Category: Elizabeth I

The final episode.  How did it come up so quickly?  I will admit, I very much put off writing about this episode, as I did not want it to be over so soon for me.  Historically, of course, we all know how it ends.  But, Michael Hirst brought these historical figures to such vivid life for us for four years and it makes it all that much more difficult for me to say goodbye to the series.

Just the promo for this episode alone gave me goosebumps.  I found this version of it on YouTube…. it’s not the best sound or picture, but you can get an idea of what I am talking about…..

Writing about Showtime’s “The Tudors” series this past year has been a labor of love for me.  I have never before attempted to write about a TV series or movie with such detail as I have done with this one.  I hope you have all enjoyed reading my posts as much as I have enjoyed writing them.  To be certain, this will NOT be my last post on the Tudor Dynasty or the Showtime series, but it is indeed my last detailed synopsis of an episode.  With a heavy heart, I give you my last run down of the Final Episode…….

This episode is aptly titled, “Death of a Monarchy.”  It couldn’t get more final than that, right?  I love how they brought Maria Doyle Kennedy, Natalie Dormer, and Annabelle Wallis back on the opening credits.  You can tell they reworked it to add some of the younger moments in Henry’s life.

The episode begins with a beautiful scene with a white horse, galloping towards the screen while you hear Henry’s voice.  I love what he says….

“When we compare the present life of man on earth, with that time of which we have no knowledge, it seems to me like the swift flight of a single sparrow, through a banqueting hall on a Winter’s day.  After a few moments of comfort, he vanishes from sight, into the Wintery world from which he came.  Even so, man appears on earth for a little while.  But, of what went before this life, and what will follow, we know nothing.”

King Henry and the Duke of Suffolk are sitting together, chatting.  The King is in a very philosophical mood, pondering about time, and the loss of it.  He quizzes the Duke about what is the most irrecoverable loss…. and informs him that time is the most irrecuperable of losses, “for it can never be redeemed.”

As usual, Bishop Gardiner is up to no good.  He hands a servant a warrant for the Queen’s arrest to give to Risley….. this is definitely NOT good for the queen!

The Lord High Admirable of France pays a visit to court.  Prince Edward greets him in fluent Latin, much to the delight of everyone at court.  The Ladies Mary and Elizabeth are also presented to him by Queen Catherine.  As they wait for the King to make an appearance, Mary uses the opportunity to speak with Bishop Gardiner, who reiterates to her the “people’s” desire to anoint Mary as queen, should the King die.

Henry makes his appearance to the Lord High Admiral of France.  I like how Henry walks up to Edward and tousels his hair, and then brings the Prince to sit with him on the throne while he conducts his business with the French Admiral.  Henry decides he will make peace with France and will have “no more business” with the Emperor, who he makes sure to advise to Edward has betrayed him at “every turn.”  It’s clear that Henry is grooming his son to take over the throne for him.  The King proposes that Mass be abolished in both England and France, but this clearly dismays the Admiral.  We also learn that the French King is dying of syphilis.  Henry makes no bones about using Francis’ condition as a means to gain leverage for his own desires.  It’s almost laughable to hear him lecturing about how Francis’ lewd conduct is a lesson to his mortality.  Certainly a bit of irony as well!

The servant that was given the arrest warrant for the Queen (I believe his name is Walter) decides to first take it to one of the Queen’s maids, who in turn secretly gives it to Catherine to warn her.  The Queen is both shocked and terrified.

The King is in his chamber reading and you can hear someone sobbing very loudly in the next room.  The King asks who it is, is told it’s the “Queen’s Majesty” and seems a little intrigued and suspicious as to why she is “screaming like that.”  He decides to go and see her.  He asks her what is wrong and she pulls herself together as best she can.  She walks over, most likely terrified that now on top of everything else, the King has caught her crying.  Henry asks her what is wrong.  You can tell the Queen is choosing her words VERY carefully.  She tells him that she fears he is displeased with her.  Henry plays ignorant.  He asks her what has caused her to think so and whyever would he be displeased with her???  He asks her very firmly if there is any reason he SHOULD be displeased with her.  It’s a very tense moment as you wait for her to answer him.  Of course, she replies that no, there is no reason for him to be displeased with her.  Much to her relief, he bids her a good day and leaves the room.  The way Catherine practically falls to the floor, you get a sense that her knees were probably ready to buckle at any moment and it took all she had to answer him with any composure.  I will admit, I was not crazy about Joley Richardson playing Catherine Parr, as I really did not like her on “Nip/Tuck,” but I am being forced to reassess that opinion, as she has so far done a superb job.

As soon as Henry is far enough away from the room, Catherine immediately sets her ladies to work, getting rid of any books or literature whether they think it may be forbidden or not, so as to keep from incriminating herself further.  She is frantic to absolve herself of guilt and she is intelligent enough to pull it off, as we will soon see…..

