The Tudors Season 1 Episode 3 – Wolsey, Wolsey, Wolsey!

Setting: 1521

The episode opens with a rehearsal of the Chateau Vert pageant, organised by Master Cornysh, which appears to be a complete disaster.

The King tells Charles Brandon that he wants him to escort his sister, the Princess Margaret, and her dowry to Lisbon because she is going to marry the King of Portugal. Brandon is betrothed to Lady Elizabeth Grey, daughter of the Marquis of Dorset. Brandon points out that he is not important enough to give away Margaret on the King’s behalf so Henry tells him that he is making him Duke of Suffolk.

Thomas More meets the Imperial envoys, Chapuys and Mendoza. More advises them that the only way to get the ear of the king is through the ear of Cardinal Wolsey. More tells them that the King is writing a pamphlet against what Luther is teaching and defending the Papacy and the Catholic faith. They arrive at Hampton Court Palace. Wolsey says that he wants to form a treaty which will bind the Emperor and Henry VIII in “perpetual friendship”. Wolsey proposes a marriage match between Princess Mary and the Emperor. Chapuys tells Wolsey that the Emperor wants to bestow on him a very generous pension and support his ambitions to become Pope.

Framlingham Castle – The Duke of Norfolk and Thomas Boleyn discuss putting Anne Boleyn before the King. Boleyn assures Norfolk that Anne will find a way to get the King’s attention. Norfolk wants Anne to denounce Wolsey.

Wolsey, More and the imperial envoys watch the pageant. More explains that the ladies in white are the Graces and that they are imprisoned in the castle by danger, unkindness, scorn, jealousy, disdain etc. He points out the King’s sister, Princess Margaret. The men who come in, led by Ardent Desire, represent youth, devotion, loyalty, pleasure, gentleness, liberty etc. and the King is hid amongst them. The men attack the castle. The King, Honesty, climbs up the tower to his sister and Anne Boleyn (Perseverance) at the top, his eyes meet Anne’s. The King says, “Perseverance, you are my prisoner now”. Anne disappears and Henry escorts his sister form the Tower. The players are unmasked. Henry can’t keep his eyes off Anne Boleyn. Princess Margaret pleads with her brother not to make her marry the King of Portugal, an old man. Henry ends up dancing with Anne and Margaret with Brandon. Thomas Boleyn pays Master Cornish.

Brandon visits Princess Margaret. She tells him who she will be taking to Portugal. She looks down on him as he does not have royal blood, “even Norfolk would have been better.”

Catherine of Aragon receives the envoys from Spain. She welcomes them but whispers to them to be aware of the Cardinal. The King then receives them, telling them that they can trust everything Wolsey says because he speaks for the King.

Wolsey and the King discuss the Emperor’s plans against the French. Henry tells him to prepare their forces for a joint invasion and to order another warship. He wants the greatest navy. Henry fires a gun at a target. Henry then speaks to Sir Thomas Boleyn. He makes him a Knight of the Garter and Comptroller of his household. Henry mentions Anne and Boleyn tells him that she is soon coming to court to act as a lady-in-waiting to the Queen.

Hever Castle, Boleyn Family Home – Thomas Wyatt is reciting love poetry to Anne Boleyn. Wyatt attempts to kiss Anne but she tells him he has no claim on her. He is married. Anne tells him not to ask to see her again and to never speak of her to others.

Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII dine together. Henry tells her that the treaty is agreed between England and Catherine’s nephew, the emperor. Catherine tells Henry about her dream, how Henry held her in his arms and told her everything would be ok. She assures him that she never consummated her marriage to his brother, Arthur. She tells him that she loves him. He kisses her forehead and leaves.

Little Princess Mary visits Catherine to say good night. Catherine hopes that the King will visit her bedchamber that night. Meanwhile, Henry sleeps with a lady from court.

Wolsey is massaged, or rather pummelled, by his mistress. She is worried that his job will kill him.

The Queen’s new ladies arrive at court. Anne Boleyn is one of them.

Thomas More reads Henry’s work, his defence of the Catholic faith. More advises him to tone it down for diplomatic purposes but Henry says no. Henry is going to dedicate a copy to the Pope and asks More to take it to him in Rome because he could never have written it without More’s guidance and honesty. He gives More a knighthood. He asks More to seize all copies of Luther’s work and burn them.

Wolsey reads a letter from France. King Francis has heard of England’s negotiations with the Emperor and feels betrayed. he is making threats.

St Paul’s Cross, London – Heretic books are burned by Sir Thomas More.

Visit of Charles, Holy Roman Emperor – Henry VIII welcomes him warmly. Wolsey meets with Mr Pace, the King’s secretary, and accuses him of acting as a spy for the French. He removes him from all his positions and accuses him of treason.

Henry shows Charles his flagship, The Mary Rose, and says that together they will be invincible. Charles jokes about his chin.

Traitors’ Gate, Tower of London – Pace is take to the Tower of London. He protests his innocence.

