET ANOTHER PREGNANCY very hard.
--Turning to the international scene, Francois I and Charles V continue to circle each other like wary prize fighters, waiting for the next chance to go at it. In a little while, the pair are going to turn Italy into their dueling ground once again. In another point of contention between them, Anne remains dedicated to the French alliance, while Cromwell thinks they should shift over to the Emperor, in an effort to prevent one side or the other from getting to powerful. Still, this is a matter he's willing to give way on--indeed, he's rather uncertain that the Emperor will even be willing to entertain the possibility of allying with the king who insulted his beloved aunt right now. Waiting might be the best option.
--Francois is still hoping for a match between the Dauphin and Mary, even though that's looking very unlikely. Right now the most likely marriage contracts between France and England are 'Prince Henry and a hypothetical French Princess', and 'Charles of Orleans and Princess Elizabeth'. Neither is definite, but both are possible.
--In early October, the first complete English language Bible is printed. The man responsible for most of the translation, William Tyndale, languishes in a prison in Vilvoorde. Anne and Cromwell would both like to see him freed, but Henry isn't that interested--Tyndale, like quite a few Protestants, disagreed with Henry about the validity of the divorce, and consequently, as far as Henry is concerned, he can go bugger himself.
--As the year ends the Act of Dissolution of the Lesser Monasteries is brought before Parliament...
 As I've noted elswhere, the chances of the first-born daughter of Henry and Anne being named something besides Elizabeth are somewhat slim. IOTL, Anne followed Elizabeth with another pregnancy that ended with a miscarriage. Here, she's a great deal calmer and more secure, so her second pregnancy goes on without a hitch.
 This is exactly what happened IOTL. Simply put, I don't see OTL Elizabeth being a boy changing Fisher or More's opinion that much, and... well, Henry is going to be Henry.
 IOTL, Henry ordered the marriage to remain unconsumated, fearing that it was overindulging in sex that killed his brother--here, what with a legitimate son to serve as heir, he's feeling a bit more secure, and has walked back his original order to a strong suggestion. Ironically, doing so has probably done a better job securing the succession...
Interesting, was that Anne's viewpoint on dissolution of the monasteries? Makes for an interesting viewpoint that with a less greedy monarch then some at least of them could have survived and Britain would have had a rudimentary social network for education and the poor.
I'm also a bit surprised that Cromwell think's France is stronger than the combined Hapsburg empire, especially after what happened last time the two fought. Although since then Charles has seen Hungary destroyed by the Turks who now threaten his eastern border and is facing growing problems in the HRE with the reformation.
To answer your questions--yes, that was Anne's view on the dissolution. As for Cromwell--it's not that he considers France more powerful than the Empire--he's nobody's fool--but that he feels that France is better able to project its power at the moment, and that alliance with England makes it very likely to do so. And once France has done that--well, who knows what will happen? Win or lose, the present balance of power will be gone, and that could make things difficult for England.
And now--some more stuff! I'm on a roll!
--Pope Paul III formally excommunicates King Henry VIII, and Archbishop Cramner, and then informs them of this, while still holding out the carrot of a possible reconciliation if Henry will just come to his damn senses. Henry is a bit nonplussed--he's gotten so used to the Popes quivering to his provocations that he actually thought they were going to cave in, somehow. But he's still feeling pretty damn cocky, and remains convinced that he's bigger than any puffed-up Bishop of Rome. Though they make sure not to mention the matter to Anne for the moment, on account of her pregnancy.
--The Act of Dissolution of the Lesser Monasteries passes Parliament, to Thomas Cromwell's utter satisfaction. It is significantly less satisfying to just about everyone else. Anne has her brother, George, broach the matter to her uncle, Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk. Norfolk's position on the dissolution is complex--unlike his niece and nephew, he's a Catholic--however, his Catholicism ranks somewhat below his ambition, and he's not exactly opposed to getting his hands on some nice monastic lands at a bargain price. Still, he agrees that Cromwell is getting too big for his britches, and could stand to get knocked down a peg or two. Norfolk begins to gather support for a move against Cromwell, should the opportunity arise.