The Earl of Hertford pays the Duke of Suffolk a visit.  Brigitte informs him that the Duke is ill, however, Charles gets out of bed to see the Earl anyways.  He agrees to have a chat with him.  There is a moment of concern from Brigitte about him being out of bed, and I must say, hearing Henry Cavill speak French is utterly DIVINE!!!!  The Earl and the Duke quickly start discussing the unrest and unease at court about the succession.  The Earl is asking for the Duke’s support for the Reformation, and in going up against Bishop Gardiner.  He incorrectly assumes that since the Duchess of Suffolk supports the Reform, that Brandon does as well.  He is quickly informed otherwise and hastily apologizes for his assumptions.  Talk about sticking your foot in your mouth, eh?  The Duke ends the conversation by telling the Earl he will not take sides in this matter and that he does not share Hertford’s beliefs in the Reform.  Charles says that he would rather things were as in times past.  Sad.  He is very obviously tired of all of the politics.

This next scene had me actually cheering for Lady Hertford, even though she has not been a favorite character of mine.  Historically, she was quite an abominable woman to deal with, and it’s very evident in this series as well.  I really admired her unfailing spunk in this particular part of the episode.   Lady Hertford is summoned to see Bishop Gardiner.  She is perfectly aware of why he wants to see her and it does not ruffle her one bit.  Gardiner, of course, questions her in regards to her affiliations with Anne Askew.  She counters with the fact that Anne was illegally tortured, to which the Bishop decides to tell her that she is “guilty by association,” and shows her a warrant for her arrest.   Anne stands up, reviews the warrant and hands it back to Gardiner, telling him he will never serve the warrant.  She boldy informs him that she knows things about him…..things others do not.  She knows he has been stealing property and money from the King and threatens to expose him if he does not tear up the warrant and forget about arresting her.  She leaves him sitting there, quite deflated and I cackled in delight…. serves the wank right!

Now we come to a pivotal part in this episode, not to mention confusing.  It’s fairly historically accurate, for this is truly how things transgressed, even though it seems crazy.  But, that was par for the course when dealing with Henry VIII.  Catherine Parr is summoned to have an audience with the King.  The King is entertaining some nobles, sitting in a very luxurious room, drinking and chatting.  The Queen is announced and Henry has her sent in.  The room grows very quiet and you just know this is some sort of test.  She dutifully kneels before him.  He tells her he wishes her to clear his mind of some “doubts.”  In front of the entire room of nobles, the King questions Catherine’s beliefs on what can be gained from reading the Gospels and other religious books.  Like I mentioned before, Catherine was no idiot.  She knew she was being tested, knew that her life depended on this one conversation and knew she had to make sure to please Henry.  She quickly defers to him as Supreme Head of the Church, telling him that it is only through his knowledge and understanding of faith that she hopes to learn.  He is not quick to believe her at first, telling her she has “become a doctor to instruct us all” and she did not seem to want to BE instructed.  The Queen quickly assures Henry that he has misunderstood her, that she defers all things to him, her Lord and King.  She begs his forgiveness, explaining that such discussions were merely meant as a distraction to his infirmities.  Wow, that woman knew how to play the game.  She quickly showed herself as a docile, and obedient wife, which is something Henry ultimately wanted from her.  Strict obedience.  He assures her they are perfect friends again and tells her he will never doubt her again.  The Queen leaves, feeling reassured that she is once again in the King’s favor.  Here is the really confusing part…. Henry’s servant asks him if he should rescind His Majesty’s orders to arrest the Queen.  The King looks at him, surprised and indignant and asks, “Why?”  Crazy… just crazy!

Poor Charles Brandon.  He is getting steadily more sick.  Brigitte is taking such good care of him, and it’s clear he is relieved she is there for him.  He tells her he hates the night because it makes him think of “perpetual night.”  It’s so sad.  He knows he does not have long to live.

Let’s add some more confusion to all of this, shall we?  We really get a good glimpse of how crazy Henry really was in his late years during this scene.  Remember, he seemed indignant when asked if he would rescind the order to arrest Catherine?

As King Henry and Queen Catherine enjoy an outdoor luncheon, you see Lord Risley coming their way with a good number of guards.  The Queen, VERY shaken and terrified, quietly asks the King what is going on.  Henry, again, plays the ignorant role, pretending not to know exactly why Risley had come.  Of course, he is there to arrest the Queen, under HENRY’S orders.  See how this gets puzzling?  What’s even more puzzling, is how the King reacts to Risley.  The crazy Monarch gets out of his seat, calling Risley a knave, screaming at him to get out and take his “bastards” with him.  He looks outraged and leaves everyone completely befuddled.  He tells Catherine that Lord Risley was not her friend.  Umm… I should say not!

Bishop Gardiner, ever the epitome of wankness, grills Risley about the events that occured, insisting that they should still try to serve the warrant to the Queen.  Risley is obviously souring on the idea of arresting the Queen at this point.