Henry takes Charles to see Catherine, his aunt. Henry gazes at Anne Boleyn. Catherine gives Charles her blessing and presents her daughter, Mary, his future bride to him. Mary gives him some horses as a present. Charles invites Henry and Catherine to visit him and to see the treasures of Montezumo, King of the Aztec, which Cortés discovered in Mexico. Catherine notices Henry looking at Anne Boleyn. Thomas Boleyn orders Anne to put herself in the King’s way. Charles and Henry discuss putting an end to King Francis I and making Henry King of France. Charles invites little Mary to dance with him and Princess Margaret takes the opportunity to speak to her brother, the King, about his marriage plans for her. She makes Henry promise that if she agrees to marry the King of Portugal that when he is dead she can marry who she likes.

Henry comes across Anne Boleyn. Catherine talks to Charles, she tells him that she thinks Henry may want to divorce her. Charles reassures her.

Henry’s dream – He is chasing Anne in a large hall. She hides behind a pillar and then runs into a room. He wants her but she pushes him away, “No, not like this”. She then appears behind him, “seduce me, write letters to me and poems… ravish me with your words, seduce me…” She slams the door on him. He opens the door and she is stood there, naked. Henry wakes up.

Cardinal Wolsey brings the treaty to Charles and Henry. They sign it. Charles tells Catherine that she can always depend on him. Henry asks Wolsey where Mr Pace is. Wolsey tells him that Pace was being paid a pension by the French. Norfolk asks Boleyn how their affairs are proceeding. Boleyn tells Norfolk that the King keeps glancing at Anne. Boleyn thinks it would be good to involved Suffolk in their plans.

Mr Hayes, the jeweller, shows Henry the jewellery he had made for him.

Pace is in his prison cell, there are rats everywhere. He screams “It was Wolsey, not me!” as he bangs on the door.

Inaccuracies

  • Richard Pace was the King’s secretary but there is no evidence that Wolsey tried to incriminate him and get him imprisoned in the Tower of London. In 1519 he was made dean of St Paul’s and held that office until his death in 1536.
  • Henry VIII had two sisters, Margaret and Mary. The Margaret character in The Tudors is an amalgamation of the two sisters but is closer to Mary.
  • Timing – The timing of Mary Tudor’s marriage is wrong. She was sent to France in 1514 and it is there that she first came across Anne Boleyn, who served her there. Also, Anne Boleyn did not come to the English court until early 1522.
  • Princess Margaret is played by Gabrielle Anwar who was 37 when the episode was aired, yet Princess Mary Tudor was only 18 when she was sent to France to marry.
  • Charles Brandon was made Duke of Suffolk in 1514, not 1521. In 1513, he was contracted to marry his ward, Elizabeth Grey, when she came of age, but married Mary Tudor, Queen of France, in 1515. By 1521, the setting of this episode, he had been married to Mary Tudor for 6 years and had three children by her.
  • Princess Mary Tudor did not marry the King of Portugal. She was sent to France in October 1514 to marry King Louis XII of France who died just a few months later, in January 1515.
  • Brandon was not sent to escort Mary to Portugal (or even France), he was sent to bring her home after the death of King Louis XII of France, her husband.
  • There is no evidence that Anne Boleyn and Wyatt had a relationship, although it does seem that Wyatt was in love with Anne.
  • Thomas Boleyn was indeed made a Knight of the Garter, but in 1523 not 1521. He was also Comptroller of the Household from 1516-1521.

Trivia

  • William Cornysh was an English composer, poet, dramatist and actor. He worked at court as Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal and was responsible for the musical and dramatic entertainments at court and at events like the Field of the Cloth of Gold.
  • The poem that Thomas Wyatt recites to Anne is actually a real poem by Thomas Wyatt: “And Wilt Thou Leave me Thus?”
  • Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, had the famous jutting out Hapsburg chin.
  • Cornelius Hayes was the Royal jeweller.
  • Anne Boleyn did play Perseverance at the Chateau Vert pageant at Shrovetide 1522. Other women involved include Mary Tudor, Queen of France, Mary Boleyn and Jane Boleyn (née Parker).

The Tudors Jewellery

Worn in this episode:-

One Response to “The Tudors Season 1 Episode 3 – Wolsey, Wolsey, Wolsey!”

  1. Bandit Queen says:

    I agree, this was an episode in which Brandon and Margaret/Mary are meant to be away for six months or so, and yet something like at least six or seven years events are cobbled together in this one episode. The Tudors gets its time line more or less correct from season 2 onwards, but season one it was all over the place. In the next 2 episodes, the divorce rushes head along, the King has two accidents, one with the wrong person, Anne becomes his mistress and the kingdom is going downhill, and again historically Charles Brandon and Mary have only been away for about eight months! Talk about a lot happening. However, you are not correct on one point: Charles did escort Mary to France, with the Duke or Norfolk and he paid court to the King and new Queen at their wedding and coronation. Louis was old but the wedding celebrations still went ahead and Charles was one of the embassy there. He also took part in jousting and won and he came back to report the settling in of the Princess Mary in France. He was sent back a second time when Mary was widowed and paid his respects at Cluny, outside of Paris. He was also meant to pay court to Francis but he had to seek his help after he married Mary instead.

    [Reply]

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