--Catherine of Aragon dies. Henry marks the occasion by dressing in festive yellow, and having Anne bring Prince Henry and Elizabeth to court. Chapuys, writing to the Emperor of the incident, notes that Prince Henry is 'a very lively boy', while Elizabeth favors her mother in appearance. Even Charles has, by this time, reconciled himself to the fact that Prince Henry is in all likelihood going to be the next King of England.
--The death of Francesco Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan, followed swiftly by his brother Giovanni Paolo--both of which occurred late in 1535--just happen to be exactly the pretext Francois needed to start yet another Italian war, which he does now, invading Milan and occupying Turin. England's involvement is limited to tacit support, as Henry is a bit busy at the moment. The war swiftly grinds into a stalemate.
--Chapuys makes an unusual comment to Charles in one of his letters, noting that one 'Jane Seymour', lady-in-waiting to Queen Anne--and earlier, lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine--has been dismissed under rather mysterious circumstances, and that he will be able to give Charles the whole story shortly. Some historians speculate that Jane was one of Chapuys' informants, explaining why he has knowledge of such a marginal figure, but this isn't certain, and it might just be the ambassador displaying his bloodhound-like affinity for gossip. 
--The dissolution of the monasteries begins in earnest, to the discomfort of the many, and the pleasure of a few. Henry and Cromwell are both delighted with how things seem to be going. So delighted that they ignore the warning signs that they are pissing people off in a big way.
--Anne suffers a miscarriage, much to the disappointment of both her and Henry. Henry is reported, in a rare display of senstivity, to have consoled Anne, noting that they have two beautiful children, and, God willing, shall have more. 
--Henry Fitzroy's health takes a sudden, horrific turn for the worse in June, just as his wife comes to term. As his child--a boy--is being born in one room, Henry is dying of 'consumption' in the next. Told of the birth of his son, Henry is said to have asked that the boy be named Arthur 'for my good uncle, who I am going to meet'. He expires on June 24th, a mere 17 years old. Henry is devastated, and very solicitous of the health of his young grandson. However, despite fears, young Arthur Fitzroy is by all signs a healthy baby.
--Francois I's long-wished for marriage between the Dauphin and Mary shifts from unlikely to completely impossible when young Francois dies suddenly in August. While poisoning is suspected, the Dauphin's health has never fully recovered from his lengthy imprisonment in Madrid. With his death, young Prince Henri becomes heir to the throne--and he is already married to Catherine de Medici. As well as conducting an affair with a 34-year old widow by the name of Diane de Poitiers, who is also rumored to have had a fling with Francois I way back when. Needless to say, this pretty much kills any chance of bringing Mary Tudor into the family, and so Francois throws himself into having Charles of Orleans marry the Princess Elizabeth.
--Chapuys finally gets around to telling the whole story of Jane Seymour to Emperor Charles. As he tells it, Henry, getting just a bit tired of Anne's temper and biting wit, took a liking to Jane, who mixed being reasonably attractive with lacking these traits. After awhile, his little infatuation translated into proposing that Jane become the new royal mistress. This plan was derailed when Anne got wind of it, and--again, as Chapuys tells it--stormed into Henry's chambers with children in tow, demanding to know what she'd done so wrong that Henry must ill treat her so. Henry rather sheepishly insisted that he had no plan to do any such thing whatsoever, honest, and Jane was quietly dismissed, and married off by her obliging family. Curiously, her brothers appear to have gotten slightly more lucrative appointments in the court after this, though Chapuys isn't sure whether they were simply bought off by the King in return for keeping quiet about the whole embarassing matter, or whether they were the ones who informed Anne, and are being rewarded for their service. 
While Chapuys turns the whole story into a joke--look at the silly English King and his shrew of a wife!--the situation illustrates Anne's precarious situation. She can let Henry have dalliances--but a long-term mistress is a significant threat to her, largely because she used to be one. Indeed, as an arguable heretic, Anne knows she would be easily removed, if Henry ever really wanted to do so. Her only real protection is that she is the mother of his son.
--As the dissolution of monasteries is carried on up north, it hits a bump. People are upset, seeing the monasteries taken apart, and they're suspicious. Rumors are circulating that this will be followed by seizing the church plates of small parishes, and starting a tax on baptism. And so it happens. In a few locations, people begin to protest. In the town of Chester, in Cheshire, the people take over the church, and start making demands. That falls apart a few days later when Henry sends troops in, but the news inspires other uprisings in the North. And the first Pilgrimage of the Faithful has begun... 
