The Thrust of Greatness Part 2

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Then, when his grandfather, the Emperor Maximilian, died, Charles enter into his Habsburg inheritance at the age of twenty; the duchy of Wurttemberg was soon added to it, and after an enormous expenditure in bribes and a hasty visit to Henry 8 of England and his then wife, Catherine of Aragon, Charles’s aunt, despite the opposition of Pope Leo X and the bitter rivalry of Francis I of France, on 23 October 1520, when he was just twenty years old, a euphemism for German King – at Aix-al-Chappell. Three days later, he received the Pope’s somewhat grudging permission to use the style of Empire pending his coronation.

As inheritance go, that which descended upon Charles sounds formidable, and so it was; even more formidable than it sound, for cache element in it brought further titles and possession.

2 recently conquered kingdoms of Navarre and Granada and a handful of scattered possession north Africa; that of Aragon comprised the three states of Aragon, Valencia and Catalonia, Sicily and Sardinia, which were to cause Charles endless trouble in the future; and then there were the Netherlands, which rich enough to tempt him to impose extra taxes on them, when he desperately needed more money, and independent enough to revolt against him when he did so.

His inheritance of the duchy of Burgundy, which had been lost in all but name by his great-grandfather Charles the Bold, who had incorporated it into their realm and had no intention of allowing anyone to take it away again, set him permanently at odds with the French; while his Habsburg inheritance set him again the Turks, who had threatened the whole of eastern Europe with invasion and domination ever since the fall of Constantinople half a curlier, and who continued to do so.


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