Synopsis: With the Holy Roman Emperor holding the Pope captive, Cardinal Wolsey goes to Paris to summon a conclave that he hopes will grant him the authority to annul King Henry VIII’s marriage with Queen Catherine of Aragon, which consequently will also make him the de facto Pope. In his absence, Wolsey’s enemies namely the Duke of Norfolk and Sir Thomas Boleyn work towards severing the King’s loyalty towards the Cardinal. Meanwhile, certain that his divorce will soon be granted, King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn no longer hide their affair in a blatant display of disrespect towards Queen Catherine of Aragon.
Episode Summary: Anne Boleyn is at her family home at Hever Castle when she receives a letter from the King that expresses the man’s longing to be with her. She reads it aloud to her anxious uncle and father who are more than pleased to learn that the King has truly fallen in love with Anne. They, however, worry that Anne has began to fall for the King as well when their mere goal is to make the man vulnerable enough to influence him into unseating his trusted adviser Wolsey.
Cardinal Wolsey informs King Henry VIII of his plan to meet King Francis and ratify the treaty making England and France allies against the Holy Roman Emperor. With the Holy Father being held a prisoner of the Holy Roman Emperor, Cardinal Wolsey has decided to summon a conclave of cardinals in the hopes of persuading them to grant him license and authority to annul the King’s marriage with Queen Catherine of Aragon. King Henry VIII is pleased. He sends Wolsey into his mission, but not without warning. He has become impatient of the delays around the annulment of his marriage. He also orders the Cardinal to bring with him to Paris the poet Thomas Wyatt, but only to ensure that the man will be far away from his former girlfriend Anne Boleyn.
Cardinal Wolsey is surprised to learn that Anne Boleyn has an audience with the King. Little did he know that the King himself is in anticipation of their meeting. King Henry VIII having waited long to be reunited with his mistress is filled with passion at the sight of her. Anne immediately expresses her concern of their happiness being in the hands of one man, Cardinal Wolsey.
Queen Catherine of Aragon secretly meets with Ambassador Mendoza to ask him to send a letter to his nephew, the Holy Roman Emperor. Aware that Cardinal Wolsey has been reading her letters, she has resorted to make the clandestine request. Moreover, she has been made aware that some of the ladies in waiting assigned to her have been tasked to spy on her. The Cardinal has bought their loyalty through money and sexual favors. Learning of the Queen’s predicament, Ambassador Mendoza agrees to help the Queen in informing the Holy Emperor of King Henry VIII’s plan of divorcing her. The proceedings of their divorce though still secret have in fact already begun. The Ambassador is in disbelief knowing that only the Pope could grant such a request. It is exactly for this reason why the Queen wants to send the message to the Emperor for the Pope continues to be his prisoner. Having heard the Queen’s pleas, Ambassador Mendoza vows to deliver her message.
Hearing of Cardinal Wolsey’s planned trip to Paris, Thomas More is anxious to hear of his mission. For a man of the cloth, the Cardinal’s mission appears to be more focused on politics than the Church. He claims that his trip will aim to restore balance of power in Europe. Thomas More, ever wise, knows that there is more to the man’s plan. The conclave Cardinal Wolsey has summoned for the main purpose of the cardinals giving Wolsey authority to annul the King’s marriage would in essence make him the de facto Pope for as long as the Holy Father remains in captivity. Sir Thomas More seeing through Wolsey’s selfish plans infuriates the Cardinal
Cardinal Wolsey arrives with Sir Thomas More at the Palace of King Francis of Valois through much fanfare with the King of France welcoming his arrival. The King is very pleased with the Cardinal’s work towards making England and France allies once again. Thomas More, though he says nothing, seems displeased with the turn of events.
As though it is not already awkward to have Anne Boleyn living the King’s court, she continues her task of being one of the Queen’s ladies in waiting. Fully aware of her affair with the King, Queen Catherine of Aragon warns her that she will not succeed in her plan. The Queen believes that she has the true heart of Henry, and no woman will ever take that away from her.
