Synopsis: King Henry VIII appoints Thomas Cranmer as the new Archbishop of Canterbury and Sir Thomas Cromwell as Lord Chancellor. These appointments resolve his Great Matter and the dissolution of his marriage to Queen Catherine of Aragon becomes official in England despite the condemnation of the Pope. King Henry VIII soon marries the pregnant Anne Boleyn and crowns her Queen of England.
Episode Summary: The Savilles, supporters of the Boleyns, accost Sir William Pennington, a known supporter of the Duke of Suffolk, who like his master has an aversion towards Lady Anne Boleyn. Sir Pennington like Sir Charles Brandon, the Duke of Suffolk, is displeased with her elevation. Sir Richard Southwell and the other Saville draw their sword and attack Sir William Pennington, who finds sanctuary in a church. Sir Pennington put ups his sword having taken sanctuary in the house of God, but the Savilles continue to attack him. He defends himself but later takes down his sword to obey the priest’s request to stop the violence inside the church. Sir Southwell, however, seizes the opportunity to stab an unguarded opponent in the heart killing him instantly. Lord Suffolk arrives a minute too late and finds the bloody corpse of Sir William Pennington on the floor of the Church’s vestibule, while the Savilles kneel in front of the altar pleading for God’s forgiveness. Lord Suffolk prepares to kill the Savilles, but contains his rage at the request of the priest who reminds him of the eternal consequence of committing murder in the house of God. Lord Suffolk foregoes avenging the murder of Sir Pennington with the slaying of the Savilles, but puts the blame on Lord Rochford.
King Henry VIII learns from Sir Thomas Cromwell that King Francis did not fulfill his promise to speak to the Pope on his behalf regarding his Great Matter. King Henry is not upset for he never expected the King of France to fulfill his promise. He, in fact, welcomes this knowledge for it gives him good reason not to wait for the Pope’s decision. King Henry orders Cromwell that the annulment of his marriage must be declared immediately, which confuses Cromwell given that the King is the head of the Church of England. King Henry argues that the Archbishop of Canterbury should sill decide and declare the annulment of his marriage. Cromwell reminds His Majesty that the position remains vacant given the recent passing of Archbishop William Warham. King Henry considers appointing Thomas Cranmer, the former chaplain to the Boleyns, as the new Archbishop of Canterbury. News of this angers Bishop Fisher, who discusses this development with Ambassador Eustace Chapuys and Sir Thomas More. Ambassador Chapuys finds this concerning as well knowing that Cranmer is a staunch supporter of the Lutheran movement. They have not yet learned that Cranmer has smuggled to England an illegal wife he married in Germany. Bishop Fisher believes that Cranmer must take an oath not to meddle with the divorce given his relationship to the Boleyns, but Sir Thomas More believes that his alliance and beliefs form the rationale for his impending appointment. Sir Thomas More becomes upset that the kingdom has turned its back on the Church and its people. He fears for Queen Catherine of Aragon and her daughter against whom Lady Anne had made threats. Sir Thomas More’s wife worries about him and their children for her husband’s words are treacherous.
Cardinal Campeggio presents to Pope Paul III the Bull Sublimus Dei that forbids the enslavement of the native peoples of the New World. The Pope willingly signs it. He finds it his duty to be the conscience of the powerful Kings of Europe who have no regard for morality. He, however, believes that he can play politics with the Kings. Pope Paul III approves the appointment of the obscure cleric, Thomas Cranmer, as the new Archbishop of Canterbury despite his knowledge of his secretly being a Lutheran. His approval stems from his plan to appease the King of England and his belief of making him beholden to the Catholic Church for approving his request. The appointment of a Lutheran nonentity as Archbishop of Canterbury may not be as damning to the Catholic Church as the appointment of Sir Thomas Cromwell as Lord Chancellor, the successor of Sir Thomas More. Soon, King Henry VIII and Lady Anne Boleyn are married in secret with only a few chosen attendees as witnesses, which include the hesitant and tardy Lord Suffolk. In irony or maybe due to his rumored reverence for Queen Catherine of Aragon, King Henry VIII tasks the Duke of Suffolk to convey to the Queen the disheartening news of the King’s marriage to Anne Boleyn. The dissolution of their marriage strips Queen Catherine of Aragon of the title of Queen; she will now be referred to as the Princess Dowager of Wales. Although the King allows her to keep her property, he will no longer pay for her servants’ wages and household expenses. In the privacy of her home, Queen Catherine confides to Lady Elizabeth Darrell that she will continue to call herself the Queen of England for as long as she lives.