 This is by many reports, pretty much what he did IOTL. Once again--classy guy.
 Yes, it's her. Clearly, she's never going to become Queen of England ITTL. This is probably to her advantage.
 Why a miscarriage now? Because she's gone through three successive pregnancies in about as many years, and this is a pretty tense time for her.
 This is a month earlier than his death IOTL. Chalk that one up to butterflies.
 What's this you say? The Seymour boys still playing a part in English politics? Well, my answer to that is, when you're as ambitious as the Seymours, you find a way. They're not going to climb as high as they did IOTL--but they are going to climb some.
 Yes, it's this timeline's Pilgrimage of Grace, with a slightly different starting point. Of course, I hope people are noticing the ominous 'first'...
Sounds like rocky times ahead.
Would Anne be feeling that insecure, even with Henry as an husband? Not only has she given him the son he desires as an heir he has to a degree burnt his bridges with the Papacy by now. In fact a more confident and aggressive Henry might welcome more Protestant ideas, just in time for the storm to break. However, as long as Henry junior survives Anne's position is about as secure as it gets.
Hmm,I am deeply interested in seeing what happens with development of Arthur Tudor as a legitimate claimant to the throne. As the bastard was in OTL, the Duke of Richmond and Somerset and was one of the largest landholders in England at the time of his death. So there should be no doubt that Arthur should inherit his father's lands and titles, but I don't think he would be salivating for the crown all of his life in a Richard III type of way. His mother, Lady Mary Howard, seemed content to live a rather non-scheming life, but was often caught in the midst of all her relatives plans (The Boylen's and the Howard's) lol. But nonethless a surviving grandson, is likely me thinks to sour the relationship between Queen Consort Anne
1536 Part 2: First Pilgrimage of the Faithful
--The first Pilgrimage of the Faithful is not only the first such occurance, but also the largest, and in some respects the most impressive. Tens of thousands gather throughout the north of England in protest of the dissolution of the monasteries, sometimes taking over towns. And yet this very size works against it--the Pilgrimage is not a coherant movement, but a fairly spontaneous uprising of people with grievances.  Stop the dissolution! Down with Cromwell! The True Faith must be reestablished in England! Or, perhaps, merely left alone in the North! Prince Henry is particular stumbling block for the Pilgrims--a few Catholic diehards hold he is a bastard, and must forfeit his claim for his sister, Mary.  The Marians are, however, a minority--more common are demands that Prince Henry be brought up Catholic, or simply ignoring the entire matter. While generally these differences are papered over, sometimes, they are not--in Lincolnshire, a group of Marians are assaulted by their fellow Pilgrims, who call them rebels and traitors.
This lack of coherance damages the Pilgrims greatly--many sympathetic nobles who would otherwise support the movement hold back from what they percieve as a dangerous rabble, and later join in its suppression. Indeed, men who will go on to lead later Pilgrimages recieve commendations for fighting this one. All this comes later, however. For the moment, the Pilgrimage is massive, dangerous, and seemingly invulnerable.
--Emperor Charles recieves news of the Pilgrimage. While he's a bit occupied with the latest Italian War, the version he recieves sounds grim enough for Henry to get him thinking about an invasion--after all, aside from being an apostate who has divorced his aunt, and imprisoned his young cousin, Henry is an ally to Francois, and might just join the war in the future. It may actually be the wisest course to strike at him when he's at a disadvantage. Ideally, Charles needs some sort of casus belli. And he thinks he has the perfect one.
Reginald Pole is an English theologian that's been drifting around Europe in self-imposed exile since 1432, who has presently attached himself to the Emperor's retinue. He is a dedicated Catholic, and a brilliant proponent of the Counter-Reformation--indeed, Pope Paul is rumored to have flirted with the idea of naming him a Cardinal, but decided against it as needlessly provocative.  He is also, by a great bit of luck, a descendant of the Plantagenents, which could serve as a fairly plausible rationale for handing him the throne, thus putting England back in the hands of the Catholics--indeed, in the hands of the right sort of Catholics. Admittedly, Reginald has several items, among them an elder brother, that weaken such a claim, but with a good amount of swords behind him, Charles is pretty sure it could stick. Especially if Reginald marries Charles' cousin, Mary, neatly tying it all together. 
