List of The Tudors episodes
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||DVD release date|
|Region 1||Region 2||Region 4||Discs|
|1||10||2007||January 8, 2008||December 10, 2007||4|
|2||10||2008||November 11, 2008 (Canada)
January 6, 2009 (United States)
|October 13, 2008||4|
|3||8||2009||November 10, 2009 (Canada)
December 15, 2009 (United States)
|December 7, 2009||3|
|4||10||2010||October 12, 2010 (United States)
November 9, 2010 (Canada)
|March 21, 2011||3|
Season 1 (2007)
Henry VIII is the young and virile king of England, one of the most powerful nations in the world, and seems to have it all. However, he is troubled by religious unrest in his own kingdom, as well as political struggles and changing allegiances with other countries. And weighing most on his mind is his failure thus far to produce a male heir with his Queen, Katherine of Aragon; so far their only child (who survived beyond birth) is the young Princess Mary, on whom he dotes. The aunt of the powerful Spanish king Charles, Katherine is all that a Queen should be, and popular, but the difficult pursuit of a divorce approved by the Pope becomes a seductive option- especially when he encounters the beautiful, bold and intelligent Anne Boleyn.
|Title||Setting||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers
|1||1||"In Cold Blood"||1518||Charles McDougall & Steve Shill||Michael Hirst||April 1, 2007||0.869|
|Henry's uncle, Ambassador to Urbino, is assassinated by the French and Henry seizes upon this event to plan a war with France to establish his immortal reputation and seize back the title of King of France. More interested in his own ambitions, the Lord Chancellor, Cardinal Wolsey, manipulates the young king to propose a "Treaty of Universal Peace" with France instead. Thomas More, Henry's teacher and a humanist, is in favour of the treaty which further convinces a reluctant Henry to abandon his war plans. A summit is to take place in France, and—against Katherine's express wishes—their daughter Mary is to be betrothed to the Dauphin of France, also still a child. Meanwhile, Henry has a rival to the throne in the Duke of Buckingham, a blood relative to earlier Kings. Buckingham plots to murder Henry and thus grab the throne for himself, letting Thomas Boleyn and the Duke of Norfolk in on his plan. Boleyn's beautiful daughters Mary and Anne prepare to meet King Henry; meanwhile, Henry discovers that Lady Elizabeth Blount, his mistress and one of the Queen's ladies-in-waiting, is pregnant with his child.|
|2||2||"Simply Henry"||1519||Charles McDougall||Michael Hirst||April 8, 2007||0.464|
|With Thomas More's encouragement, King Henry prepares to meet King Francis of France and sign Cardinal Wolsey's peace treaty. Henry had promised the hand of his daughter, Princess Mary, to the Dauphin of France, which caused strife between Henry and his queen, Katherine of Aragon. In France, Thomas Boleyn maneuvers his elder daughter Mary into Henry's bed in an effort to secure favor for the family. The Duke of Buckingham plots against the King, claiming a better right to the throne than Henry Tudor; but his purpose is betrayed by Thomas Boleyn and the Duke is executed. Katherine of Aragon continues to pray for Henry to give her a live, healthy son, but Henry wrestles with the theological problem of having married his brother's wife, and questions whether his lack of sons could be God's punishment. There is much celebration as Lady Elizabeth Blount gives birth to Henry's illegitimate son, to Katherine's pain. When Henry loses interest in Mary Boleyn after a short time, Thomas Boleyn turns to his younger daughter, Anne, to replace her...|
|3||3||"Wolsey, Wolsey, Wolsey!"||1521||Steve Shill||Michael Hirst||April 15, 2007||0.350|
|As Cardinal Wolsey has lost his chance to be Pope with King Henry's decision to go to war against France, a new accord with Spain and Queen Katherine's nephew Charles, Holy Roman Emperor, offers him fresh hope. Thomas More is knighted by Henry, and charged with destroying any copies of the Lutheran "heresy" he can seize, obviously paining More (although he, too, considers it heretical). Princess Mary's engagement to the Dauphin of France is broken off in favour of a marriage to Charles of Spain; and Henry's elder sister, Princess Margaret, is to marry the King of Portugal. Charles Brandon, Henry's friend, is made Duke of Suffolk in order to be able to escort her to Portugal. Meanwhile, Anne Boleyn encounters Henry face-to-face for the first time at a masquerade, leaving a distinct impression on him.|
|4||4||"His Majesty, The King"||1521||Steve Shill||Michael Hirst||April 22, 2007||0.601|
|As a reward for his denunciation of Martin Luther in his book, the Defence of the Seven Sacraments, the Pope christens Henry "Defender of the Faith", but a brush with death causes the King to seek a solution to his lack of an heir. Charles V defeats Francis I and captures the latter at the Battle of Pavia. Princess Margaret reluctantly marries the decrepit King of Portugal, but the union is short-lived; Henry's desire for Anne Boleyn intensifies. Having arrested the King's secretary as a supposed French spy, Wolsey replaces him with his protege, a shrewd commoner named Thomas Cromwell.|
|5||5||"Arise, My Lord"||c. 1526||Brian Kirk||Michael Hirst||April 29, 2007||0.592|
