Setting: Summer 1540
The episode opens with the Imperial Ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, mopping his brow. It is an incredibly hot summer and has not rained in over two months. Chapuys is writing to the Emperor regarding the weather and the discomfort of the 500 people imprisoned for heresy. Chapuys writes of the King’s perversity, in that he executes both Lutherans and Catholics on the same day. He also writes that the King is secretly married to Catherine Howard.
The King visits Catherine Howard who is naked except for rose petals and a necklace.
The King introduces his bride, Catherine Howard, to the court and talks of their perfect love and their hope for a child. The Seymour brothers discuss the appearance of Henry Howard, the Earl of Surrey, at court. Charles Brandon and Chapuys comment on the absence of Thomas Boleyn, who died recently. The court toasts their new queen.
Brandon introduces the Earl of Surrey to the King and Queen. Chapuys talks to the French Ambassador, Marillac. Henry VIII speaks to Marillac about the death of the Dauphin. Marillac says that the French King proposes a marriage match between Princess Mary and his second son, Duke of Orleans. They also talk of the 17 year old Catherine Howard and Henry’s pride in marrying her.
Catherine asks her ladies to promise that they will dress in the French fashion. Lady Rochford brings Catherine a letter from Joan Bulmer who wants an appointment at court.
The Earl of Surrey talks to Brandon about his time in France. The Earl is not impressed by the “mean” men who are in the service of the King, men like the Seymours who want to destroy the nobility of England. Surrey hates them. Surrey’s ambitions are to surpass the achievements of his father and grandfather.
Henry is out hunting. Even though he hasn’t caught anything, he is happy because of his new wife. Brandon tells Henry that his wife, Catherine, no longer loves him. The King tells Edward Seymour that he wants the Earl of Surrey to be made cupbearer.
The Lady Mary visits Catherine Howard. Mary is not impressed with the new queen. Catherine tries to be friendly but Mary snubs her.
Joan Bulmer arrives and reminds Catherine of their past close friendship. She begs for a position. She reminds Catherine of when “you know who” used to come into their room and slip into bed. Catherine warns her to be careful what she says. Joan ‘blackmails’ her into making her one of her ladies.
France – Henry VIII is concerned about troubles in France. He sends Thomas Seymour and the Earl of Surrey to Calais to investigate and make a show of force.
A giggly Catherine is visited by Thomas Culpeper who comes from the King who wants to take her away on a visit and to settled Baynard’s Castle on her. The King also sends her jewellery. Catherine confides in Culpeper that she is not used to everyone looking at her. He says that they can’t help it.
Catherine puts on a rather sexy puppet show for the King. She then dances provocatively for the King in her nightgown. They make love.
Henry asks Edward Seymour who is presently imprisoned in the Tower. Seymour says Lord Grey who is charged with grave misconduct in Ireland, Lord Lisle who is charged with the same but in Calais, Sir John Neville who led the recent disturbance in the North and the Queen’s cousin, Lord Dacre, who, according to Wriothesley, is a young man who killed an old man in a brawl. Henry orders that the first three be executed and that Dacre should be hanged at Tyburn.
The Earl of Surrey visits Lady Hertford, Edward Seymour’s wife, looking for her husband. Surrey says he has heard about her, her “virtues” and her “talents”, and wants to get to know her. She flirts with him.
The King visits Catherine. He introduces her to Prince Edward and the Lady Elizabeth. Lady Bryan assures the King that Edward is being well looked after. Henry can’t seem to take his eyes off Elizabeth and gazes off into the distance as she leaves.
Lady Hertford talks to her husband about Surrey. He sees the merits in dealing with Surrey, an important man with royal blood.
Sir Richard Rich tells the King that Seymour and Surrey made a show of strength in France and made gifts to the French government. There was no talk of war, only peace. Henry is disappointed, he hungers for war.
Both Henry and Culpeper watch Queen Catherine dance. Back in the bedchamber, a naked Catherine tells the King that the Lady Mary does not treat her with respect. Henry asks her to give Mary time. Catherine tries to seduce Henry, but he is “tired”. He leaves her rather frustrated. Joan Bulmer climbs into bed with Catherine to talk about old times, about the men coming into their room and all “the puffing and blowing” that went on and how Catherine and “him” would kiss and “hang by their two bellies like sparrows”. Catherine comments that there was no harm in it because it was agreed that they would marry. Catherine warns Joan not to tell anyone of it and makes her swear on her honour that she will not speak of it. Joan strokes Catherine’s shoulder and blows on her skin and asks “Do you remember this?”. Catherine replies “I am Queen now. Do as I command” and they burst out laughing.