King Henry VIII receives news from Thomas Cromwell that Pope Clement has escaped from Castel Sant’Angelo in a manner that raised suspicion. The Pope dressed as an old blind man merely walked past his captors. He is now in Orvieto an Italian city under the jurisdiction of the Holy Roman Emperor. Pleased with this new development, the King plans to send a message to the Pope. Cromwell suggests a trustworthy man to do the King’s bidding. Dr. Knight, he claims, is a man of God, a diplomat, and a true Englishman.
Sir William Compton, though once jealous of Charles Brandon, has become his true friend. Although fully aware that the King has not yet forgiven his former best friend, Compton continues to convince the King otherwise. The King found it arrogant that Brandon married Princess Margaret without asking his permission. At Compton’s suggestion, the King agrees to leave his court for a hunt. He brings with him Anne Boleyn who rides with him on his horse making Sir William Compton uncomfortable at the blatant display of their affair.
In his accounting, Sir Thomas Boleyn learns how Cardinal Wolsey has been embezzling money. Charles Brandon receives an unexpected visit from him. Boleyn claims that the Duke of Norfolk sent him, which surprises Brandon even more for the Duke openly despises him. However, Boleyn explains that the Duke of Norfolk has interests to protect that called for this unlikely meeting. Fully aware that Charles Brandon has made himself unfavorable by secretly marrying the King’s sister, Boleyn and Norfolk came to him to help them destroy Wolsey. For his success, they promise to gain for him the King’s forgiveness, and have him reinstated in his court. Charles Brandon agrees to the task.
Meanwhile, Thomas Wyatt has befriended Thomas Tallis, and had asked the musician to set music to the poem he wrote. The poem is about a girl who he continues to love, but is now in love with another man. Wyatt warns Tallis that their country will be turned upside down if this girl gets her way. Truth is, the young woman has begun creating her clout starting with Lord Darby who after bowing to the Queen tips his hat to Anne Boleyn acknowledging her as his new Queen. His brother, George Boleyn, could see the wheels turning, and has started to create treacherous sketches. This, however, displeases Anne Boleyn who knows very well that these things are more dangerous than helpful. Anne has another ally in court who is slowly rising up the ranks. Thomas Cromwell informs her of the King’s plan of sending Dr. Knight to bring the letters of divorce to the Pope. This pleases Anne for the man used to be her tutor, and therefore an ally. King Henry VIII was serious about sending a message to Pope Clement. He meets with Dr. Knight and hands him two Bulls on divorce that he wrote himself.
Meanwhile, Cardinal Wolsey and King Francis of Valois sign the treaty. The Cardinal asks the King that he mend ties with the Holy Roman Emperor in an attempt to restore peace in Europe. Amidst the plastered smiles that gained applause from the court, Cardinal Wolsey’s recommendation infuriates the King of France. After having been kept captive, tortured and paying ransom for his freedom not to mention his eldest son is still a prisoner of the Emperor, King Francis could do no such thing. Unaware of the unpleasant conversation he had with the King of France, Thomas More is convinced that the Cardinal was successful with his mission. Cardinal Wolsey says nothing of this embarrassing conversation, but confides in Thomas More that he is anxious that his absence from King Henry VIII’s court has given his enemies an opportunity to influence the King. Thomas More reassures him that his worries will soon vanish after meeting with the conclave.
The King arrives in court, and all bow to him. He walks towards Anne Boleyn, calls her sweet Anne, and helps her stand. At the same time, Queen Catherine of Aragon arrives. Anne Boleyn prepares to leave, but the King asks her to stay. All these happened at the sight of the Queen who leaves in embarrassment at the blatant display of disrespect. King Henry VIII informs Anne that he will be dining with her uncle and brother confessing that he feels close to her when he is with them. In a public display of affection, the King kisses Anne’s hand, gives her a gift, and refers to himself her humble servant in front of everyone. The awkward incident has stirred confusion in the King’s court.