|King Henry is stunned by a reversal in his alliance with Emperor Charles and forced to look elsewhere for European support, while Anne Boleyn refuses his offer of mistress status, inflaming his desire to marry her. Katherine of Aragon's alliance with Charles and her hatred for Cardinal Wolsey intensify. Wolsey urges appealing to Clement VII because the English bishops don't all approve of annulling Henry's marriage to Cathorine. Charles Brandon and the newly-widowed Margaret Tudor marry secretly, which infuriates the King, and he banishes both of them from court. Henry bestows a Dukedom on his bastard son Henry FitzRoy, but is heartbroken when FitzRoy dies only weeks later. Rome is sacked by Charles V.|
|6||6||"True Love"||c. 1527||Brian Kirk||Michael Hirst||May 6, 2007||0.599|
|As King Henry gains in confidence, his displeasure with the way the Catholic church handles his request for an annulment of his marriage to Katherine of Aragon grows. As a result, Cardinal Wolsey's position is weakening, leaving him vulnerable to his enemies. Having restored Henry's former alliance with the French King Francis, Wolsey attempts to convene a conclave of the Cardinals in France, beyond the reach of Emperor Charles' influence, to decide on the matter. But the Cardinals refuse to come- on orders from the Pope, who remains the Emperor's captive. In return for securing his return to court and reconciliation with the King, Charles Brandon makes a reluctant alliance with the Duke of Norfolk and the Boleyn family.|
|7||7||"Message to the Emperor"||1528||Alison Maclean||Michael Hirst||May 13, 2007||0.460|
|William Compton dies of the "sweating sickness" at Compton Wynates, his house in Warwickshire. As King Henry VIII receives positive news of his war against Emperor Charles, the sickness spreads like a wildfire. Henry flees the palace and London, and starts having doubts about the future and his ability to rule the country. Both Anne Boleyn and Cardinal Wolsey are stricken with the disease, but recover. Wolsey sends agents to the exiled Pope asking for him to make a favorable decision on Henry's 'Great Matter' but Clement instead sends his legate, Cardinal Campeggio, to make a final decision in England.|
|8||8||"Truth and Justice"||1528||Alison Maclean||Michael Hirst||May 20, 2007||0.424|
|The Pope's legate Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio arrives to hear the case for King Henry VIII's divorce from Katherine of Aragon. Cardinal Wolsey intimidates Campeggio: "Let me make certain things plain to you. If you do not grant the King his divorce, papal authority in England will be annihilated!" Wolsey has assured Henry that the divorce will be granted, but the Pope and Campeggio are not so easily swayed. A desperate Wolsey begs Queen Katherine to abdicate the marriage, but she ultimately refuses. Wolsey's enemies circle; Anne Boleyn plants more doubt in Henry's mind about Wolsey, who soon threatens Campeggio both physically and politically. A Legatine Court convenes at Blackfriar's Church, and both Henry and Katherine plead their cases.|
|9||9||"Look to God First"||1529||Ciaran Donnelly||Michael Hirst||June 3, 2007||0.396|
|The legatine trial on the legitimacy of King Henry's marriage to Katherine continues despite the queen's refusal to attend, but the papal envoy receives notice to return to Rome and place the evidence to the judgement of the Curia. The Pope procrastinates and Henry, goaded by the conspirators Thomas Boleyn, the Duke of Norfolk and Charles Brandon, strips Wolsey of his temporal power and properties, bans him from court and instructs him to resume his now sole role as Archbishop of York. Thomas More reluctantly succeeds Wolsey as Chancellor of the realm. Anne Boleyn, encouraged by her ally Thomas Cromwell (the King's secretary), subtly and opportunely asks the king to reacquaint himself with the subject of Lutheranism. Margaret Tudor dies of tuberculosis, and her widower Charles Brandon shows repentance for his infidelity at her deathbed.|
|10||10||"The Death of Wolsey"||1530||Ciaran Donnelly||Michael Hirst||June 10, 2007||0.465|
|Wolsey, now acting solely as the Archbishop of York and living in relative poverty, is repudiated by Anne Boleyn and writes to Queen Katherine instead, trying to gain her support. Thomas More uses his new powers as Chancellor and starts actively persecuting prominent Lutherans- including burning six of them at the stake, to the anger of Thomas Cromwell. King Henry finds his new Privy Counsellors less proficient than Wolsey was in running the country; he threatens to reinstate the Cardinal, spurring Norfolk and Suffolk to find a way to 'end' Wolsey. Henry has also found elements much to his liking in the teachings of Luther, and dispatches Cromwell to canvass various European faculties of theology, hopefully to obtain favourable opinions regarding his intended divorce. Wolsey's secret communication with the Queen is uncovered by Cromwell, and he is arrested by Charles Brandon and charged with high treason. His fall from grace now complete, Wolsey laments his decadent lifestyle and commits suicide in a jail cell en route to London. Anne Boleyn engages Henry in a sexual encounter, but forces him to perform coitus interruptus after which a furious Henry storms off.|
Season 2 (2008)
The season 2 premiere of The Tudors attracted 768 000 viewers to the original broadcast, with an additional 254 000 viewing the reaired broadcast the same night.
