Synopsis: King Henry VIII persuaded by his desire to marry Anne Boleyn and unknowingly supported by Mr. Cromwell’s ulterior motive forces the clergy to submit completely to his authority. Sir Thomas More witnesses the start of the destruction of the Catholic Church in England and prepares for the call of martyrdom. With the Great Matter soon to be resolved, King Henry VIII begins the process of inculcating Anne Boleyn as his new wife and future Queen of England.
Episode Summary: Cardinal Campeggio addresses the Parliament in Westminster insisting the Church and its faithful’s immunity from secular interference with the argument that God ordained it. Moreover, he intimates the violence done to him and the threat to all those who uphold the sanctity of the Church.
It is Christmas and the court is somber with the absence of Queen Katherine of Aragon and her ladies in waiting. King Henry VIII and Lady Anne Boleyn, however, are delighted with each other’s company. Lady Anne presents her gift of Biscayan boar spears to King Henry pleasing him even more. His disposition turns sour when he receives a goblet from Queen Katherine of Aragon. King Henry rejects the Queen’s gift and refuses to let her spoil the occasion, but Sir Thomas More continues to provoke him with his gift of a silver crucifix as a reminder of the real cause for celebration. Moreover, it is a reminder of the kingdom’s conflict with the Church. Henry welcomes the sight of Charles Brandon only to hear a hint of disapproval for his decision to marry Anne. Charles relays the rumors he heard about Anne and her former lover, Thomas Wyatt, rumors Henry is aware of and Anne denies. It was an unwelcome suggestion that Henry vehemently rejects. Henry speaks to Anne of his meeting with the French ambassador with the intent to have the ambassador draw up a new treaty of alliance with France in order to keep the threat from the Emperor at bay. Moreover, Henry desires to present Anne formally to King Francis as his future wife and Queen of England. She returns to her quarters with exciting news to Nan, her lady in waiting, only to find a threat waiting for her. Without Nan’s knowledge, an intruder had left an ominous warning of violence towards Anne.
Mr. Cranmer learns from Mr. Cromwell that he has gained favor from the King. In fact, the King had just appointed Mr. Cranmer as the Majesty’s special envoy to the Emperor. This new appointment, however, worries Mr. Cranmer than delights him for he begins to wonder the reason for his good fortune. He learns that his understanding of the Great Matter is what won him the King’s favor for His Majesty finds in him a suitable representative to advance his desire of marrying Anne Boleyn. Mr. Cranmer still does not find peace in the task given him and becomes even more anxious of Mr. Cromwell’s instructions for him to visit the city of Nurnberg. The first city wholly run by Lutherans and reformers. Mr. Cromwell then speaks to the Archbishop of Canterbury informing him of the King’s plan to put up a bill denying the Pope of the revenue from the English Church. The bill will also indict the leading clergy of privileges they enjoy and abuse. Mr. Cromwell accuses the Church of misusing the wealth better spent for the good of the whole commonwealth and not just a privileged few. The Archbishop of Canterbury, however, finds the bill an attack on the faith of the Church and not the abuses of its clergy. Nevertheless, King Henry is adamant in putting the bill in place that he summons the clergy to inform them that the oath they swore to the Pope is in contrast to the oath they swore to the kingdom. The King now demands that they choose whom to serve.
Sir Thomas More speaks with the well-known and respectable Catholic, Sir George Throckmorton, to convey his displeasure with Mr. Cromwell’s scheme of forcing the clergy to submit completely to the King’s will and to secular authority. He worries of the loss of spiritual life in the kingdom and pleads men like Sir George to remain strong in their faith. Indeed there are still men with conscience that are unafraid to challenge the King and one such man is the friar that stood on the pulpit in His Majesty’s presence accusing King Henry VIII of turning to Ahab’s ways alluding to Ahab’s marriage to the whore, Jezebel. His reproachful sermon resulted in his extraction from the church and his reception of Mr. Cromwell’s threat of death, a threat the friar does not fear for his faith is stronger than the fear of death. Soon, King Henry VIII opens the Parliament expecting the clergy to declare their complete submission to his authority and learns of their surrender from the Archbishop of Canterbury who as representative of the clergy declares their submission to the King. Both Cardinal Campeggio and Sir Thomas More woe the day the Church broke in England. Sir Thomas tenders his resignation as Chancellor. He also asks the King’s permission to allow him to withdraw from public life that he may live the rest of his life in God’s service. King Henry VIII most willingly discharges Sir Thomas More and expresses appreciation for his service. Sir Thomas set free from his service to the King finds the temerity to speak to His Majesty of his disapproval of the Great Matter and his desire for him to reconcile with Queen Katherine. Moreover, he finds that his reconciliation with the rightful and legal Queen of England shall vanquish the divisions and sufferings of the kingdom. King Henry VIII, however, becomes displeased with his opinion and asks that Sir Thomas keep it to himself. The influence of Sir Thomas More ends and the sway of Mr. Cromwell begins. Mr. Cromwell shares his delight to Lord Rochford at learning that Mr. Cranmer has taken advantage of the privilege afforded to the clergy in Nurnberg; the priest had taken himself a wife. Mr. Cromwell reveals his true intention of destroying the Catholic Church in England and learns that Lord Rochford shares the same desire. Sir Thomas More is resigned that the ruin of Christendom is at hand and envies the Archbishop of Canterbury who recently passed away. Sir Thomas agrees with Cardinal Campeggio to their duty to defend Christendom whatever the cost maybe despite his yearning to live in peace having abjured the public realm. Sir Thomas prepares his daughter for the consequences of standing by his faith, believing that martyrdom calls him.