Charles explains his plan to Pole, who is... less than happy with it. While he doesn't agree with much--or really, any--of Henry's actions of late, this seems rather blatantly treasonous. He has family back in England, and this would almost certainly hurt them--Reginald has in fact been doing his best to keep his mouth shut on the whole matter for their sake.  And honestly, he doesn't see England rushing to embrace a pretender with a dubious claim backed by a lot of foreign soldiers, even if he does promise to bring Catholicism back.
Unfortunately for Reginald, he doesn't understand that kings are pretty much kings, even when they're generally pleasant Holy Roman Emperors. Charles isn't taking 'no' for an answer on this one. Reginald is going to be Charles' cat's-paw for a prospective English invasion, whether he likes it or not. Charles has Pole escorted to the Low Countries under heavy guard--for his own protection, natch,--where he will wait for Charles to launch his invasion. Which if this present uprising continues in the manner it's been going so far, will probably be any day now.
--For the last few months, Cromwell has been the victim of an organized whisper campaign. Henry keeps hearing rumors that the dissolution is not being done with quite the integrity that he's been told it has, that Cromwell is botching things, that King Henry is being made a fool of. Nothing definite, mind you, no out and out accusations--just constant rumors meant to get Henry in just the right frame of mind to give Cromwell the boot, and perhaps something more permanent. Of course, Cromwell is a sharp cookie, and he knows that this is happening, though at first he chalks it up to the opposition that self-made men of power always have to face in politics. Eventually, he realizes that this goes a bit deeper. People are actually aligning against him. And when the Pilgrimage starts he realizes that the jig is up. He's going to lose now. All he can do is make sure that he doesn't lose too much.
Cromwell starts by approaching the woman he suspects has been behind much of the maneuvering--Anne. While the exact details of their conversation are somewhat sketchy, Cromwell leaves it certain of one thing--Anne does not want him dead, merely suitably humbled. This is good news. That leaves the King to deal with. On November 23rd, he arrives at a council meeting in tears, begging Henry's forgiveness. He has failed the King--he has been misled by others, and thus, misled Henry--he has been the victim of rogues and villains, and thus, made Henry their victim as well. He begs Henry to accept his resignation and his most abject apologies. Henry does so. The next day, Cromwell retires to his estates, having lost his office, but kept his head, though he is well aware that it might require further effort on his part to keep it there in the near future. Still, he considers it a decent exchange. Living men can recover from setbacks. Dead men generally cannot.
--When the news of Cromwell's resignation reaches the Pilgrims, the results are dramatic--most of the Pilgrims start heading home. They have long viewed Cromwell as the author of all policies they disapprove of, and are certain with him gone, the battle is won. Besides, it's cold out. The remaining Pilgrims are Catholic diehards, mostly, but not entirely Marians, who remain convinced that they have to continue until the King restores the Faith, and (for the Marians) the proper succession. This remnant is far more disciplined and dedicated then their fellows--but now, the Pilgrimage is no longer an awe-inspiringly huge, seemingly relentless public uprising, but a minor rebellion by a smattering of malcontents. Henry sends Norfolk up with soldiers to put down the remainder, while nobles who have been hiding in their castles and mansions suddenly issue forth to battle these dangerous rebels. As the year ends, the First Pilgrimage of the Faithful is not over, but it is clear that it is approaching its end...
 So what has happened to make this less cohesive than the IOTL Pilgrimage of Grace? Well, again, Henry getting his hoped for son doesn't make his case seem quite so shabby, and he hasn't followed up his first divorce with getting rid of wife #2 with a show trial, which is then followed by a swift marriage to wife #3. ITTL, Henry doesn't seem quite so bad, which means that while people are about as pissed, they're a bit less sure of themselves for the most part. The result is a public uprising that after its initial fury, quickly devolves into a hopeless muddle.
 IOTL, some Catholics actually requested that Mary be put back in the line of succession before Prince Edward. ITTL, with the general muddle that typifies the first Pilgrimage of the Faithful, the roughly equivalent view is the province of a small faction of diehards.
 Which is why he isn't a Cardinal ITTL. If you were wondering.
