As a king Henry had 4 main priorities in regard to his ‘personal’ relations with the princes of Europe, these were: to secure his throne; to achieve international recognition of his kingship and his dynasty’s legitimate succession; to promote prosperity in England; and finally to maintain prestige whilst keeping costs down. Henry thought that the best way to achieve his second priority would be through marriage alliances with royal families from other countries. Foreign royal marriages were common; it was a good way to establish alliances.
Henry was able to achieve international recognition through the signing of Treaties. It is debatable how successful Henry VII was in securing international recognition in the years 1485 to 1509, I will be discussing the positive and negative outcomes Henry had to face whilst trying to secure his international recognition throughout this essay. Firstly, Henry VII negotiated marriage alliances with Scotland for Princess Margaret. Relations between Scotland and England were always tense, the kings of Scotland traditionally owed allegiance to the English Kings but always looked for ways to avoid it.After the failed invasion of James IV who had sided with Warbeck, Henry was able to offer terms on which a treaty could be based. In 1497 the Truce of Ayton was concluded. This was a great achievement for Henry as an agreement between the two countries had not been made since 1328.
The Treaty was sealed by the marriage of princess Margaret ad prince James however which was excellent for Henry. However, a downfall was that Scotland did not abandon their ancient Treaty with France and so France depended on continuing good relations between France and England. Nevertheless, whilst Henry lived this never posed as a problem.Another marriage alliance is the one that Henry arranged between Prince Arthur and Catherine of Aragon. The Treaty of Medina Del Campo is said by some historians to be the most significant achievement in Henry VII’s foreign policy e. g.
Caroline and Roger Turvey. Spain had emerged as a major power in the late fifteenth century after the unification of the country in 1497. Spain and England were rivals but both were willing to team up against France. In 1488, Henry suggested a betrothal between Prince Arthur and Ferdinand and Isabella’s daughter Catherine of Aragon.Ferdinand agreed to Henry’s demands on the size of Catherine’s dowry and promised not to help English rivals. It was specified that if either of the countries was fighting with France the other country had to act as an ally and intervene. Additionally, improved trade links were established between the two countries.
Although Henry was not helped a lot he continued his pro-Spanish policy throughout his reign helping him secure international recognition of the legitimacy of his position as king as he was seen as an equal by one of the leading royal families in Europe.Secondly, Henry ensured that he included dynastic recognition in all the important treaties that he signed for example, The Treaty of Estaples. Henry had announced his intentions of asserting his claim to the French crown and sent commissioners to collect a forced loan when the loss of Brittany was clear in the summer of 1491. He spent the year preparing to invade France with his force of 26,000 men who crossed the Channel in October 1492 and laid siege to Boulogne. They were joined by hired Breton mercenaries.Charles VIII was eager to get rid of his English aggressor and so 9 days later Charles offered peace to Henry and then on November 3rd the Treaty of Estaples was concluded. Charles promised to give no further aid to English rebels, and to pay Henry 50,000 crowns a year. The Treaty of Estaples ultimately marked Henry’s failure to keep Brittany as a independent country as Charles VIII went on to marry the princess of Brittany, uniting Brittany and France.
However, on the plus side Henry made some diplomatic gains. Firstly, Yorkist rivals were not to look to Spain or France for assistance.Also there was no immediate prospect of French aggression against England because Charles VIII was looking for glory in Italy. Additionally, Henry was accepted as an equal by the Kings of France and Spain and by the Holy Roman Empire.
Overall Henry must have felt some satisfaction when viewing the international situation at the end of 1492. Henry here achieved some of his main priorities and importantly achieved more international recognition. Henry also prevented Charles from helping Perkin Warbeck in his rebellion, and had secured an annual pension.