Parliament convenes, and much to Lord Hertford’s irritation, Risley introduces a discussion in reference to Prince Edward’s care, education, and to whom the title of  Lord Protector should fall to in the event of the King’s death.  Seymour questions Risley as to why the discussion is taking place since arrangements have already been made.  Risley and Gardiner staunchly defend their right to debate the arrangements already made, which angers the Earl.  The Bishop goes even further to add that Seymour’s “intentions” toward the Prince and the Crown must be put before the King.”  An outraged Seymour quickly punches Bishop Gardiner in the mouth.  I am not a fan of violence, but that was fantastic!!!!

Following that awesome display, we come to Henry, sitting before the fire, reading again.  His servant announces that the Bishop Gardiner requests an audience with him.  Henry refuses his request.  WOO HOO!!!!!!  FINALLY!!!!  The King tells his servant that the Bishop is one of a troublesome nature and that he no longer wishes to see him at court ever again.  Gardiner is banished.  I think he should have had a bit more come his way, but it was done in a most humiliating manner, so that is satisfactory enough for me!

The slimy Risley immediately seeks to rid himself of association with Gardiner, proclaiming his loyalty to Edward Seymour on the spot.  Dastardly man.  Edward accepts his loyalty and they become allies.

King Henry commissions Hans Holbein to paint a portrait of him.  This will turn out to be the last painting ever done of Henry VIII and it is famous around the world.  The actual portrait no longer survives, however, there are several copies done by other artists of the portrait on display throughout the UK that you can still view today.

The Duke of Suffolk is gravely ill.  This part was so difficult to watch.  Brigitte tells him a messenger from the King has arrived.  The messenger tells the Duke that the King has heard of his illness and has asked to see him.  Brigitte is incredulous (and rightly so!) and tells the messenger no.  But, Charles, being the ever loyal friend and servant to Henry insists on going despite the fact that he is so weak he can barely stand on his own two feet.  It’s so sad to see how pale and sickly he is.  I was more than a little irritated at Henry for summoning Brandon that way when he was so sick.  I know they probably were both thinking it would be the last time they would ever see eachother, but it’s so awful of the King to put Charles through that.

As Holbein is creating the sketches for his portrait of the King, it almost looks as if something walks into Henry’s peripheral view.  And then you see Catherine of Aragon.   Exciting!!!!  The King rightfully looks as though he has seen a ghost, and asks Catherine what she is doing there.  She replies that has come to see her daughter.  She tells Henry he has been unkind to Mary, and she has wept often to see his treatment of her.  “Is that why you have come back, to chide me?  For all that I am not?”  Jonathan Rhys Meyers does a very good job of making Henry look embittered and a bit tortured by his own demons.  He begs her to go away.  I love how she tells him very calmly, “You sent me away before, though I loved you.  But I was still your wife in God’s eyes, and still am.”   You can see that the King is getting delusional and becomes more “haunted” as the episode continues.  I really, truly LOVE that Michael Hirst chose to bring back the first three wives!!!!!  I cannot tell you how much I was bouncing in my seat to see Anne Boleyn with Elizabeth!  But, I am getting ahead of myself…….

This next scene just had me shaking my head in exasperation at Henry’s insanity.  Charles Brandon has finally made it to his audience with the King.  Of course, it wouldn’t be Henry VIII if he wasn’t always thinking first and last about himself, right?  The two best friends reminisce and Charles mentions remembering Margaret, the Battle of the Spurs, when the King made him a Duke, “God knows why.”  I started crying at this point.  It was so bittersweet.  Henry asks Charles to trust him, literally trying to “forbid” the Duke not to die.  He is confident that once again, the Duke will follow orders….. this shows Henry’s growing insanity, to be sure.  He is clearly so full of himself, that he commands the ailing Duke to kneel before him, places his hands on Charles’ head and commands him to be healed.   I don’t know if it is all delusion, or some wishful thinking as well on Henry’s part that it will work.  I think the King was a bit in denial about being on the verge of losing his most loyal and trusted friend.  It really tears at your heart as you see the glorious white horse running again………

And then, he’s gone.  Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk dies at home, with Brigitte at his side.  It was gut wrenching to watch this part of the show.  To the very end, he was loyal to Henry alone…… not even his wife, whom he once loved deeply could persuade him to defy the King.  They had grown up together as children…… and he was one of the few closest to Henry to live out his life in its entirety.  Not many could claim that, as a couple of the King’s wives could attest to!

It’s even more tragic how we see Brigitte at Charles’ side, along with his son, Henry, however, when the Henry attends the formal funeral, he completely ignores her.  Both him and the Duchess of Suffolk completely snub her.  I am sure it was not expected otherwise in those times.   After all, she was merely his Mistress.  However, that had to feel like two knives in the gut rather than just the one.

The King commands that the Duke of Suffolk is to be buried at St. George’s chapel at his expense.  I feel it is the very least he can do, after everything the Duke was to him……

Holbein requests an audience with the King, to show him his progress on the portrait.  Henry is heartily disappointed, even indignant as to how his portrait “should” look.  He orders Holbein to “do it again.”