Charles Brandon, the Duke of Suffolk, learns that his suggestion of Anne’s promiscuity displeased the King enough to order his banishment from court. This is an order Mr. Cromwell relishes to communicate personally to the Duke. The decision, however, was only made to please Anne. King Henry, in fact, begins to reconsider the Duke’s banishment. Lady Anne, however, rejects the idea arguing that forgiving the Duke so quickly might validate the rumors. King Henry argues that refuting the rumors shall show his trust in her and what better way to invalidate them than to invite Mr. Wyatt to France with them. Little did they know that Mr. Wyatt has taken steps to dispel the rumors. He pays a visit to The More to deliver a command from King Henry ordering Queen Katherine of Aragon to return the official jewels. The seizure of the Queen’s jewels is in anticipation of Lady Anne’s establishment as the new Queen of England. Lady Elizabeth Darrell receives Mr. Wyatt for the Queen is at prayer. She learns from Mr. Wyatt’s poem of his desire to be with her despite her declaration of becoming a bride of Christ. She wills to reject him, but so quickly succumbs to the desire of the flesh. Lady Elizabeth is unaware that she is merely a smokescreen and that Mr. Wyatt still burns for Anne Boleyn.
Lady Anne has already been acting like a Queen, sitting by the King’s side and introducing to him her chosen courtier, the fiddler, Mark Smeaton. Soon, in preparation for her rise as Queen, King Henry VIII bestows on Lady Anne the noble title of Marquess of Pembroke that comes with an allowance of a hundred pounds a year. King Henry then presents to her the jewels of the Queens of England. With Anne Boleyn’s inevitable coronation as Queen, Ambassador Chapuys meets with the assassin ordering him to carry out the murder of Anne Boleyn in France. It is, according to the ambassador, a mission sanctioned by the Emperor and the Pope, and done for the benefit of the people of England. Moreover, Ambassador Chapuys states that the assassination will be done in the service of God.
King Henry VIII and his entourage sans Anne Boleyn arrive in English occupied France to meet with King Francis, who receives them as friends. It is revealed that the King of France’s wife and sister are disinclined to receive Anne Boleyn as one of their own. They are not the only ones who are opposed to the King’s chosen new wife for the Duke of Suffolk, who despite being in King Henry’s good graces once again, secretly maintains his allegiance to Queen Katharine of Aragon. Lord Rochford, father of Anne Boleyn, confronts him about his allegiance and learns that the Duke of Suffolk who once took pride in his apathy towards politics has grown a social and moral conscience. The festivities continue amidst the gravity of conversations among guests, but everyone’s attention centers on the seductive female dancers who arrived. One of the dancers lures King Francis to dance with her, pleasing him greatly. He becomes even more thrilled when King Henry VIII reveals her identity for she is no one else but Anne Boleyn, the future Queen of England and former lady in waiting to the Queen of France. King Francis remembers the Boleyn sisters well such that Lady Anne requests him to keep his knowledge of her former activities in his court from the King of England. Lady Anne has found a supporter in King Francis for the man loathes the Emperor who happens to be the nephew of Queen Katherine of Aragon. King Francis takes great pleasure in seeing the Emperor discomfited with the humiliating divorce of his aunt from the King of England. He, however, warns Anne Boleyn that the station she desires and soon will have is not an easy one especially to someone like her who is not born to have it. King Francis confides in her that he himself would not have chosen the life of royalty if given a choice. Even so, there is no deterring Anne’s aspiration of becoming the Queen of England and she intimates to her recently widowed sister, Mary, of the certainty of fulfilling her dream. She is unaware that an assassin joined them in France to crush her dream. Lucky for her, an opportunity to terminate her has not presented itself. That night, she lies on the bed of King Henry VIII and copulates with him to give him the one thing the King desires to have, a son.
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