Henry VIII and Scotland

Gervase Phillips explains how and why Henry so badly mishandled his relations with the Scots.

On 11th August 1513, the herald of James IV, King of Scotland, presented himself at the camp of Henry VIII outside the walls of Thérouanne, the French city which the English were then besieging. Lyon Herald had been sent to deliver a declaration of war. Scotland would be true to the ‘auld alliance’ with France. In his fury at this defiance, Henry bombastically declared, ‘I am the very owner of Scotland and he [James] holdeth it of me by homage.’ This was not the last time Henry would restate the old English claim to suzerainty over Scotland, giving many historians the impression that he was pursuing a deliberate policy of uniting the two kingdoms. For Richard Eaves, Henry’s objective was clear from early in his reign: ‘the English monarch believed he might annex Scotland’.  

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