As he is alone, mixing his “potions” to help ease his pain, Henry is confronted with the “ghost” of Anne Boleyn.  I admit, since this woman is a personal passion of mine, I gobbled this scene up like a person starving.  It was so well written and it’s sooooo good for Anne Boleyn fans to see her recognizing how wonderful Elizabeth has grown to be.  She tells the King that although Elizabeth is like her, she is not as “intemperate” as she once was.  Henry admits to Anne that he is very proud of their daughter, that he sees the wonderful qualities in her as well.  He states that he wishes he could love her more, but that from time to time, she reminds him of Anne, and what she “did to him.”

Anne tells Henry that she did nothing to him, that all of the accusations against her were false.  I love how she looks at him and says, “I thought you knew?”  It tears the avid Anne fan apart to hear that, since we all heartily believe she was innocent.  She also goes on to mention how poor Catherine Howard lies in the cold ground next to her.. how they were both like two moths drawn to the flame… and burned.   And what makes it so tragic, is that it is all so very true….

Henry starts weeping, and you almost get a sense that he doesn’t quite want her to leave him when he turns and says, “Anne please dont!”  But, “Anne, please dont… ”  what?  What did he not want her to do?  Please don’t leave?  Please don’t torment me?  What did he really mean when he said that?  That is a question that has stayed in my mind while watching this.

Now the time has come for King Henry VIII to bid farwell to his family.  He is announced by his servant, and all whom are closest to him are in attendance.  Henry bids Catherine, Lady Mary and Lady Elizabeth to come closer to him.  He tells them he has decided that he will send them away to Greenwich.  He will not spend this Christmastide with them or any thereafter.  Everyone seems a bit bewildered by the King’s decision, but they accept his command.  He asks Mary to be a kind and loving mother to her brother.  She begs the King not to leave her an orphan so soon.  He touches her face but says nothing more.  To Elizabeth, he says that she is so very young, but asks her too to look after her brother.  He tells her, “Bless you, child, bless you.”    He comes to Catherine Parr.  He says, “Cate, the time has come for us to bid farwell.  It is God’s will.  When I die, I order these gentlemen to treat you as if I were living still.  And,  if it is your pleasure to remarry, I order that you should have 7,000 pounds a year for your service, as well as your jewels and ornaments.”  He then leaves a very grieving court as he walks away for the last time, ordering them all to go………

When he is gone from the room, Elizabeth immediately departs on her own leaving us to wonder what made her do that?  Was it grief and a need to be alone?  Was it fear of what was to come?

You hear Jane’s voice….”How’s my son?”  You see Henry visibly relax.  “Jane… ” he says breathlessly….”he is well.  I have taken all care of him, sweet Jane and soon he will be King.”  Jane keeps saying, “my poor boy… my poor child,” but Henry insists that is not true, that he is the MOST beloved boy.  Jane tells Henry that their son will die young and Henry denies this telling her, “NO, NO!”  Jane tells Henry that in essence, due to the way he has raised their son, the way his father raised him…. it will kill Prince Edward.  Henry breaks down, seeing his Tudor Dynasty possibly dying before his very eyes.

In council, Henry appoints Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, Lord Protector of Prince Edward during his minority, upon the event of his death, with the support of Chancellor Risley and Arch Bishop Cramner.  He commands that a tomb be built and he be buried alongside his true and beloved wife, Jane Seymour at Windsor.

You see this dream like sequence of a young King Henry, staring off into space, as the white horse with comes closer and closer to him.  Just as the horse reaches the young Henry……

Henry’s servant wakes him……he explains that Master Holbein is in the chapel waiting for him.  The King slowly makes his way to the chapel.

The portrait is unveiled and immediately you get this rush of what Henry is seeing in the picture…. in essence, his life flashing before his eyes…. the good, the bad, the love, the hate, the friendships and the enemies….. it all comes together right here, right now.  It encompassed, in that moment, everything we have loved and hated about The Tudors in the last four years.  It couldn’t have ended better when Henry turns to Holbein and tells him “it is well done.”  And it was.  It was extremely well done and I don’t think many of us will forget this series and what it brought to us any time soon.

The last parts of music at the end were the very last bars of the theme song as the episode draws to a close.  Four years of telling a story….ended.  I have to say… I am grateful that Michael Hirst didn’t actually kill Henry in the end, leaving him as sort of this indestructible myth in a way.   It was all very, very well done.

Thank you, Michael Hirst.  For giving us this gift that most of us shan’t soon forget.  You are an inspiration to those of us who continue to enjoy the history of the Tudor Dynasty and want to learn even more from it.

****All pictures for this post were found on the site – Showtime’s Tudors Wiki (which has been SUPER helpful to me!) .  Other pictures also found at


Ah, the atrocities of war.  The eighth episode of The Tudors starts out right off showing thousands of men being carted off and buried in shallow graves.  Henry’s soldiers are dying off from illness, hunger, and the bad elements as they try to continue their siege on Boulogne.  The poor, overstarved men who are building a tunnel leading to the walls of the city are visibly tired and starving and not able to work fast enough for the King’s liking.