 Eustace Chapuys was actually throwing ideas like this around IOTL, until Reginald became a Cardinal.
 He was keeping his mouth less shut IOTL--he'd actually written a pamphlet on why Henry was wrong and sent it to Henry when Henry asked Pole for his opinion of the divorce. But again, this whole situation has people double-guessing themselves--and truthfully, Pole does seem to have wanted to keep a certain distance from the whole issue at this point IOTL--here, it's just stronger.
So Cromwell survives, at least this time around.
Given that Henry's been not quite such a repulsive sod this time how come the pilgrimage is somewhat earlier? [Not sure when it occurred OTL as I'm getting crap access and can't get wiki, but obviously later as they mentioned Edward and OTL he wasn't born until the following year. Got that before my system refused to access Wiki]].
It happened about the same time, actually. Which means I must have read a source which confused it with a later, more minor revolt.
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--The remnants of the first Pilgrimage of the Faithful are crushed piece by piece over the next few months under the direction of the Duke of Norfolk. Henry scales back--but does not stop--the dissolution of the monasteries, except in Ireland, where the whole effort has folded rather neatly into Henry's longstanding project to bludgeon the Irish into submission, and is thus continued apace. That said Henry is having one of his failures of nerve. He's had an awful lot of bad things happen to him in a short space of time, and he can't help but feel that God is trying to tell him something. A part of him is wondering if mocking the Pope and getting excommunicated was such a hot idea, but unfortunately, now Paul III is the one who's being difficult on the whole reconciliation matter. (Though he does continue to not broadcast Henry's state to the world.) Still, other parts of him are blaming something else...
--Eustace Chapuys notifies the Emperor of the Pilgrimage's sputtering out. He also notes that Henry and Anne have reconciled their differences for the moment, and appear to be getting along. Just how much they've reconciled becomes apparent when Anne announces she's pregnant again.
--Charles, hearing of the end of the Pilgrimage--and dealing with the fact that Francois has struck a deal with the Turks--shelves his invasion plans, along with poor Reginald Pole, who gets stuck in a secluded house on the fringes of Antwerp, under lock and key. To protect from the malice of the King of England, of course. Rumors of the whole affair reach England, but at the moment, they're only that.
--Mary Howard, Dowager Duchess of Richmond and Summerset, and her little son Arthur Fitzroy recieve a missive from the King, who wishes his grandson to join Prince Henry's household 'that my son may have a companion, and that I may know my grandson'. It's thought that some of the initiative in this design comes from Anne--Arthur is not only a potential competitor to her own children, but thanks to the King's generosity to his father, one of the greatest landholders in England. This being so, it's best to have him and his mother viewing themselves as allies to Anne, not enemies.
--The betrothal of Princess Elizabeth and Charles of Orleans becomes semi-official, though it remains in a fairly nebulous state that both parties can back out of easily if they have to. Francois and Henry are both starting to have second thoughts on this whole alliance, which hasn't exactly netted them the incredible glory they feel they were promised. In Francois' case, his increasingly conservative Catholicism is really making being allied to 'Swears he's not a Protestant, but then acts just like one' Henry very uncomfortable indeed. Prince Henry's future marriage remains open-ended, though Marguerite de Navarre is suggesting a match between the young Prince and her daughter Jeanne. Henry in particular is less than thrilled with this idea--true, Navarre is a kingdom, but it is mostly occupied by the Spanish, and he likes to think his son could do better than that.
--In other French marriage news, James' V young wife Madeleine of Valois dies after only a few months of marriage. James has married Madeleine because of her bewitching beauty, despite her father's suggestion that he marry another French princess due Madeleine's poor health. James mourns awhile, and then starts negotiations for a new French marriage. Indeed, he already has his eye on someone who attended his wedding--a young widow named Marie of Guise.