Cardinal Wolsey is correct to assume that his enemies may be trying to influence the King to turn against him. The Duke of Norfolk has begun insinuating that the Cardinal might not be putting much effort in the King’s request for annulment knowing that this will earn him disapproval from the Church. Sir Thomas Boleyn supports this assumption claiming that the Cardinal is prejudiced against Anne Boleyn, which the King acknowledges. Having shown their distrust with the Cardinal, the two men presents the King the most damning evidence that they were sure will put Wolsey in trouble. Boleyn informs King Henry VIII that he has discovered that when corrupt religious houses are closed down, the assets are diverted into Cardinal Wolsey’s private foundations, one that is to create his great college at Oxford. The King is not infuriated with the news, but he did confess to be shocked by it. Seeing that the King remains loyal to his adviser and friend, the Duke of Norfolk works into getting the King’s former best friend, and now their ally, back in the court. The Duke of Norfolk informs that King that Charles Brandon has spoken to him of his desperation to get back in court, such desperation that he is willing to crawl on his hands and knees to beg for the King’s forgiveness.
Anne Boleyn attends to her duties as Queen Catherine of Aragon’s lady in waiting. As she washes the Queen’s feet, Queen Catherine notices the necklace around her neck, and learns from Boleyn that it was a gift from the King. Livid, the Queen calls Anne an expensive whore. To the Majesty’s surprise, Anne answers back. She tells her that she is in love with the King, and she believes that the feeling is mutual. Queen Catherine of Aragon tells her husband’s mistress that the King is merely infatuated with her as men are with new things. He will soon tire of her like all the others. Anne Boleyn challenges the Queen, and asks what if he does not. The Queen orders her to leave.
Dr. Knight is riding in his carriage at the countryside near Rouen, France when horsemen stop them. The men escort the reluctant Dr. Knight to Cardinal Wolsey who has confiscated the two Bulls Dr. Knight was secretly tasked to bring to the Pope in Orvieto. Unlucky for Dr. Knight, Cardinal Wolsey makes it his business the King’s business. Cardinal Wolsey is surprised to learn that Dr. Knight agreed to deliver the Bulls to the Pope despite knowing what the documents ask. The first Bull requests the Pope to permit King Henry VIII to marry any woman he chooses including one forbidden to him due to a prior relationship to one of her relatives. He asks the Pope to grant this as soon as his divorce from Queen Catherine of Aragon has been granted. Completely unaware of who the King is referring to, Wolsey is astonished to learn that King Henry VIII is referring to none other than Anne Boleyn, and the prior relationship he was referring to is Anne’s sister Mary Boleyn, and quite possibly their mother as well. The second Bull asks that the Pope allow him to take a second wife if the Church continues to refuse to annul his marriage. Having read the contents of the ridiculous Bulls the King wrote and so steadfastly want delivered, Cardinal Wolsey sends Dr. Knight on his way knowing very well that no Pope will sanction such requests.
Charles Brandon crawls back to the King’s court, and on his knees begs His Majesty’s forgiveness. The King calls Charles Brandon to his chamber, and challenges him to an arm wrestling. If Brandon wins then he can come back to court. King Henry VIII welcomes back Charles Brandon.
Cardinal Wolsey informs Sir Thomas More of the two Bulls. Both men are concerned and disappointed with the King’s actions. In another concern, Wolsey asks More if he would have accepted the judgment of the cardinals, but given that the Pope is free More finds no need to answer the question just as there is no need for a conclave. Cardinal Wolsey, however, argues that the Pope is still under the power of the Emperor deeming him incapable of exercising his duties to the Church. More’s refusal to answer his question only means that he is against him. Wolsey is more anxious than ever that his enemies have succeeded in influencing the King. Desperation begins to creep in the Cardinal to the point of appealing to More’s debt of gratitude, and claiming that the chancellor’s advancement was solely due to him. Unlucky for Cardinal Wolsey, Sir Thomas More remains pure. He declares that no earthly thing, not even a prince, will compromise his beliefs for he is guided by his spiritual element, and therefore could never be stained.
Though there is no need for a conclave, Cardinal Wolsey has not called off the meeting. Much to his chagrin, not one cardinal arrived. King Francis of Valois personally delivers the news that the cardinals have decided not to attend the conclave. King Francis himself has pleaded with the cardinals, but they only take orders from the Pope.
Cardinal Wolsey returns to court only to find King Henry VIII with Anne Boleyn by his side anxiously awaiting the verdict. Wolsey painfully relays the news that only highlighted his failure. There will be no divorce.
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