Episode Summary: We’re back in divorce court. Cardinal Wolsey calls upon Anthony Willoby who, instead of giving good evidence against Queen Catherine, makes a bunch of crude jokes. Wolsey claims to have possession of the blood stained wedding sheets. (Gross. It still amazes me this was an culturally accepted thing to do.)
Wolsey approaches Catherine and asks a private word, she refuses. She shames Wolsey in front of her ladies and Thomas Cromwell. Catherine tells Wolsey that even if the king hates her, she will successfully ruin him by prolonging the divorce.
King Henry and Lady Anne Boleyn enter the royal court together. Anne is wearing an elaborate new headpiece. (Anne is clearly not too worried about the divorce proceedings.) Henry tells Anne that Wolsey has promised the divorce will be final by summer, but she does not believe it.
Princess Margaret can’t sleep. She tells her husband, Charles Brandon, she refuses to attend the court ceremonies because she hates Anne Boleyn. Margaret and Charles share a tender moment before Margaret leaves and begins to cough up blood. (Yikes. Things are not looking good for Margaret.)
Catherine has her council, Bishop Fisher, make a statement in court. Fisher makes some very controversial comparisons between the Bible and the king. He also outright condemns adultery. (Watch out Bishop Fisher! Publically declaring the king a sinner is a golden ticket to the scaffold.)
France and Rome have stopped their advances on Spain. Wolsey is worried because if the Spanish Emperor and the Pope become friendly, the divorce will never be granted. He wants Thomas More to stop this friendship from happening.
Catherine and Henry are having dinner. She tries again to persuade him to call off the divorce, and convince him that she is truly his wife. Henry yells at her that her virginity is not the point. He then goes to Anne, who in turn yells at him and leaves court. (I love this scene. We begin Henry getting more frustrated with his lack of power. Both of the women in his life are defying him. As Anne walks out, he screams at her, “I’m king of England!” It’s basically the same thing he “yells” at the Pope in the next couple episodes.)
Henry talks to Cardinal Compeggio about why the Lutherans are gaining power. What he’s really telling him is what will happen if the Pope denies the divorce. (Compeggio seems shocked by the idea that Henry would separate from the Catholic Church. He should have listened to Wolsey…)
To calm his nerves, Henry plays Greensleeves. (See more about this in this week’s Jen Says.)
Judgment day has arrived. (Drum roll please!) Compeggio announces that no decision can be made without Rome’s guidance. They must wait until October 1st when the Roman council is back in session. Henry quietly gets up and exits. (Amazing! Rome is clearly calling Henry’s bluff. The Pope is either not bothered by Henry’s threats or is being influenced by someone else. It is equally amazing that instead of throwing a royal fit, Henry calmly walks out.)
Catherine meets with Ambassador Mendoza. He is leaving to return to Spain. Catherine gives him one of her jewels for being so loyal and helpful to her cause. (The day is a bittersweet victory for Catherine. While she wins in court, but loses a close ally.)
Wolsey is desperate. He asks Cromwell to tell the king he is giving him a bunch of money. He asks Cromwell to promote his interests to the king. Cromwell promises to help Wolsey as he “owes him his life”. (Red flag! We’ve seen Thomas Cromwell at secret Lutheran meetings. How can he promise to promote this Catholic Cardinal’s cause?)
Henry is sick of being under Rome’s rule. Anne tells him about a book she has that says the king should have absolute authority. Henry reads the book and is changed forever. (Anne plays her cards well in this scene. She asks for permission to speak plainly, and permission to show Henry the book. By letting Henry believe he has the power, Anne gets him to do what she wants.)
While Charles sleeps with a mistress, Margaret is dying. Charles then has to approach Henry and tell him the news that Margaret is dead. Henry is shocked having never been told of her illness. (I have mixed feelings about this. While I’m upset that Margaret is dead and disgusted that Charles treated her so poorly, Charles is one of my favorite characters and simply cannot be tied down.)
Henry doesn’t attend the funeral. We learn from a child’s father that the king never attends funerals because it would be treason to think about the king being dead.
Charles says goodbye to Margaret, and apologizes for being unfaithful.
More has returned with bad news for Wolsey. He arrived at the council between France, Spain, and Rome a week late, and was not able to get into any of the main discussions. The countries have reconciled with each other and the Pope. There is now no chance of the Pope granting Henry’s divorce. Wolsey blames More for his destructions.
Wolsey and Compeggio arrive at one of the king’s homes. While Compeggio is shown the usual courtesies, Wolsey is completely neglected. When he finally sees Henry, he is treated like a dear friend. Henry tells him the court is full of liars and to be unafraid.
The next day Henry is on his way to ride out with Anne. Wolsey comes out to speak with the king before they leave and is held back by the guards. He screams at Henry as he rides away, but is ignored. (I always smile when I watch this. Bye bye Wolsey!)
Catherine meets with the new Spanish ambassador Chapuys. He asks if he should show his credential to Wolsey. She informs him with a smile on her face that Wolsey has been undone. She tells him to show his credentials to the Duke of Norfolk who is also her mortal enemy. (Wolsey may be gone, but things are not going to get easier for Catherine.)
The Duke of Norfolk and Charles Brandon arrive to arrest Wolsey and take away all of his processions. On his way out, the court mocks Wolsey.
Wolsey writes to Cromwell asking him to come to his aid. Cromwell destroys the letter.
Henry goes on a walk with More. He asks More to be his new chancellor but More refuses. Henry then commands it, assuring More that he can serve him while keeping his morals. He tells More to look to God first and then to him. More agrees. (HA! What a load of lies Henry. The only thing more dangerous than being Henry VIII’s wife is being his chancellor.)
Jen Says: I love that the writers chose to have Henry composing Greensleeves in this episode. It’s a song most of us are very familiar with (if not with the original lyrics, than the Christmas adaptation What Child Is This?). It is widely believed that Henry VIII is the composer of the song, and is written about Lady Anne Boleyn. While I wish this story were true, the song was actually composed during the Elizabethan era. I would like to note that during this time the color green was seen to be very sexual and promiscuous in nature, so the song is still very fitting for Lady Anne.
Watch The King’s Singers sing Greensleeves at Royal Albert Hall below: