Synopsis: King Henry VIII makes his bastard son an heir to his throne. He also makes Sir Thomas Boleyn a Lord, and proposes to Anne Boleyn that she become his official mistress while Cardinal Wolsey works hard to have Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled. Meanwhile, Princess Margaret and Charles Brandon fearfully return to England only to be banished from the court after divulging that they have secretly married each other.
Episode Summary: Sir Thomas Boleyn is made Lord Rochford, while King Henry VIII’s bastard son, Henry Fitzroy, is made Duke of Richmond and Somerset, and Earl of Nottingham. This pleases Lady Blount, but also breaks her heart for the new status of her son requires him to be apart from her. Queen Catherine of Aragon is infuriated with the King’s bestowal of titles for this also means that the bastard son is now a crowned prince, and will be next in line to the throne above her daughter. To add to her fury, she learns from Cardinal Wolsey that the Holy Roman Emperor who was betrothed to her daughter has chosen to marry Princess Isabella of Portugal.
With the King of Portugal dead, Princess Margaret returns to England with her new husband, Charles Brandon. King Henry VIII unaware that her sister had actually murdered the King to avoid having to be his wife is sympathetic of her fate. Princess Margaret was only made Queen of Portugal for a few days before the fateful day of the King’s passing. Moreover, Henry knows nothing of her marrying Charles Brandon.
Meanwhile, Cardinal Wolsey has arranged an ecclesiastical court with Archbishop Warham to discuss the matter of King Henry VIII’s annulment of marriage from his wife, Queen Catherine of Aragon. It is the King’s desire to have them swiftly arrive at the right decision. Cardinal Wolsey also informs him that the Holy Roman Emperor has released the King of France for reasons they have yet to learn. This infuriates Henry who has agreed to an alliance with Charles V to attain the goal of ruling over France.
Having received gifts from King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn returns the favor with a letter full of humility, and a locket with her portrait. Henry pays Anne Boleyn a visit, and asks her to be his Maitresse en Titre. He vows not to have any thought or affection to anyone else but her. Anne, however, is not receptive of his proposal, claiming that she has already given her maidenhead to her husband’s hands whomever that may be. Anne Boleyn finds being made the King’s official mistress offensive knowing that her sister whom the King once before favored has now gained the reputation of “The Great Prostitute”.
Hearing Catherine’s objection at Henry’s bastard son being made a Duke, Cardinal Wolsey in behalf of the King has arranged to provide the Queen’s daughter, Princess Mary, her own establishment. She is to live at Ludlow Castle in the Welsh marshes, and will be put under the care of Lady Salisbury, her governess, her tutor Dr. Fetherston, and all the members of her household. Instead of pleasing the Queen, Wolsey manages to infuriate her even more for this arrangement means that the Princess will be sent away far from her mother, the Queen.
King Henry VIII orders to meet with Ambassador Mendoza to relay his anger towards the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Henry is convinced that Charles V has betrayed him after hearing news that he had made peace with the King of France, and the Pope. Ambassador Mendoza, however, argues that the King has not kept his promise as well for they only received half the gold that he promised to invest in their cause. King Henry VIII denies having done so, and orders the ambassador to leave. Seeing that Charles V has lost his favor with Henry VIII, Ambassador Mendoza works to find allies in the King’s court. Having heard that Sir Thomas Boleyn has been made Lord of Rochford, the ambassador sees in him an ally, and offers Thomas Boleyn a thousand crowns for his loyalty. Sir Thomas Boleyn finds this curious, but notices that Lord Norfolk appears to be on Mendoza’s side.
Anne receives another letter from Henry wooing her. Her brother, George, sees her reading it, and reads it as well. He is convinced that the King is in love with her little sister, and wonders if Anne is in love with him.
Cardinal Wolsey finally informs Thomas More of the King’s desire to have his marriage annulled, claiming that he has broken the laws of both God and man by marrying his brother’s wife, and therefore their marriage cannot be honored. Thomas is in disagreement with this knowing that the Pope has given him dispensation to marry Catherine. Wolsey argues that the King finds himself beholden to God more than the Pope, and that his conscience tells him that he is guilty of a sin. Thomas More could not accept this excuse, and enrages Wolsey to let it slip that he only does what the King desires. More levels with Wolsey declaring that Catherine of Aragon is not only a true Queen for being the wife of a King, but also for she is the daughter of great kings. Moreover, she is well beloved by the people of England, and that they may turn against the King if he abandons her. In fact, she has just shown her compassion for the people after attending mass at Lambeth Church and personally offering alms to the less fortunate.