Even though Sir Thomas More had chosen a life away from public life, he could not contain his anger at hearing about the bill the newly appointed Lord Chancellor Cromwell plans to present to Parliament. He confides to Bishop Fisher his repulsion for The Act of Restraint of Appeals that provides the King of England absolute power on sovereignty and spiritual matters. The bill will also prevent Queen Catherine from appealing to the Vatican against any decision made in England. This bill comes opportunely for the ecclesiastical court that Archbishop Cranmer now heads and had just declared null and void the union between Queen Catherine of Aragon and King Henry VIII consequently making King Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn valid and lawful in the eyes of God. The hired assassin, Master William Brereton, brings the news to Rome prompting Pope Paul III to condemn it. He proclaims that King Henry VIII’s marriage to Anne Boleyn is null and void. The Pope asserts that the Curia is the only one that can decide the dissolution of the King’s marriage. He gives King Henry VIII until September to take back Queen Catherine before excommunicating him. Master Brereton, who fled to Rome due to his disgust at the events in England, finds favor with the Pope who begs him to join the Jesuits that he will ordain through the papal bull Regimini Militantis Ecclesiae. The members of this holy order, sometimes called soldiers of Christ, will go where others fear due to the great danger they will meet in promoting the Catholic faith. Master Brereton with great reverence for the Pope accepts his request to return to England even at the risk of martyrdom.
Mary Boleyn visits her sister and finds her with child. Anne confides to her of having visited a famous astrologer who confirms the physicians’ belief that she is carrying a boy. Anne’s rise to royalty is eminent with her preparing for the coronation, but sadness finds her, which befuddles her sister. Her sadness may have come from her knowledge of the people’s lack of support and surreptitious denouncement of her impending new status as Queen of England. Lord Suffolk is one of those against her coronation as Queen so much so that he agonizes over having to attend the coronation. Moreover, the King has appointed him High Constable for the event. Lord Suffolk fearing the consequence of refusing his duty has no choice but to attend. His clever wife, however, advises that he store up his knowledge and anger and wait for the opportune time to use them to bring down Anne Boleyn. He is unaware that Master Brereton has returned to England to assassinate her. The King parades his new wife, but very few bothered to greet their soon-to-be Queen and none showed the reverence fit for a Queen. Master Brereton fires a shot, misses and hits a groom instead. By the time he reloads his rifle, the carriage bearing Lady Anne and King Henry had passed. The parade continues despite this assassination attempt and Lord Rochford covers up the fatality so as not to spoil the event. Archbishop Cranmer presides over the coronation of Anne Boleyn, but it is King Henry VIII, who crowns her with St. Edward’s crown, making Anne the new Queen of England.
Ambassador Chapuys speaks with Sir Thomas More about the dreary coronation and its celebration where his absence was noted. He also informs the former Lord Chancellor of the increasing difficulty to communicate with Queen Catherine given the imposed restrictions preventing her from receiving guests. Moreover, any praise spoken of her has been made grounds for imprisonment. In fact, Bishop Fisher has already been placed in house arrest. Sir Thomas More mourns the past when he believed the King to be the most enlightened and promising prince in Christendom. How things turned out to be the contrary to his expectations. In fact, the new Queen of England tells her entourage that the old days are gone so much so that she encourages them to draw spiritual nourishment from the formerly banned Tyndale’s English bible. Her reign as Queen marks the beginning of a new beginning for all of England, a kingdom that is free from the bondage of the Pope.
Lord Rochford visits the Ludlow Castle at the Welsh Marches to apprise Lady Mary about the Archbishop of Canterbury’s dissolution of King Henry VIII and Queen Catherine of Aragon’s marriage. This dissolution consequently strips her mother the title of Queen of England and her as princess. She will be referred to as Lady Mary going forward and shall recognize Anne Boleyn as the Queen of England. Lady Mary refuses to recognize Anne as Queen. Her intransigence resulted in a communication proscription between her and her mother. Meanwhile, Sir Thomas More risks imprisonment and pays Queen Catherine of Aragon a visit through a written request made to Sir Cromwell. He learns that Queen Catherine has been forced to cease calling herself Queen for refusal to do so will result in the King withdrawing his fatherly love for their daughter, Lady Mary. She, however, refuses to concede despite the threat for she believes that doing so will damn her and her husband’s soul. She finds that she still has a supporter in Sir Thomas More and learns that he has been speaking to her supporters in Parliament to take courage and to stand up for the lawful Queen. This, however, will be for naught, because the King no longer answers to any man but himself. In fact, he rejects the final decision of the Curia that declared his marriage to Anne Boleyn invalid and any children produced from it illegitimate. He no longer recognizes the Pope’s authority such that he does not fear the threat of excommunication.
King Henry is frustrated for Anne’s refusal to satisfy his carnal urges given her pregnancy. Charles Brandon sees him eyeing Lady Eleanor Luke, one of Anne’s ladies-in-waiting, who belongs to a family that owns an estate in Oxfordshire. Brandon offers to speak to her on his behalf. He may not need to for Anne is about to give birth. Anne Boleyn gives birth to a very healthy baby girl disappointing everyone most especially the King, who was certain that Anne was carrying a son. His disappointment is so great that the King did not bother to hold his daughter. He begins an affair with Lady Eleanor.
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