When the physician comes in to advise Henry about the “bloody flux” that is plaguing the soldiers, the king overturns a table and goes off on a tirade, claiming the physician is lying, that there is no disease, and that the soldiers are merely cowards.  He states that he will not bring cowards home.  He orders ALL of the soldiers to fight no matter what or he will “hang them by the wayside.”  He obviously wants his glory at any cost and it’s so obvious that Henry is losing his grip on reality.  You can’t help but feel sorry for those poor boys.

While his Majesty is away at war, Bishop Gardiner moves full steam ahead with his plans to reveal Queen Catherine as a Protestant heretic.  He comes to her to discuss a “matter” with her.  He requests her permission to indict some men of the King’s Privy Chamber, as a sort of “test”.  She rebuffs his request, explaining that she would rather leave that decision to the King, which inadvertently gives Gardiner the “evidence” he needs.  The Bishop is very clearly not pleased with her easy dismissal of his request, but I am sure it only makes him more determined to take her down!

Charles Brandon has decided to release his captive, Brigitte’s,  father in return for her “cooperation”.  Gee, that’s not textbook or anything.  The sacrificial heroine, “enduring” the handsome soldier’s advances “all for her father’s sake.”  Guess my cynicism is showing, lol!  The Duke has his hostage’s father released outside camp and I am sure we all know what is in store for the dear lady…….

A touching moment comes when the young Richard Leland runs into Harry Hearst while on his marching rounds.  He sees his new friend is near starving and insists upon giving him his bread to eat.  The men have a very strong bond despite the atrocious circumstances and it gives the optimistic something nice to watch amid all the distasteful elements of war.

Lord Hertford visits the King in Boulogne, reporting to him that Queen Catherine is doing quite well as regent of the kingdom while he is away.  Hertford is also shouldered with the unpleasant task of reporting that the Emperor, King Charles has already taken two French cities and taken many enemy prisoners.  Henry goes into another tirade about how no one knows how to correctly handle the soldiers, that sieging Boulogne in the manner they have been is making them grow soft and idle.  The King wants results and he wants them regardless of what reality is presenting to him.  He orders Sen. Trevisso to explode one of the charges under the castle prematurely, without warning.  Meaning a lot of his own men would meet their deaths. The King wanted to test his troops, to see what they could handle in a “crisis”.  Trevisso, for his part, begs the King to give him more time, and to reconsider so many would not have to die.  He asks for two days.  We don’t really get a real answer from Henry……

The Lady Mary pays a visit to Queen Catherine.  She very clearly hints that she is hoping the Queen is in favor of the Catholic religion, and Catherine manages to skirt around the issue with some success, however, I am sure at this point that Mary knows the truth.

Queen Catherine shows a very tender side with Henry’s children, discussing with Prince Edward the start of his education with his tutors and breaking with his governess and nurses.  She also tells Elizabeth that she expects great things from her.  I like how Michael Hirst throws in those little prophetic moments like that, as we all know that Elizabeth surely rose to the challenge!  Catherine also speaks with one of Elizabeth’s ladies privately, expressing her wishes to bring Elizabeth up with the Reformed faith as her mother, Anne Boleyn would have done.  I thought this was an extremely classy and wonderful touch on Catherine’s part.  Poor Elizabeth lost her mother so young…. this was certainly a wonderful way to help the girl connect with her mother in some way.  What many don’t realize is that Catherine’s decision helped shape the way Elizabeth ruled the Church of England which ended up saving many lives.

And….. very predictably, the handsome Duke of Suffolk and his gorgeous French captive do the deed.  She awakes him to tell him she was going to escape and then came back to him.  It’s all very quick and crazy, and did I say predictable???  I am just glad the aging Duke has something to be happy about again.

Now we come to a very big climax in Boulogne.  You see Trevisso telling all of the men who helped to dig the tunnel thank you and it was a pleasure working with them….. and then orders them to go.  It’s clear he is going to detonate the charge under the castle.  Harry Hearst is one of the ones who remain behind to help light the way after the fuses are lit.  It’s a tense silence that comes over the entire field.  Then…… chaos.  The fuses are lit……there is a rumble and the earth begins to shake……..the boys in the tunnel are running for their lives, hoping to make it out before it all comes down.   You see the earth move around the castle and then it all starts to come tumbling down in a big thunderous roar.  Men are cheering and fighting all at once.  Harry Hearst is pulled from the tunnel.  He is the only one who made it out alive.  Unfortunately, his friend, Richard did not fare so well.  An arrow hit him almost immediately.  The English soldiers attack the castle.

Word quickly reaches Queen Catherine that the King has taken Boulogne.  She is overjoyed as are Henry’s children.  She informs the children he will be home soon.

Henry receives the keys to the city of Boulogne, enjoying the humiliation of the French.  The King goes on to boast and brag and, as usual,  take full credit for the siege.  He is clearly soaking this victory up for all it’s worth.  He decides after the one victory, to return to England, instead of pushing on to invade Paris, leaving the Earl of Surrey in charge in France.

It’s a very sad moment when Harry Hearst visits Richard Leland’s grave.  He tells him he is sorry.  Most people wonder why he says that.  I am thinking maybe it’s some kind of survivor’s guilt?  Maybe he is just sorry to lose a friend.