Sir William Compton agrees to meet Charles Brandon in the most unusual place, a brothel. He learns that Charles has married Margaret, which is the reason why he has not returned to court. Fearing the King’s temper, Charles has asked his friend William to inform the King of the news. Like a good friend, William fulfills Charles’ request. The King is not pleased, and orders to see her sister to inform her that she and Charles Brandon are both banished from court. Moreover, Henry is considering having Charles beheaded.
One night while at prayer, Catherine receives a visit from her husband, Henry. Her delight at seeing him is short-lived for he has come to inform her of his plan to annul their marriage. Meanwhile, Cardinal Wolsey meets with the ecclesiastical court to discuss the King’s desire to annul his marriage. His claim is that his marriage to Catherine of Aragon was never legal for she was his brother’s wife before his. Lord Fisher argues that the Pope’s dispensation has made the marriage of Henry and Catherine legal.
King Henry VIII receives a gift from Anne Boleyn. The gift is a token in the form of a ship with a woman on board, and a diamond at its tip. Henry sees it as a message from her. The ship is a sign of protection, and the diamond symbolizes her steadfast, and never changing heart. Henry is the ship, and Anne is the diamond. Anne Boleyn accepts his proposal.
Cardinal Wolsey informs King Henry that King Francis has offered a rapprochement after learning of Charles V’s betrayal. Moreover, Wolsey informs Henry that the Holy Roman Emperor has allies in the court including the Queen who has written a letter to him declaring herself to be Charles V’s true and humble servant. This enrages Henry leading to his decision to accept King Francis’ rapprochement to ultimately become allies against the Holy Roman Emperor.
Having accepted to become King Henry VIII’s official mistress, Henry pays a visit to Anne Boleyn’s bed, and lays claim to her maidenhead. However, he restrains his passion for he vows to honor Anne’s maidenhead until they are married. Anne Boleyn could not be more pleased, and promises to deliver him a son.
Meanwhile, having been banished from court, and ordered to relinquish her properties, Margaret drowns her sorrow with alcohol, and directs her fury at her husband. Charles Brandon, however, is convinced that Henry will forgive them in due time. They turn their enraged energy into rough lovemaking.
King Henry VIII pays a visit to Sir Thomas More to inform him of his knowledge of his disapproval with the annulment. Henry finds the need to explain his decision to pursue it. He informs Thomas that he has come to believe that Catherine’s marriage to his brother was consummated, and that he could not bear it in his conscience that he has been living in sin. Sir Thomas More then asks his Majesty what his actions will be if it was proven that the Pope’s dispensation is valid, and to which Henry answers that he will be the happiest man alive, and would continue to live with Catherine until the end of his days.
Cardinal Wolsey continues his talks with the ecclesiastical court where Lord Fisher continues to question why it took the King so long before he raised the issue. Wolsey argues that the King’s love for the Queen was the reason for his reluctance to have their marriage dissolved. However, he has found proof of his sin when they failed to produce a living son. The King’s plan to re-marry if his annulment is granted more so that he already has a wife in mind raises more eyebrows. The Lords who are against dissolving the King’s marriage could not fathom why the King desires a son when he has a legitimate daughter as an heir. Cardinal Wolsey believes that having the King’s daughter succeed him will only end in tragedy as they have witnessed in their history. Lord Fisher is convinced that Cardinal Wolsey has no authority to dissolve the King’s marriage for that power only falls on the Pope or his anointed one.
Sir William Compton is enchanted with Thomas Tallis’ talent in music. Moreover, he is enamored with him. Compton, though a married man, seduces Tallis who later agrees to have an affair with him.
Cardinal Wolsey informs Henry VIII that he has called upon a delegation to discuss a new treaty that will form an allegiance between England and France against the Holy Roman Emperor. Moreover, he recommends the betrothal of Princess Mary to the Dauphin of France or the Duke of Orleans if the Dauphin is already betrothed to someone else. All these are pleasant news. However, the one of utmost importance to Henry at the moment is on rocky ground. With the ecclesiastical court unable to reach a decision, Cardinal Wolsey has informed the King that they have to appeal to Pope Clement to grant his annulment.
Anne Boleyn having accepted to be the King’s official mistress dances openly with him at court in front of his French guests, and the Queen. Lord Norfolk and Sir Thomas Boleyn are annoyed to see that the French are once again in good favor with the King, all thanks to Wolsey who has always been in receipt of a pension from the French. News of Rome falling to the hands of the Holy Roman Emperor disrupts their merry making. Moreover, they learn that the Pope is held prisoner in the Castel Sant’Angelo. The dismal news proves unfavorable to the King especially with the one man who can grant him his most desired annulment being held captive by the Queen’s nephew, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.
Meanwhile, Lady Blount learns of the most tragic news. Her son, Henry Fitzroy has caught the sweating sickness, and has succumbed to death shortly after. Henry VIII once again is without an heir, not even a bastard crowned prince.
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