|Title||Setting||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers
|11||1||"Everything Is Beautiful"||1532||Jeremy Podeswa||Michael Hirst||March 30, 2008||0.768|
|As he seeks the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, King Henry VIII seeks to appoint himself the head of the Church of England. Anne Boleyn insists that Henry remove Queen Catherine from the picture – and Court. The new Pope Paul III, not wanting to displease either the king or the Emperor, practically suggests that Anne Boleyn be assassinated instead. Lutheran clergyman Thomas Cranmer, newly arrived at Court, receives a promotion as the king's chaplain at the behest of Cromwell and the Boleyns. Thomas and George Boleyn bribe a cook to poison the food of Catherine's strongest supporter, Bishop of Rochester John Fisher; however, the bishop survives and the cook, Richard Roose, is boiled alive. King Henry banishes the Queen from court. At the end of this episode the Spanish ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, is seen discussing the assassination of Anne with an unknown, hooded man.|
|12||2||"Tears of Blood"||1532||Jeremy Podeswa||Michael Hirst||April 6, 2008||N/A|
|As the Catholic Church struggles in vain to control Henry VIII's demands for an annulment, the King appoints himself head of the Church of England; initial protests are stifled when Archbishop of Canterbury William Warham officially submits the Clergy to Henry. When Anne Boleyn insists Henry break all contacts with Catherine, the Queen is banished from court. The Reformation has begun; depressed by his failure to prevent it, Sir Thomas More resigns as Henry's Chancellor. Charles Brandon's growing hatred for the Boleyns- and his mistrust of Cromwell- causes him to abandon his alliance with them, losing him the King's favor again. Anne is created Marquess of Pembroke before she and Henry visit France to present Anne as the future Queen of England and Henry's future wife. After talks between both Henry and Anne with the French King to secure his support, in their chamber, Anne finally submits sexually to Henry, asking him to help her conceive the son and heir they both want, narrowly avoiding another encounter with the Imperial-hired assassin.|
|13||3||"Checkmate"||1533||Colm McCarthy||Michael Hirst||April 13, 2008||N/A|
|Henry destroys all ties with authority and the past. After many failed attempts to have his marriage to Catherine annulled by the Catholic Church, Henry runs out of patience and marries a pregnant Anne Boleyn in secret. He appoints the young Lutheran Thomas Cranmer to succeed the deceased William Warham as Archbishop of Canterbury and strips Queen Catherine of her title and status, along with Princess Mary; they are hence to be known as the Princess Dowager of Wales and the Lady Mary, respectively. The Act of Restrain of Appeals is presented to Parliament by Cromwell and passes. As Sir Thomas More has resigned as Chancellor, Henry hands the position to the pro-Lutheran Thomas Cromwell. Anne Boleyn is crowned Queen of England to a small and uneager crowd and escapes an assassination attempt. Pope Paul III threatens to excommunicate the king and the church of England from the Roman Catholic Church if Henry does not return to Catherine, but Henry tears the papal edict in half. Henry is also disappointed when Anne Boleyn gives birth to a daughter, Elizabeth, instead of his desired son, and soon resumes his philandering with ladies of the court despite assuring Anne they will still have a son.|
|14||4||"The Act of Succession"||1534||Colm McCarthy||Michael Hirst||April 20, 2008||N/A|
|Questions of faith dominate the court. As the infant Princess Elizabeth is baptised, Thomas Cromwell unveils the 'Act of Succession', declaring that only children of Henry and Anne are legitimate successors to the English throne. A law is passed where every royal subject must take an oath, on pain of death, recognising the validity of the King's new marriage and the supremacy of Henry VIII in all matters. Although Charles Brandon reluctantly does so- thus restoring him to the King's favor again- Bishop Fisher and Sir Thomas More refuse and are imprisoned in the Tower. Catherine of Aragon lives now in total seclusion, and Lady Mary is sent to be a maid to the baby Princess Elizabeth, her half-sister. Anne soon discovers the identity of the King's new mistress and secretly has her brother George banish her. Pregnant again to Henry's delight, Anne, at her father's prompting, tacitly approves of the king's infidelity while she is with child, albeit those of her own choosing and posing no political threat to her.|
|15||5||"His Majesty's Pleasure"||1535||Ciaran Donnelly||Michael Hirst||April 27, 2008||N/A|
|Attempts to legitimise the King's marriage and increase his power hit firm obstacles as Sir Thomas More and Cardinal Fisher insist that only Christ can be the head of the church, but both of them are now arrested. Meanwhile Henry's wandering eye continues to roam. Queen Anne Boleyn unexpectedly miscarries her child and fears that the king has lost his love for her. Anne also fears the Lady Mary and Catherine of Aragon for she feels that Henry may still designate Mary as Heir over her own beloved daughter, Elizabeth. Also, Anne's relationship with her older sister, Mary Boleyn, deteriorates when Mary marries a commoner in secret and becomes pregnant with his child without asking her permission; Anne has the pair banished from court when pressured by her father Thomas Boleyn. Imprisoned in the Tower, Cardinal Fisher and Sir Thomas More face likely execution unless they take the Oath of Allegiance, which Cromwell encourages them to do. Both still refuse, even after More received pleas from his family, and both are found guilty of high treason, and are beheaded despite Henry's indecisiveness on Thomas More. Meanwhile, Catherine of Aragon's health begins to fail.|
|16||6||"The Definition of Love"||c. 1535||Ciaran Donnelly||Michael Hirst||May 4, 2008||0.649|
|As the Reformation gathers pace, Sir Thomas Cromwell becomes ever more powerful as propagandist-in-chief of a new moral order. Royal confidence has given way to doubt. Henry is haunted by the memory of the executed Thomas More, while Queen Anne Boleyn's insecurities border on paranoia. Her husband's affairs continue and an effort to have her daughter Elizabeth betrothed to a French prince fails when the French King refuses to recognize the infant Princess's legitimacy; Anne's interference with policies both foreign and domestic also anger the King, as he expected her to play a more submissive role after receiving her crown. As a result of this debacle, deep fractures begin to appear in Henry and Anne's marriage. Meanwhile Charles Brandon feels remorse for being unfaithful to his wife, but resumes his friendship with the King.|
|17||7||"Matters of State"||1536||Dearbhla Walsh||Michael Hirst||May 11, 2008||N/A|
|As Thomas Cromwell's increasingly ruthless 'reforms' spread terror through an ever more vulnerable Catholic Church, Anne Boleyn has nightmares that her position at the King's side is under threat from the continued existence of former Queen Catherine and her daughter Mary. Catherine's death removes much of the perceived illegitimacy of Anne's position, and a passionate sexual encounter with Henry seems to heal the rift with her husband. However, she is still far from secure, and her quarrels with her former ally Cromwell alarm her father and brother. Meanwhile Henry is occupied by the sad news of Catherine's death and later has a happy encounter with Lady Jane Seymour. Anne Boleyn announces to her father that she is pregnant with a son.|
|18||8||"Lady in Waiting"||1536||Dearbhla Walsh||Michael Hirst||May 18, 2008||N/A|
|At Henry's command Jane Seymour is made a lady-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn, much to the discomfort and suspicion of the Queen. Emperor Charles indicates through Chapuys his interest in renewing relations with England. However Charles insists on legitimizing Lady Mary as Henry's heir as his condition, something Cromwell knows Anne will oppose. When Henry is seriously injured in a jousting match all thoughts turn to who might succeed him. After he recovers, Anne finds Henry kissing with Jane, and her shock, anger and grief leads to another miscarriage- of a son. Infuriated by yet another failed pregnancy, the episode closes with Henry declaring to Cromwell that his marriage with Anne is null and void, saying he was 'bewitched' into marrying her.|
|19||9||"The Act of Treason"||17th May 1536||Jon Amiel||Michael Hirst||May 25, 2008||0.670|
|Anne has lost her son, and with him her last chance at a lasting marriage with Henry. The King's affections are shifting anyway: the Seymour family are awarded new and more luxurious rooms at court and soon replace the Boleyns as the new royal favourites. Anne's behavior becomes more erratic as she is browbeaten by her family to help regain favor at any cost. Several members of the court, including Charles Brandon, begin to move against her, accusing her of adultery and witchcraft. Arrests are made of suspected lovers, and eventually of Anne herself. Cromwell leads the interrogations, torturing some of the scapegoats to force a false confession. All of the accused (apart from Thomas Wyatt), including the Queen, are sentenced to death. Four of Anne's supposed lovers, including her trusted friend Mark Smeaton and her beloved brother George are executed at the Tower while a grief-stricken Anne awaits her own fate.|
|20||10||"Destiny and Fortune"||18th–19th May 1536||Jon Amiel||Michael Hirst||June 1, 2008||0.852|
|As Anne Boleyn awaits her death, which is painfully delayed by the executioner's late arrival, Henry visits Jane Seymour and asks for her hand in marriage. Declaring his marriage to Anne null and void means that their daughter Elizabeth becomes illegitimate and is no longer in line to the throne, clearing the way for a legitimate heir to come from his marriage with Jane; meanwhile, Lady Mary, delighted at Anne's fall, hopes she will soon be reconciled with her father. George Boleyn and the other men that are supposedly Anne's lovers have been put to death, while Earl Thomas Boleyn is expelled from court in permanent disgrace. Archbishop Thomas Cranmer is still Anne's loyal ally, but he can do nothing for her except protect her daughter and take her final confession, in which she firmly maintains that she was never unfaithful to Henry. Despite the roles they played in bringing Anne and her family down, both Charles Brandon and Cromwell show some remorse, feeling that death is too harsh a punishment for her. The season ends as Anne loses her head, going to her death with great dignity and surprising sympathy from the onlookers and the executioner. Henry, on the other hand, breakfasts in splendor on a swan and looks forward to his oncoming third marriage, completely indifferent to the death of his second queen.|
Season 3 (2009)
The third season of The Tudors premiered on April 5, 2009, and attracted 726,000 viewers in the United States, which was a five percent decrease from the previous season's premiere. The premiere bested HBO's In Treatment season two premiere which drew 657,000 viewers, and marks one of the few times that a Showtime original received more viewers than an HBO original. The season finale aired on May 24, 2009, and the original broadcast attained 366,000 viewers.