Charles Brandon decides to reveal his feelings to Brigitte and asks her to come to England with him.  She agrees.

Next we see a spectacular view of the cliffs of Dover, and Henry and his men riding through the forest.  The Queen has come to meet him personally and it’s a very happy reunion.  I LOVE the costumes in this scene!!!!

There is much fanfare and joy and cheering as Henry returns to court with the keys to the city of Boulogne.

Spanish Ambassador Eustace Chapuys presents himself before the king to ask his permission to leave court, as his health is quickly fading.  Henry decides to grill the Ambassador about the Emperor’s intentions towards the French.  He informs Eustace that he has permission to leave and that he hopes he is relieved he no longer has to lie for the Emperor.  It’s sad to me that Henry would end things with Chapuys in this way, but who could ever guess at that time what Henry would do next?

Eustace pays one final visit to the Lady Mary to say goodbye.  I feel so sorry for her.  This man was like a father to her.  Now he was leaving, preparing to pass on.  It had to be hard to be faced with that when he was the only constant in her life for so long.  Sarah Bolger gives a very heart wrenching speech as Mary to Chapuys, telling him that she will do all in her power to “make England faithful again.”  She vows to do whatever it takes.  You can see Michael Hirst is foreshadowing, showing us how she formed her ideas and her determinations which later led to her nickname “Bloody Mary”.  I am sure even the crimson dress she is wearing in this scene is symbolic of the moniker as well.  Eustace asks permission to embrace her.  He hugs her and gives her a ring in memory of him.  He explains it was a gift to him from the Emperor, who received it from her mother, Queen Catherine of Aragon.  I am so sad to see Chapuys go.  He was a character/person I really liked.

This episode is sad in many ways… and it only grows more sad.  Lord Hertford reports to the King that as well as completing a treaty with the French, the Emperor has consented to a marriage between his daughter and the French King’s son, the Duke.  He also reports that the French are preparing to march on and recapture Boulogne.  Despite this news, Henry proceeds to order Hertford to arrange for bells to be rung and masses to be said in honor of the great victory.  Henry says he wants the name Boulogne to be imprinted on English hearts.  He seems sort of out of it and delusional at this point and you just know it can’t be good.  The episode ends with Henry, alone, falling to the floor………

Two more episodes left, Tudors fans!  I can’t believe we have almost come to the end of the series!  Episode 9 coming very soon!

****All pictures for this post were found on the site – Showtime’s Tudors Wiki (which has been SUPER helpful to me!) and a Sarah Bolger fan site:

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!) .

Ah, fellow Tudors fans…. this episode seemed like such an anticlimax for me after all the craziness that Catherine Howard brought to the show.  I guess it had to slow down sometime, right?

Episode 6 of this new season starts with Mary rushing to tell Elizabeth that they have both been restored to the succession by an act of Parliment.  Mary is clearly overjoyed, but Elizabeth is hesitant.  When Mary asks her what is troubling her, she tells her that after what had happened to Queen Catherine, “as God as my witness I shall never marry.”  We all know historically that Elizabeth did indeed keep her promise, much to the dismay of many who tried to woo her or talk her into marriage, lol!

Meanwhile, the politics are getting sticky, as Eustace Chapuys comes to King Henry with an offer from King Charles for an alliance against the French.  Henry, always the opportunist, speaks with the French ambassador in an effort to investigate King Francis’ intentions.  When the ambassador “insults” Henry, he makes his decision.  He decides to order the Scots to break with their French alliance and acknowledge England’s suzerainty over them, giving  them one last chance before sending his troops to Scotland.   It’s clear that Henry has decided in favor of an alliance with the Spanish Emperor.

The Earl of Surrey very faithfully continues to be a very unpredictable character!  While playing cards at court, his opponent reveals that they were both related to the late queen and decides to chastize him and his family for turning a blind eye to the queen’s wanton and disreputable behavior.  He uses the term, “you Howards” to the ornery Earl, who takes it personally enough to bash the unsuspecting man in the head with a pitcher and beat him until  fellow courtiers pull him off, shouting that he will cut the man’s “fucking tongue out.”  Interesting.  In Tudor times, it was considered almost unthinkable to have violence like that at court, and it’s clear that Bishop Gardiner surely wants Surrey punished, but Henry sees fit to release him, as he would rather have him fighting in Scotland.

Finally, we come to meet Lady Latimer, aka Catherine Parr.  Lord Latimer is fearful of a shadow of treason hanging over his family for events that occured during the Northern Rebellion.  He invites Thomas Seymour to visit so he can ask him to make a submission on his behalf to the King, speaking of his loyalty. It’s clear that the man is very ill and is barely functioning and the stress and fear of being found treasonous is not helping.  For her part, Catherine seems to be a very patient and kind nurse to him, but we quickly learn that she is already making plans for her future.  A future that includes marrying Thomas Seymour.

In Scotland, Surrey is quite successful in battle and manages to capture several of the Scottish nobles.  He takes them back to London with him as captives.

