By 1534, Thomas More had already been confronted several times about the many changes in England. In 1533, he had refused to attend the coronation of Anne Boleyn at Westminster Abbey - an absence that was certainly noticed by the King and other court notables. It was not quite treasonous - after all, he had written a letter expressing his congratulations and wishes for Anne's good health - but it was nonetheless a very public snub against the Queen that More could not bring himself to support, as he had Katherine. More's displeasure with Henry's new wife was not a new discovery, however. He had already resigned from his position as Chancellor, as a result of his refusal to accept the King's annulment and the belief that the Pope was not the true successor of Peter, and therefore the true head of the Church.
So, tension had been pretty constant between Thomas More and Henry VIII for the past few years, but in 1534, things really took a turn for the worst. In early 1534, More was accused of conspiring with Elizabeth Barton, "the Holy Maid of Kent," who would be burnt at the stake a few months later for her prophesies against Henry's annulment. However, More wiggled his way out of that one, producing letters in which he had wisely advised Barton not to interfere with the King's affairs. He was left alone...but only for a short time.
Unfortunately, this would be the last straw in the relationship between the King and Sir Thomas More. Quite understandably, Henry (who was used to having people bend at his every will), had grown tired of his old friend's disobedience and constant opposition. It had sadly come down to the belief, "If you're not with me, you're against me." In this case, Thomas More was fighting on the Pope's side, not on the King's.
We'll get back to More's story in a few days, because it's going to start getting interesting (and tragic). Poor Thomas More will be arrested in four days. Once that happens, we will see the most unfortunate, but also inspiring, details of More's Catholic martyrdom. Truly an amazing and faithful man, for his unwavering courage and devotion to Rome.