|Title||Setting||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers
|21||1||"Civil Unrest"||30th May 1536||Ciaran Donnelly||Michael Hirst||April 5, 2009||0.726|
|The third season premier. Days after Anne Boleyn's execution, Henry VIII weds a third time, to shy, demure noblewoman Jane Seymour – a union that he and his advisers pray will result in a male heir; Henry appears to an apparently pleased court, but secretly Thomas Cromwell and Lord Rich worry for their plans for a reformation. Lady Ursula Misseldon arrives at court to wait upon the new queen, and is soon mistress to Sir Francis Bryan. Lady Mary is threatened with death unless she submits to her father's authority and, under guidance from the Spanish ambassador, reluctantly complies. A number of Catholics, once-loyal subjects, rebel in objection to Henry's crusade against Catholicism and the dissolution of the monasteries, shaking Cromwell's new-found confidence, and enraging Henry.|
|22||2||"The Northern Uprising"||Winter 1536||Ciaran Donnelly||Michael Hirst||April 12, 2009||N/A|
|The rebellion now known as the Pilgrimage of Grace in York begins in earnest, with Henry dispatching Brandon to deal with the uprising. Darcy surrenders the Pontefract Castle. Bedridden due to the painful ulcerating of his jousting injury, Henry takes a new mistress named Lady Ursula Misseldon in his frustration at the Queen's lack of pregnancy. Queen Jane unveils the king's daughter, Lady Mary, at court in a bid to see her restored to the succession.|
|23||3||"Dissension and Punishment"||1536–1537||Ciaran Donnelly||Michael Hirst||April 19, 2009||N/A|
|Queen Jane and Lady Mary bring the toddler Lady Elizabeth to court, and Henry reconciles with her at the Christmas holiday. He also makes promises of pardons and redress of grievances to the leaders of the Pilgrimage of Grace, while making plans to bring them to heel for their insurrection, then using a further uprising as an excuse to have Charles Brandon put the leaders to death.|
|24||4||"The Death of a Queen"||July–October 1537||Ciaran Donnelly||Michael Hirst||April 26, 2009||N/A|
|The leaders of the Pilgrimage of Grace uprising are put to death, but Brandon is haunted by the cruelty and mercilessness of the suppression and his part in it; Henry celebrates the birth of a son but his joy is short-lived as Queen Jane dies within days.|
|25||5||"Problems in the Reformation"||1537–1538||Jeremy Podeswa||Michael Hirst||May 3, 2009||N/A|
|Henry remains in seclusion with his jester Will Sommers while mourning the queen's death, an opportunity that enemies of the crown seize to murder several friends of the court; Cromwell is disturbed when Henry does not resist his new church's similarities to Catholicism. Meanwhile Henry ends his depression by having sex with Ursula one more time before she returns to her hometown.|
|26||6||"Search for a New Queen"||1538–1539||Jeremy Podeswa||Michael Hirst||May 10, 2009||N/A|
|Matchmaking begins in earnest as Cromwell schemes to secure the Reformation by marrying Henry to a Protestant wife – but the king's marital reputation precedes him; the condition of Henry's wounded leg turns life-threatening.|
|27||7||"Protestant Anne of Cleves"||1539–1540||Jeremy Podeswa||Michael Hirst||May 17, 2009||N/A|
|War looms with France and Spain aligning against England with backing from Rome, so Henry agrees to a politically fortuitous marriage with Anne of Cleves (Joss Stone), a plain and unsophisticated German aristocrat he has never met.|
|28||8||"The Undoing of Cromwell"||Spring – 28 July 1540||Jeremy Podeswa||Michael Hirst||May 24, 2009||0.366|
|Henry moves swiftly to annul his loveless marriage to Anne of Cleves, and beds a new mistress, 17-year-old Katherine Howard (Tamzin Merchant); Princess Mary falls in love with Duke Philip of Bavaria in spite of their religions, only to be heartbroken when he is sent away from court; Cromwell's fall from favour is sudden and dramatic. The season ends with Cromwell's beheading.|
Season 4 (2010)
On April 10, 2009, it was announced that Showtime had picked up The Tudors for a fourth and final season, which contained 10 episodes and began airing on April 11, 2010. Maria Doyle Kennedy, Natalie Dormer, and Annabelle Wallis reprised their roles as Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, and Jane Seymour, respectively, in individual dream sequences in the final episode.
