Synopsis: King Henry VIII hesitantly signs the Treaty of Universal and Perpetual Peace with King Francis, but he soon after changes his mind, and decides to create an allegiance with the newly instated Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Cardinal Wolsey informs him of Lord Buckingham’s plan to overthrow him from his throne, and so Henry calls for his arrest for the suspicion of treason. Gloom presides over the King’s court but news of King Henry VIII having a son through Lady Blount turns the dour court alive with festivities.
Episode Summary: King Henry VIII and his entourage arrive at Val d’Or to meet King Francis. The agreement was that the two kings will ride down the valley, and only the two of them will meet each other face to face. Naturally, his men worry of his safety, but Henry commands them to stand down, and adhere to the agreed plan. King Henry VIII and King Francis meet for the very first time without any animosity between them. The two majesties swear on the Bible, and before God that they will remain true, virtuous, and loving of each other. In accordance to the treaty, Henry’s daughter, Princess Mary will be betrothed to Prince Henri Philippe, the son of King Francis. Both are about the same age. Princess Mary gives the Dauphin of France a kiss on the cheek, but the boy receives it with disgust. Princess Mary then shoves the dauphin to the astonishment of the crowd, but the King secretly delights at what his daughter has done.
King Francis brings Mary Boleyn to the attention of King Henry. Mary, the daughter of England’s ambassador in France, has had sexual relations with King Francis that he calls her his English mare. Thomas Boleyn looks for his daughter delighted to inform her that she had caught King Henry’s eye. He then meets with Cardinal Wolsey to update him of Lord Buckingham’s treacherous plan of assassinating the King for he believes that he has a greater claim to the throne.
The festivities at Val d’Or continue, but King Henry’s vigor has died down. King Francis’ arrogance, and unceasing declaration that the French are better than the English pushed King Henry to the edge. Henry challenges Francis to a wrestling match. Thomas More tries to dissuade King Henry, but the king has decided. The crowd bets on their kings as the grueling match intensifies where King Henry comes out a loser, and he proves himself a sore loser when he loses his composure, and furiously begs for a re-match. His ego bruised, King Henry VIII orders Thomas More to tell the French that he now refuses to sign the treaty. Thomas More puts some sense on the King by telling him that he will do as he wishes if what he wants is for the whole world to think that the King of England is fickle, shallow, intemperate, and incapable of keeping his word. To help nurse his ego, Charles Brandon delivers to him Mary Boleyn.
The day has come for the two kings to sign the Treaty of Universal and Perpetual Peace. King Henry VIII does as he is expected to do, but then in the privacy of his room, he unleashes his anger. He returns to his palace in London still infuriated. Moreover, he grows tired of Mary Boleyn. More bad news comes his way as he learns that Queen Catherine of Aragon’s twenty-year old nephew Charles V has been made the Holy Roman Emperor. He orders Cardinal Wolsey to make arrangements to visit Charles V. Henry believes that doing business with the Holy Roman Emperor might benefit them more than having the French as an ally.
Lord Buckingham calls for Thomas Boleyn to ask him of his opinion regarding King Henry’s behavior at the summit. Thomas Boleyn tells Buckingham what it is that he wants to hear; Thomas wished to see a greater, and more powerful man on the throne of England. Buckingham is convinced that he is exactly what England needs. Moreover, he informs Boleyn that he has the means to overthrow Henry, and reclaim his rightful throne. He also threatens Thomas Boleyn that his betrayal would mean his death. What Buckingham does not know is that Boleyn had already betrayed him. In fact, Cardinal Wolsey had already informed the King of the Duke’s plan to overthrow him, and that Buckingham had already started building his army.
King Henry VIII spends some time with Thomas More. He asks his opinion about the book he received from the Duke of Urbino. The book is Machiavelli’s The Prince. Thomas More is well aware of the book, and finds it as something that purports political opportunism. Henry recognizes this, and finds it to be nothing like More’s book Utopia. He, however, is captivated by the question it asks. He wonders whether it is better for a King to be feared or loved. This is a dilemma that applies closely to him as he ponders about the fate of Lord Buckingham knowing that the man plans to kill him.
Cardinal Wolsey pays Lady Blount a visit. The young woman is soon to give birth, and expects to hear from Henry. Wolsey has no news for her from the King, but has a message from her husband. The man who once threatened to send Lady Blount to a nunnery has reneged his decision, and has accepted the fact that his wife is carrying the King’s child. His change of heart comes after being promised estates, and made an Earl. Lady Blount is still unsure of her child’s future for Henry has not decided whether he will recognize the child as his.