--Mary Tudor has spent the time since her father's remarriage in virtual seclusion, shuffled from household to household as Henry puts the pressure on her to just accept the fact she's a titleless bastard. Mary is very much the child of her parents, however, and refuses to give in. She is the lawful Princess of Wales, her father's true heir, and "Prince" Henry is nothing more than the bastard of her father's evil whore of a mistress. However, in the middle of the year, Mary finds her hardships shift from merely awful, to genuinely terrifying, when she is quietly arrested and actually imprisoned. Mary soon learns she is charged with a variety of crimes--being in contact with rebels; celebrating her good stepmother's 'misfortune' (that's a polite way of saying 'miscarriage'): wishing ill against her lawful brother and sister; wishing ill against her stepmother, the Queen--with a few really awful crimes--conspiring to achieve the death of her half-brother Henry Fitzroy through sorcery ; conspiring to do the Queen ill through sorcery; treason; plotting to depose the king--being held up in the wings. Mary holds up to this barrage as best she can, certain that this is Anne's latest plot to destroy her.
She is in fact, dead wrong. This is all her father's doing. With each year, Henry has grown more and more convinced that his 'unlawful' wedding of his brother's widow is to blame for all his ills. And now, he's half convinced himself that his refusal to "be done with" the last reminder of said marriage is what has caused all the recent misfortunes he has suffered. And yet he holds off. Killing your own child is after all, a big deal.
Anne, to her credit, is horrified. Oh, she wouldn't necessarily mind Mary dying--recent events have demonstrated that she is a threat to her children and the realm in general, simply by serving as a rallying point. But she has always pictured Mary dying quietly of some nameless illness, or an unfortunate accident. Not being dragged out in a public spectacle apparently designed to rid Henry of his massive guilt complex. People still like the ex-Princess, and they've just taken care of what amounts to a mass-movement of her partisans. This is a bad idea, but Henry is quite taken with it at that the moment, and as she's learned, he can't be forced out of bad ideas--merely eased out of them.
--Another individual is also dealing with the King's ill favor, though things go quite quickly in his case. Richard Rich, Solicitor General, and Cromwell's former right-hand man is arrested, and charged with treason, fraud, corruption and assorted other crimes. The jist of the accusations against him is that Richard abused his position to grow rich of the dissolution, thus making him responsible for the Pilgrimage. Richard denies the charges, but then Edward and Thomas Seymour step forward and testify that Richard boasted to them of the great wealth he was accumulating, and tried to inveigle them into a land-buying scheme. Richard is sentenced to death for the crime of profiting off the dissolution, by a group of judges who have all profitted by the dissolution. His execution is a painful and bloody affair, and a least one chronicler insists that the only man who mourns him is his tailor.
--Cromwell's fall from power, and the Pilgrimage of the Faithful have resulted in his replacement not by one man, but many--Henry's privy council (which will be more fully detailed in an upcoming post) is presently the driving force in English politics, or more the second force, after the King's own will. While it's tough to say anyone dominates it, the Duke of Norfolk is probably the most influential member. A conservative Catholic at heart, he's using his influence at the moment to try and roll back some of the theological reforms Archbishop Cramner has instituted--though not the dissolution, which he is surprisingly keen on. Henry is unsteady on this matter--on the one hand, the Pilgrimage has him spooked, and in many respects, he's also a conservative Catholic at heart--on the other hand, he doesn't like to back away from things, and there are just enough reformers on the Council to make him second-guess himself. The result is a temporary state of inertia in matters of faith. Of course, how long it will hold is anybody's guess.
--Anne gives birth to her third child, a son. He is named Edward.
--William Tyndale is executed as a heretic in Flanders. The efforts of Queen Anne on his behalf have bought him a little more time, but in the end, they have not saved his life. Tyndale's Book of Psalms--his last work of translation, completed while he was in prison--will be published shortly after his death. 
 Anne got charged with this IOTL.
 He died in 1536 IOTL. I figured with Anne free to worry about herself a lot less, she's able to spend a bit of influence to try and keep him alive, which spares poor Will a while longer and lets him get a little more work done.
Another fascinating update with a lot of details and characters involved. Sounds like the best bet would be for Henry to do the decent thing for his country and die quickly, although then I could see Anne and her supporters clashing with Norfolk and the other Catholics over how the country goes.
I presume Norfolk's agreement with the dissolution is because he's getting a fair slice of the pie?
Love the line 'Swears he's not a Protestant, but then acts just like one' Henry
Ooh, yeah. And that is IOTL.
As for Henry--that may be the case, but he's actually in much better health than he was at this IOTL. Then again, that's not hard.
Separate names with a comma.