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|Title||Setting||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers
|29||1||"Moment of Nostalgia"||Summer 1540||Dearbhla Walsh||Michael Hirst||April 11, 2010||0.883|
|Whitehall Palace, London 1540. Thirty years into the reign of King Henry VIII and it’s been a long, hot, summer: London is experiencing intense heat and there has been no rain for two months. But while his subjects wilt, the King’s vigor remains undiminished. The underlying rivalry between Catholics and Lutherans continues, led by Bishop of Rochester Stephen Gardiner and Lord Edward Seymour of Hartford. Meanwhile, Henry has just married the beautiful Katherine Howard, his fifth Queen, who is a mere seventeen years old. Katherine is different from earlier wives in more ways than age: though born into an aristocratic family, she had been left by her impoverished father in the care of her aunt, who raised her in a large household with little education or supervision. Katherine attempts to befriend Henry's children; she befriends his young son, Prince Edward, but gets nothing but contempt from Mary while Elizabeth prefers to spend time with Anne of Cleves. Joan Bulmer, the new Queen’s childhood friend, is hired as a lady in waiting; she knows too much scandalous detail about Katherine’s sexual past to be outside the court. The Queen’s ‘low’ background, combined with her youth and beauty, arouses a lusty familiarity in certain members of Henry’s court. Her most notable admirer is the King’s handsome and ambitious new groom Thomas Culpeper, who makes no secret of his desire for the new Queen. During an extended hunting trip visit by the royal entourage, Culpeper unleashes his sexual frustrations by raping an unfortunate local peasant woman and then murdering her aggrieved husband. Meanwhile, Charles Brandon and his wife, Catherine Brandon, are separated after Charles's actions in defeating the Pilgrimage of Grace.|
|30||2||"Sister"||Winter 1540||Dearbhla Walsh||Michael Hirst||April 18, 2010||0.740|
|Thomas Culpeper – principal groom to Henry VIII – continues to make eyes at his King’s young bride, Katherine Howard. He is not alone; the teen Queen inspires many admirers in Henry’s court, not least the King himself who spoils his new wife with an endless supply of extravagant gifts. Lady Rochford gets plenty of gossip about her new mistress from Katherine’s old friend and indiscreet lady-in-waiting Joan Bulmer who hints about their sexual adventures as young ladies. When Rochford sleeps with Culpeper soon after, he doesn’t hide that the Queen is his real desire and she helpfully suggests that she aid him in seducing Katherine. On a drinking binge with his cronies in one of London’s nastiest neighborhoods, the arrogant Lord Surrey persecutes prostitutes, smashes windows and causes general mayhem. Not content with stirring up trouble after dark, Surrey intends to be the scourge of the Seymour brothers –- Edward and Thomas – whom he considers mere commoners. As part of the Christmas festivities Henry invites his previous wife Anne of Cleves to the palace. He is pleasantly surprised by her beauty – something he missed when they were married – and delighted by her graciousness. But where once he was the life and soul of such parties, the aging King goes to bed early and the party grows boisterous in his absence. Never before have two of Henry’s wives had such fun together, nor have so many of his male courtiers enjoyed openly ogling their Queen, nor has Princess Mary ever hated a Queen as much as she hates Katherine Howard, since Katherine's cousin, and mother of Elizabeth, Anne Boleyn, was on the throne.|
|31||3||"Something for You"||Spring 1541||Dearbhla Walsh||Michael Hirst||April 25, 2010||0.890|
|Henry VIII is in great spirits. Buoyed by the happiness that a young wife brings an aging man, he is noticeably more tolerant and forgiving than the Henry of old. He pardons a criminal, gives blessings and alms to a crowd of the poor, visits Princess Elizabeth and plans a visit to the North of England – his first visit to the territory that hatched the ‘Pilgrimage of Grace’ rebellion. Charles Brandon is ordered to go ahead and make preparations. Scenes of rebellion are now closer to home. Unknown to the doting King, his wife Katherine Howard has begun a serious flirtation with Culpeper with the assistance of her lady in waiting, Lady Rochford. Cuckolding the King is a capital offense, but Henry can play by different rules and takes his pleasure in the bed of Anne of Cleves, the ex-wife he once thought ugly. A large and impressive entourage accompanies the King, Queen and Princess Mary north to the city of Lincoln for the royal visit. In his appreciation for the warm welcome he receives, Henry gives a speech forgiving the city for its earlier revolt, and the Lady Mary gives a speech. Feeling benevolent and powerful once more, the King longs to be with his young bride but his troublesome leg-wound makes him tired and irritable and confines him to his room. Thomas Culpeper, on the other hand, is young, passionate and fit for a Queen.|
|32||4||"Natural Ally"||Summer/ Autumn 1541||Ciarán Donnelly||Michael Hirst||May 2, 2010||0.902|
|Pontefract Castle, Yorkshire was the only royal property captured by the rebels during the Catholic uprising known as the ‘Pilgrimage of Grace’. In a symbolic gesture, it now welcomes Henry and his large entourage. Rejuvenated by the affection he has experienced in his tour of the north of England, Henry feels a stirring sexual energy towards his Queen. Charles Brandon, on the other hand, senses death as he remembers the hangings and punishments he oversaw as the King’s representative during the Northern rebellion. In a castle full of ghosts, Queen Katherine sees something like one when a young man arrives at her door. He is Francis Dereham, one of the men she had sexual liaisons with before she married the King... and he wants a job. Threatened with blackmail, she has little choice but to give in. Katherine Howard’s past begins to catch up with her on another front.|
