Henry VIII and Francis I. The final conflict, 1540-1547
David L. Potter
David L. Potter, Henry VIII and Francis I : The final conflict, 1540-1547, Brill Academic Publisher, Leiden, 2011, 177 €.
The aim of this book is to explore the neglected subject of the final war between France and England at the end of Henry VIII’s and Francis I’s reigns. The relationship between these two monarchs has long fascinated historians and serious work has been done in the last generation, especially on the earlier period. Rather less has been done on the end of their reigns. The perspective is a dual one, from both that of England and France, with equal weight given to the reasons for conflict and the effects of war on both (on land and sea, in France and Scotland). For England, the military effort of the period proved to be extremely damaging and long-lasting, while France found itself at war on two fronts for the first time since the early 1520s. The book therefore asks why Henry VIII opted for the imperial alliance in 1542, thus committing himself to war in the long term, and why Francis I and his advisers did not do more to win over the English alliance. The Anglo-French war needs to be placed firmly in the context of the great Habsburg-Valois dual. The Anglo-French wars of this period have not received any serious modern analysis and the study of diplomacy in the period needs to be updated. Maps and plans are included and some illustrations.