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It is also possible, though the evidence is by no means clear-cut, that some royal councillors opposed a policy of war. As a result of these circumstances and pressures, in March 1510 Henry felt obliged to renew his father's treaty with France. s None the less, Henry continued in his ambitions for war. Over the next few months he tried to drive a wedge between Louis and his allies, to bring an end to the war against Venice, and to create a new coalition against France. As a result of shifting fortunes and policies in Italy, his 16 England and Europe in the Sixteenth Century diplomatic efforts proved successful, and on 13 November 1511 he joined a Holy League, formed by the pope against France, as the ally of Julius II, Ferdinand of Aragon and the Venetians.

48 Henry, however, could still play out the role of the honourable knight, and he requested from the pope that the excommunication of James be lifted so that his body could be buried in St Paul's Cathedral: 'considering his own kingly dignity ... 49 Scotland excited little interest in the English king thereafter. He made no attempt to control the realm, despite the opportunities that were afforded by the minority government of James V, the position of Margaret Tudor as queen-mother, and the feuds tearing apart the Scottish nobility.

At a psychological level, the king had recently suffered serious injury to his self-esteem and manhood: the impotence experienced during the Cleves marriage and the cuckoldry inflicted by Catherine Howard evidently touched him deeply. In these personal circumstances, war seemed a highly attractive option, providing the means to recapture a feeling of youth, vitality and virility. In this context it is significant that the king mustered some 40,000 men, creating the largest 24 England and Europe in the Sixteenth Century army to be sent abroad in England's history, one clearly designed for show rather than utility.

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