|33||5||"Bottom of the Pot"||Winter 1541/February 13, 1542||Ciarán Donnelly||Michael Hirst||May 9, 2010||0.929|
|The King receives an anonymous letter accusing his wife of sexual relationships with two men, including Francis Dereham. Henry thinks the whole thing is a fraud but nonetheless orders an investigation, to be led by Lord Hertford. Queen Katherine is shocked to be confined to her apartments by the King’s orders, with no visitors permitted. The investigation into her past moves with speed: Francis Dereham is arrested and interrogated; Joan Bulmer is questioned, as is the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, at whose home Joan and Katherine lived as young women, where their immoral acts are rumored to have taken place. Dereham confesses that he and Katherine Howard had planned to get married and that he knew her carnally before she became Queen: a serious revelation, but not adultery. Uncharacteristically, Henry weeps when told of these discoveries. Nevertheless, his response is unsentimental and swift: Katherine Howard is removed from court and her title as Queen withdrawn. Her pleas for understanding and forgiveness are coldly ignored, but she knows she is lucky to escape with her life. Francis Dereham is brutally tortured as Lord Hertford seeks to establish whether Katherine committed adultery. Dereham denies the charge but points to Thomas Culpeper, who is promptly arrested. Furious that the betrayal was widely known, Henry isolates himself from his court. Later, Katherine Howard, Thomas Culpeper, Francis Dereham and Lady Rochford are all executed, and Joan is lucky to escape with her life. Betrayed, bruised but unbowed, the King gives a banquet, attended only by 26 beautiful young women.|
|34||6||"You Have My Permission"||1542||Ciarán Donnelly||Michael Hirst||May 16, 2010||0.820|
|In a surprise decision, the King orders a new Act of Parliament which restores the succession rights of his two daughters, Princess Mary and Princess Elizabeth, and, although they are next in line after their younger brother Edward, it is a powerful gesture of his love, which will have historical consequences. At the same time, recalling Katherine Howard's fate, Elizabeth makes a vow that will also have historical consequences--"As God is my witness, I shall never marry." The King dispatches Hertford and his arch enemy the Earl of Surrey north to warn the King of Scotland that any further acts of aggression will be responded to with the might of England’s armies. But Surrey is no man for issuing warnings, and the body count is high at the Battle of Solway Moss. Meanwhile, both the ambassador of France and the ambassador of the Holy Roman Empire seek the support of Henry in attacking each other. To the surprise of his court, Henry sides with the Catholic Emperor, for the first time since he was married to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. The Catholic alliance signals a weakening of the Reformation’s influence in English politics. Realizing that the tide is turning, Bishop Stephen Gardiner goes on the hunt for suspected Calvinists. Single once again, Henry takes an interest in the twice-married Catherine Parr, a woman closer to his own age than his usual fancies. She has in mind to marry Thomas Seymour, but within hours of her husband’s death, Seymour is hastily transferred to Brussels as permanent Ambassador, and the King proposes marriage.|
|35||7||"Sixth and the Final Wife"||1543||Jeremy Podeswa||Michael Hirst||May 23, 2010||0.948|
|Henry marries Catherine Parr, his sixth and final wife. The wedding is notable for the presence of Henry’s daughters, the now restored Princesses Mary and Elizabeth. Catherine is determined to be a loving stepmother to the King’s children, who are fond of her in return. Plans are made for the invasion of France, and Charles Brandon is named commander of the English armies. The emissaries of the Emperor Charles, with whom Henry has formed an alliance, are entertained in great style at the English court where, to their surprise and delight, Princess Mary addresses them in Spanish. As the Catholic influence increases, Bishop Gardiner begins to investigate the new Queen’s religious beliefs. She is rumored to be a secret Protestant and he intends to expose her. But any such suspicions are excused by the courage and commitment she shows in nursing the King when he is once again struck down by his ulcerous leg. There has never been a Queen so attentive to Henry at his most vulnerable. The war effort is elaborate and costly. Three hundred ships have been requisitioned to take guns, wagons, horses and the army to France. The King may not be in peak condition but he is determined to lead his armies into battle, to recapture both the lands he once held and a glimmer of his youth. To the shock and horror of Bishop Gardiner, the King appoints Catherine regent in his absence, protector of the realm and guardian of his children. The new Queen rises to the opportunity with ease and is well liked and respected by all.|
|36||8||"As It Should Be"||1544||Jeremy Podeswa||Michael Hirst||June 6, 2010||0.991|