Cardinal Wolsey informs Thomas More of the King’s orders to meet with the Holy Roman Emperor with the goal of signing a treaty that will unite England and Spain against the French. More is disappointed at the news, but Wolsey has resigned to do what the King desires. Thomas More confides in the Cardinal that he has lost Henry’s trust. Cardinal Wolsey advises him that in order to keep the King’s love and trust, one must be ready to give him what he cares for the most. Unfortunately for Thomas, it would mean giving up his integrity.
Well aware of Buckingham’s plan to overthrow him, King Henry VIII invites him to his palace to celebrate the New Year feigning ignorance of the Duke’s plot against him. Like all graces, the Duke of Buckingham presents the King a gift. He offers his Majesty a clock with an engraving that reads “With humble, true heart”.
Soon after, the King’s men led by William Compton arrests Lord Buckingham for suspicion of treason. Buckingham’s men are prepared to defend their Lord, but Anthony Knivert reminds them that attacking the King’s men in pursuit of their duties is treason as well. Buckingham is confident that no Lord in England will convict him of the crime he is accused of. Lord Buckingham is escorted to the Tower of London. Henry has already instituted a Court of High Steward to judge the case against the Duke of Buckingham. Moreover, he has appointed Norfolk to preside over the court. Wolsey warns Henry against finding Buckingham guilty of treason, and proposes that he be found guilty of a lesser charge where the punishment will be no more than heavy fines, and banishment from the court. The King agrees to the Cardinal’s suggestion, and requests him to ensure that it is carried. However, Henry has entrusted Charles Brandon the responsibility of keeping Lord Norfolk in line with his wishes. As the King commands, Charles Brandon meets with Lord Norfolk, and presents to him a gift from the King. It is Lord Norfolk’s father’s ring, the one whom King Henry VIII’s father executed. As if the message was not already well received, Charles Brandon bluntly informs Lord Norfolk of the consequences of his actions if ever he acts against the wishes of the King.
Lord Buckingham appears before the court, pleased that his friend Lord Norfolk heads it. Much to his surprise, Lord Norfolk declares him guilty of the charges against him, and is sentenced to death. Buckingham blames Wolsey for his fate unaware that this surprised Cardinal Wolsey as well. The once fearless Duke is no more. Buckingham being dragged for his beheading fears for his life. The crowd watches as the Duke of Buckingham is held down. He weeps as he takes one last look at his daughter. The Duke refuses to stretch his arms on his own accord that Anthony Knivert stretches them for him, and holds it until the blade strikes, and cuts his head.
Lady Blount gives birth. King Henry VIII learns of the news, and is overjoyed. He wastes no time to pay Lady Blount, and his child a visit. He arrives to find that he now has a son. Henry cannot contain his happiness that he yells on the top of his lungs that he has a son. He calls for festivities to celebrate the birth of his son. Cardinal Wolsey informs Lady Blount that the King has decided to recognize his son, and that the child shall be called Henry Fitzroy. The child will be given an establishment, and staff befitting a child of royal blood. To everyone’s surprise, Queen Catherine of Aragon makes an appearance at the festivities, and even toasts to the birth of his husband’s bastard son. She then goes to a Church to pray, and beg the Virgin Mary to let her bear a son.
In Rome, the Pope is fatally ill, and already on his deathbed. The Cardinals now contemplate on who will succeed him, and worries that Cardinal Wolsey has already started his campaign for the much coveted position. Bishop Bonnivet informs one of the cardinals that he had promised Wolsey the vote of the French Cardinals in return of England not going to war with France. However, they have received word that Cardinal Wolsey has gone to Aachen to meet with the Holy Roman Emperor. The cardinals see this as a sign that England is about to break the treaty they made with France. This also means that the French cardinals are now not obliged to keep their word, and give Wolsey their vote. It is their desire not to have an English Pope for they believe that the Pope must be Italian. True enough, the College of Cardinals has elected Cardinal Orsini as the new Pope. This pains Cardinal Wolsey so much that he fails to hide his despair. More feels genuinely sorry for Wolsey that even the Cardinal believes that Thomas thinks too highly of him. Thomas More is convinced that Cardinal Wolsey would have worked tirelessly to rid the Church of corruption, and to protect it from the spreading heresy of Martin Luther.
Having given birth, Lady Blount returns to court where she, and the Queen are sure to see each other. Fortunately, there is an incident of sweating sickness in the city, and so the Queen is forced to move away to avoid it unaware that the troubles of her marriage do not end with the birth of a bastard son. In fact, Thomas Boleyn and Lord Norfolk are already grooming Boleyn’s other daughter, Anne, to seduce the King.
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