In a meeting, Henry is only too happy to inform his council that the battle of Solway Moss was a great victory.  He also informs them that King James died, leaving his wife and new daughter behind, which means that Scotland has only a female heir to the throne.

Henry decides to have the Lady Mary preside over the Christmas festivities.  Prince Edward also has his first public duties.

The paranoid King also decides to confront Thomas Seymour for his remarks regarding his handling of the Earl of Surrey.  This unfortunately for Thomas, foreshadows some future disfavor from Henry.

Prince Edward is presented before the Scottish noblemen, and afterwards, the Earl of Hertford presents them with a proposal to marry the prince with the Scottish princess, uniting their countries through marriage.

The Christmas celebration is where Michael Hirst chooses to introduce Henry to Catherine Parr.  The shrewd king quickly assesses Thomas Seymour’s attraction to her and decides to make him squirm.  He commands an audience with Catherine, supposedly to speak with her about clearing Lord Latimer’s name of treason.  You can see the wheels turning in his about her already.

Unfortunately, for the long suffering Duke of Suffolk, Henry decides to chastise him for staying away from court too long, telling him, “You can be too careful, Your Grace.”  Charles quickly understands what the king means and submits to his will as always.  Henry asks him to do him a favor.  He orders Charles to bring a secret treaty to Embassador Chapuys, forming an alliance between Henry and King Charles.  Henry promises to support the Emperor whenever asked to do so and also vows to invade France.

When the King finally meets with Catherine Parr, he quickly assures her that there is no suspicion of treason against her husband or her family, which she is relieved to hear.  He realizes as he speaks to her that she is a very kind woman, intelligent and loyal.  The wheels in Henry’s head continue to turn.. round and round they go!!

Of course, this would not be the Tudor times, if one religion wasn’t trying to burn another for “heresy”.  Bishop Gardiner is determined to “flush” out the heretics and punish them all.  Gotta love all the crazy ambition in the name of saving a religion or faith.

Poor Catherine Parr.  She is now getting the usual King Henry wooing treatment, having gifts sent to her.  Pretty ballsy, considering her husband wasn’t even dead yet!  For her part, she seems pretty overwhelmed and scared by the attention.  Who wouldn’t be, at this point?  The man has been through five wives, for crying out loud, lol!

King Henry signs the treaty between himself and King Charles.  It’s official.  The Duke of Suffolk then presents the French embassador with an official declaration of war against France.  Needless to say, it was not well received.

Bishop Gardiner informs the king that he has found a “nest of heretics” and asks the king’s permission to arrest them and “examine” them closely, which obviously means torture.  A man named Tesswood is somehow connected to the Earl of Hertford and goes to him for help.  Edward Seymour shows no mercy, and his wife, Anne Stanhope, shows even less by threatening Tesswood, telling him things will go badly for his family if he mentions the Seymours in any way.  Such craziness!  So many subplots!!!  It’s getting to be a bit much packed into one episode, don’t you think?

Catherine meets with Thomas one last time.  They both know what getting gifts from the King means.  She is very alarmed, as she does NOT want to be queen.  But, how can anyone say no to the KING?  The king invites her over for dinner.  The more he is in her company, it’s very clear he likes her quite a bit.

Catherine thanks the king for the generous gifts, insisting she did nothing to deserve such things.  He explains he just wanted to give her good cheer.  She doesn’t look convinced, and frankly, neither am I.  The king asks her to play cards, where Mary and Chapuys notice Catherine might be next in line for the title of queen.

Catherine wins the card game, and Henry gifts her with a ring, which he insists she accept for “his sake.”  Thomas Seymour sees the exchange and realizes he is not going to be able to marry Catherine after all.  Ever the schemer, the king sends Thomas away to Brussels on permanent embassy.  OUCH!  That had to hurt!!!!

Lord Latimer is finally about to pass on.  His health is just about giving out.  They are saying his last rights and Catherine is looking both relieved for it all to be over and sad.  Here’s something I don’t quite understand.  She desperately tries to tell him “something” and he leans over and tells her to go to hell.. then dies.  What is THAT all about?  There has never been any evidence that Lord Latimer held any ill will towards his wife.  What is Michael Hirst trying to say with this?

Of course, the final scene is Edward Seymour, entering Catherine Parr’s home, offering the king’s hand in marriage.  Boy, he really didn’t waste any time!  The body was barely cold!  Pretty incredible stuff.

Tales from episode 7 coming soon!

****All pictures for this post were found on the site – Showtime’s Tudors Wiki (which has been SUPER helpful to me!) .

Haunted by the past…. it would be a very apt way to describe episode 4 of The Tudors’ new season.  For, throughout this episode, there are ghosts from the past everywhere.

This episode starts with Henry’s progress taking him to Pontefract Castle in York, the only castle the rebels in the North had succeeded in taking over during the Pilgrimage of Grace.  They receive a warm welcome, which makes Henry very happy and he feels invigorated.  Unfortunately, for Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, the Northern progress is not such a happy one.  It is filled with moments of betrayal, unhappiness and regrets.  He is feeling haunted by his guilt for carrying out the King’s orders during the great rebellion against his own conscience.