|The year is 1544. Under the supervision of Henry VIII, the Earl of Surrey and his men attempt to undermine the French fortifications at Boulogne. Clearly pleased to be once again in the field of battle, the King dines and entertains in style at his tent some distance from the action. But progress is slow and conditions are appalling for his soldiers. Over two thousand men die of disease and starvation and another three thousand fall ill as ‘the flux’ sweeps the King’s camp. When hope of success seems all but lost, Treviso, the King’s engineer, explodes a mine that spectacularly brings down the city's walls. The French surrender to a gloating Henry, who returns to England in triumph and commands festivities and celebrations throughout the land. Charles Brandon, who has been separated from his wife for some time, finds happiness with a young Frenchwoman, Brigitte, who returns with him from France. While Henry too has been rejuvenated by the siege of Boulogne, given a taste once more of the vigor and vitality of his youth, he may have pushed his already weakened body too far.|
|37||9||"Secrets of the Heart"||1544–1546||Ciarán Donnelly||Michael Hirst||June 13, 2010||0.724|
|King Henry VIII is aging rapidly: the recent siege of Boulogne has taken its toll, his ulcerous leg is constantly in pain, and he now requires glasses to read. Political events continue to be tumultuous and exhausting. The profligate Earl of Surrey, a noble not known for his sense of judgment, loses 600 men in an unprovoked battle in France, endangering Henry’s recent success at Boulogne. News arrives that the King of France is preparing for war and, worse, that the Emperor Charles, England’s recent ally, has seized English ships and properties. The rising influence of Bishop Gardiner is signaled by the appointment of a Catholic, Wriothesley, to the important position of Lord Chancellor. Nonetheless the Lutherans continue with their radical reforms, the latest of which is women preachers. One such preacher, Anne Askew, is imprisoned and tortured by Wriothesley and then burnt at the stake for her perceived heresies. Sir Richard Rich brings bad news to the Princess Mary; her best friend, and long-time confidant, Eustace Chapuys, is dead. Mary avows that it is all her fault for not being a boy, and declares, that, if she becomes Queen, then she will return England to the true faith. Sensing their rise in authority, Gardiner and his allies are determined to trap Queen Catherine. Brazenly, the Bishop suggests to the King that he has proof of her heresy. Henry confuses the Bishop with the reply that even if this were true – and he probably knows that it is – he would spare her life. The Earl of Surrey, however, is not so fortunate. Defiant on his return to court, he fails to convince Henry’s Privy Council with his explanation of how so many men were lost under his command in France. His rank is withdrawn and the King refuses to see him. Surrey’s wild antics and attitude have won him no friends among Henry’s closest advisers, and he is arrested on charges of treason. After a quick and one-sided trial he is sentenced to death.|
|38||10||"Death of a Monarchy"||January 1547||Ciarán Donnelly||Michael Hirst||June 20, 2010||0.682|
|Henry is forced to surrender Boulogne, his great prize, as part of a peace treaty with France. But where, in the past, he might have felt anger, his feelings now turn melancholic with the news that King Francis, his long-time friend and sometimes foe, is dying. There is a slow, quiet and nonetheless inevitable shifting of allegiances as Henry’s own health begins to fade. Factions are forming at court as thoughts turn towards a successor. Some see Prince Edward, Henry’s son by Jane Seymour, as his natural heir while others, notably Bishop Gardiner, are determined to restore a Catholic to the throne in the person of Lady Mary. Under the orders of Gardiner, an arrest warrant for Queen Catherine is issued on the grounds of heresy. However, when Wriothesley and his men come to arrest the Queen –- believing that they are carrying out the King’s orders –- they are brutally rebuffed by Henry in a complex psychological game that leaves everyone uncertain of his allegiances and beliefs. For his overreaching ambition, Bishop Gardiner is expelled from court, leaving the Lutheran factions –- led by Prince Edward's uncle, Edward Seymour –- suddenly dominant, prompting Wriothesley to switch his allegiance to Seymour. Hearing that Charles Brandon is ill, the King summons his old friend to court. It is to be their last encounter. Brandon dies soon after and Henry is greatly shaken: his longest and most loyal ally is now gone. Henry also commissions artist Hans Holbein to do a portrait of him, but soon rejects the realistically sickly depiction and demands that Holbein repaint it. He sees the ghosts of his past wives with his children: Catherine of Aragon, who tells him that Mary should have been married and have children of her own by now; Anne Boleyn, who proclaims her innocence of the crimes she was beheaded for, the ill-fated death of her cousin Katherine Howard, and her pride in their daughter Elizabeth; finally Jane Seymour, who tells him that she is upset at young Edward's being shut away, and that he will die young. Realizing that his own death is now imminent, Henry retreats more and more into himself and sends Queen Catherine and his beloved daughters Mary and Elizabeth away from Whitehall Palace, telling them that he will not see them again. Queen Catherine and Lady Mary weep outside Henry's chamber, but Elizabeth bravely strides away, ready to face her destiny. As Henry sits alone in his room reflecting on his momentous reign, he is called back to see his new portrait, of which he approves. As he turns and leaves the room, the fates of Henry's children are briefly explained, with a final note that the Tudor dynasty ultimately produced the two most famous monarchs in English history: Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.|
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