The beginning of episode 7 brings us to a meeting with the King and his council. They are clearly in agreement about going to war with France and invading Boulogne. (All except for the Earl of Hertford.) Henry appoints the Duke of Suffolk Commander of the Armies and Charles accepts his new duties with obvious pleasure and anticipation. I couldn’t help but snicker as Henry makes a statement about never breaking his word and being “too old to begin now.” How delusional that monarch was!!!!
Next, we see Henry and Catherine, as Catherine recites her vows to become the King’s wife and the new Queen of England. The union is received with much joy and celebration.
Right away, Catherine proves herself to be a very kind and doting stepmother, an intelligent queen, and an obedient wife. She asks for permission to get to know the Lady Elizabeth and Prince Edward, and to install permanent lodgings for Elizabeth at court so that she may be closer to her father and get to know him better. Henry gives his permission, and you see they have a mutual respect for eachother that breeds a contentment.
Charles Brandon quickly starts assembling armies and weapons for the invasion of Boulogne. You can see it’s not only something Henry wants, but also something Charles is looking forward to. It’s a feeling of them recapturing their youthful days in some ways.
A very esteemed Duke from Spain sent by the Emperor, comes to visit court. (I won’t for the life of me even try to spell his name.) The King entrusts Queen Catherine and the Lady Mary to entertain him. The Duke is presented to the queen and to Mary, and much to his delight, Mary greets him in fluent Spanish. It’s a beautiful moment for Mary. When the Duke expresses surprise about her speaking Spanish, she replies, “Am I not my mother’s daughter?” I really loved it. I love how they have developed Mary and shown us how she did carry the same grace and dignity as her mother did.
As the merriment and dancing go on into the evening, the queen is summoned by the king’s physicians. His leg is worse again and incapacitating him. The king doesn’t want her to see him in his pained condition, but she quickly gets him to let her tend to him. She is patient and kind and loving with him. She moves her bed to his chamber to look after him better. Such a caring wife!!!
Of course, this is when Michael Hirst decides to introduce another new subplot. A man by the name of Richard Leland impresses the Duke of Suffolk and earns himself a nice ranking in the army. He befriends a man named Harry Hearst. They are sweet and personable boys and you just know that the war is not going to bode well for them.
Catherine meets with Prince Edward. It’s a very sweet scene. The little boy seems sad and missing his father and the queen instantly picks up on it. She reassures the young boy that he is very special to his father and that the king would love to see him more if he could. You can tell how attached she is already to the children. Of course, you can’t help but feel sorry for the little prince.
Poor King Henry….it seems that his plans for invading Boulogne are not going well or according to plan. The preparations are lagging… there are hold ups and not enough troops ready to the king’s satisfaction. He quickly goes on a tirade once again about how inept his commanders and advisors are. The king designates Queen Catherine as regent while he is in France, much to the dismay of Richard Rich and Bishop Gardiner. Bishop Gardiner is determined to find out the queen’s true intentions for the realm and her true religious beliefs.
The king prepares to depart for France. He tells Catherine he has left everything in order in the event that he does not return from France. He explains that his wishes are for Edward to succeed him, and if he has no issue the crown goes to Lady Mary, and then to Lady Elizabeth. I can’t help but feel overwhelmingly glad for the two girls who had been so adrift before due to their father’s paranoia and just plain cruelty. It’s nice to see him recognizing his children and treating them as a loving father would. Mary is very clearly broken up and frightened about her father leaving. It’s a true testament to a daughter’s love no matter the circumstances. Henry tenderly kisses her forehead and tells her not to weep. He asks Elizabeth to write him of all that happens in the kingdom and whatever else she sees fit to write to him. He kisses her forehead and it’s one of the first times you ever feel that Henry truly loves his children and wants the best for them. He parts, telling Catherine he is leaving his children in her capable hands, trusting her to do well by them. She of course promises to do all she can.
Henry and his troops finally reach Boulogne, France. He meets with the Duke of Suffolk to find out how the troops are progressing. The king is very eager to get things started. He is met by the troops with much excitement and honor. The morale of the troops is high…… for now……
The King gives a very stirring speech about doing their duty for England, for their king, for their inheritances. The men are eager to fight and prove their loyalty to the king.
Fighting immediately commences and Charles Brandon is very good in his position as commander. And so begins the siege of Boulogne. Henry watches from a distance with the Earl of Surrey. It’s an intense moment as you wait for Henry to give orders to Brandon to give to the army to start firing. Of course, we get the usual gunfire and cannon explosions and such, but I really do think that Michael Hirst did a good job of showing not only how brutal war could be in Tudor times, but also how much manpower it really did take to have the battles themselves.
Meanwhile, back at court, we start to see Catherine Parr’s true intentions. I have to say, the woman was both intelligent and brave in the way she went about things. She most certainly knew what the consequences of her actions could be, but her beliefs were stronger. She appoints a man by the name of Mr. Hugh Latimer as Chaplain to her household, despite his being well-known for having “controversial” beliefs. He happily accepts the position. She requests of him that he conceals his true beliefs to the Lady Mary out of respect for her faith. Hmmmm… how noble of her, but one can’t help but see it also saves her hide to “conceal” things from Mary, lol! Catherine’s sister Anne is fearful of Mr. Latimer’s appointment, but the queen refuses to “play the coward.” She is determined to further the cause of the reformation as long as she has power as queen.
While in Boulogne, Henry uses the tactics of an Italian man who devises a plan to tunnel under the castle to set off explosions and bring down the city. Henry is already asking for unrealistic deadlines, go figure. Word of some French soldiers escaping from the castle has the Earl of Surrey and the Duke of Suffolk going on the defensive in the forest.
A small battle ensues as the Earl gets ambushed. He is quickly aided by the Duke. The French soon lose the small battle in the woods, and Brandon is shocked to discover one of their new prisoners is a woman. He is both intrigued and instantly fascinated by her. She is a beautiful and fiery captive, informing Charles that the French call King Henry the “English Nero”. It’s strange that Charles seems so shocked and disappointed to hear it… or maybe he is disappointed in himself for giving his life to serve such a man???
Queen Catherine faithfully writes to King Henry, telling him how she misses him and wishing him well on his journey and battles with France. It is clear that the king misses his wife, and the gentle care she took with him. His health isn’t as bad as it has been in the past, but his leg clearly bothers him on a constant level.
As if the ugly weather and the tunnel delays weren’t bad enough, the Master Surgeon informs Henry that an outbreak of Dysentery is killing his soldiers. We leave this episode with an angry Henry, looking out over Boulogne…… we can only imagine how badly he wants to crush the French at this point, but I imagine we will get to see that soon enough in the next episode.
Stay tuned for episode 8! We are getting down to the wire, Tudors fans!!!!!
****All pictures for this post were found on the site – Showtime’s Tudors Wiki (which has been SUPER helpful to me!) http://tudorswiki.sho.com/photos .