The King sends for Catherine, intending to try again for another heir.  Catherine, for her part is already starting to make excuses not to sleep with Henry.  She can only think of seeing Thomas Culpepper and does so shortly after spending time with the King.  One cannot help but think this girl definitely pushes her luck in a most careless way!

Once again, the people of the North seek forgiveness from King Henry for their earlier transgressions and once again, the King benevolently forgives them.  The Lady Mary leads the cheering and happy crowd in a prayer.  It’s wonderful to see Henry recognizing Catherine of Aragon’s natural dignity and grace in Mary.  I think at this point, it almost gives him comfort.

The young and frivolous queen is also being haunted by her past as Francis Dereham comes to court, blackmailing her into giving him a position of favor.  She appoints him her private secretary and usher.

Later, at dinner, Catherine informs the King that she appointed a new private secretary and usher to her chambers.  Henry laughs it off, thinking it silly that she would need a secretary.

At the very same dinner, while toasting the young queen, Charles Brandon notices something is not quite right between her and the young Culpepper.  We see a bit of foreshadowing of what is to come!

Francis Dereham, for his part, doesn’t seem to care about the inherent dangers of his lewd behavior.  He saunters in, taunting Joan Bulmer about the past, kissing her as he leaves to find himself somewhere to sleep.  He’s rather slimy and I won’t be sad to see him go when his time is up!

The ghost of Lord Darcy pays the Duke of Suffolk a visit.  Charles asks forgiveness for his betrayal and receives none.  You feel so sorry for him, for it is so clear that he is a broken man.  His allegiance to his King above everything else has taken its toll on him.  It’s so sad to see him broken and crying!

One heartwarming spot in this episode is that Michael Hirst shows us the growing relationship between Elizabeth and her brother Edward.  She is helping him with his lessons and spending time helping to guide him.  She tells him how she would like him to be a just ruler and assures him he will be a great king.  It’s so sweet and touching, and also a very true part of history.  They did love eachother very much.

Paying Catherine a visit, Culpepper decides to confront her about Francis’ presence as her new usher.  Of course, she behaves indignantly, in order to defend herself, informing him that she has a “store of other lovers” besides him.  It seems to work, for Culpepper endeavors to keep his distance for a short while.

Unfortunately for the now very beleaguered queen, Francis is making scenes at meals, embarassing her in front of her other ladies and gentlemen of her chamber.  Lady Rochford questions Joan about his “familiar” ways and is not pleased to discover that it is a large part of his personality.  It’s pretty sickening what a giant ass this guy makes of himself and once again, I cannot help but be glad he will soon meet his end.

Elizabeth goes into Prince Edward’s chamber to kiss him goodnight and finds that he is dangerously ill.  She immediately calls for Lady Bryant who sends for Lord Hertford.  If Edward were to die, it could unseat the entire Tudor Dynasty.  The Earl of Hertford delays in sending for the King, hoping the Prince’s fever will soon break.  The poor little thing.  He looks so helpless in his big bed and all they can do is pray for his health to return.

Catherine decides she has been away from Culpepper for far too long and asks Lady Rochford to send a message to him, asking him to meet her.  When Culpepper finally meets with her, he makes her promise to get rid of Dereham.  She does so willingly, telling him once they reach London, she will dismiss him.

The Earl of Surrey continues to be a sort of anarchistic character, writing poetry, some of it rather eloquent, some of it rather insulting, often speaking to the Duke of Suffolk about the way the nobility SHOULD be, how the men of low and vile birth are ruining the realm.  It’s almost as if he is living continually in the past, wishing for something beyond his grasp.  While he is brash and cocky, he is also melancholy and pensive.  Strange combination, but I am hoping that in the scheme of things, Michael Hirst is going somewhere with it.  Nevertheless, he is interesting to watch.  🙂

King Henry awaits his visit from the King of Scotland, only to find that he is not coming.  To make matters worse, the Scots cause an upheaval,  killing all who oppose them and destroying everything in their path.  It infuriates Henry, makes him feel like an utter fool and he decides to send troops to teach them a lesson.  In the midst of this awful moment, a messenger is finally sent to inform the King of Prince Edward’s illness.  He races off to Windsor Castle immediately.  He is shattered to find his sweet boy so ill, but I am sure he was also terrified beyond reason for the Tudor Dynasty as well.  He stays with Edward, not leaving his side.  Edward’s fever finally breaks, much to the rejoicing of everyone.

The last scene of this episode shows Bishop Gardiner leading a mass, giving thanks to God for Catherine.  You then see a letter being placed on the seat next to where the King is standing!  How ironic that at the very moment Henry is showing his thanks and happiness to have Catherine for his wife, he is about to receive news that she is NOTHING that he thought she was!

Stay tuned for more on this season of The Tudors!!!

****All pictures for this post were found on the sites – Admiring Tamzin Merchant  – and Showtime’s Tudors Wiki (which has been SUPER helpful to me!) .

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