The men down in Sir William’s cellar are enjoying drinking and Culpeper talks of how wanton the queen is and how she is a “little fireball”. He says to Sir Richard Rich, “Tell me you can’t imagine her without her clothes on”. Rich warns him that Catherine belongs to the King. Culpeper is consumed with thoughts of Catherine.
Catherine watches Culpeper leave on horseback the next morning. Culpeper and his companions come across the wife of the park-keeper. Culpeper rapes the woman as his men hold her. As the men wash in the river, the park-keeper, Mr Roper, finds them and confronts them. He wants to take Culpeper to the sheriff but Culpeper tries to bribe him into silence. Roper refuses and so Culpeper kills him.
Lady Hertford invites Surrey to see her, so that they can be “friends”. They become “friendly”.
The King, Brandon, Hertford, Rich and Sir William men find Catherine and her ladies playing in some mud. The King finds it funny.
The King arrives back in London, The executions have all taken place. The King decides to pardon the 500 men imprisoned for heresy. He discusses the potential marriage match with France but does not trust King Francis. Henry says that hey must look to their coastal defences and favour the Emperor. He also talks of his intention to settle all lands and manors which belonged to Jane Seymour on his new queen, Catherine, and those once belonging to Thomas Cromwell.
Henry and Catherine are in bed when she hears the long awaited rain. Catherine dashes outside and dances in the rain in her nightgown, watched by the King and Culpeper.
- Elizabeth’s age – In 1540 she would be 7 not the 12/13 year old brought in to meet Catherine.
- Irish accent – When Henry VIII says “I’d hoped the French might oblige me this time”, the Irish accent of Jonathan Rhys Meyers shows through.
- Joan’s hair – Joan Bulmer has a modern bob hairstyle, whereas women in Tudor time would have had long hair.
- Joan and Catherine – Joan’s stroking of Catherine’s shoulder suggests some kind of sexual relationship or experimentation between them, there is no evidence of this.
- Henry’s appearance – In 1540, Henry VIII was aged 49 and in his late 40s had a waist measurement of 48 inches, which increased to 52 inches in his final years. He was a far cry from how he is portrayed in The Tudors Season 4.
- Charles Brandon and Catherine Willoughby – There is no evidence that Catherine feel out of love with her husband.
- The Dauphin – Henry VIII speaks of the death of the Dauphin, yet he died in 1536, not 1540.
- Arthur Plantagenet, 1st Viscount Lisle, was arrested in May 1540 on suspicion of treason but he was not executed and died of a heart attack in 1542 after being given news of his release.
- John Neville, 3rd Baron Latymer, was the second husband of Catherine Parr, and although he was somewhat involved in the Pilgrimage of Grace, he was not imprisoned by the King or executed. In fact, we see him die naturally later in the series.
- A match between Princess Mary and the Duke of Orleans, Francis I’s second son, was proposed in the 1520s, when Wolsey was alive, the Duke was married in 1540.
- Lady Hertford – There is no evidence that Anne Stanhope, Lady Hertford, cheated on her husband, although it was rumoured that his first wife, Catherine Filliol, slept with his father.
- Henry Howard, Earl Surrey – Surrey was only 23 years of age in 1540, not in his 40s, and he was not Catherine Howard’s uncle, he was her cousin.
- There was indeed a very hot summer and drought in 1540.
- Joan’s words to Catherine about “puffing and blowing” and “hanging like sparrows” were actually words spoken by Catherine Howard when she confessed to her former relationship with Sir Francis Dereham.
- A man named Thomas Culpeper did rape a woman and did kill a man who tried to bring him to justice. He escaped punishment when the King pardoned him. Although THE Thomas Culpeper’s brother was also named Thomas, it is thought that it was Catherine Howard’s Culpeper who committed the rape and murder and was pardoned of the crimes because of the fact that he was one of the King’s favourites.
- Lord Leonard Grey. Lord Deputy of Ireland, was in fact executed for treason on the 28th July 1541 for allegedly allowing the Earl of Kildare to escape to France.
The Tudors Jewellery
In this episode, Catherine Howard wears the Catherine Howard Pearl Crystal Set, the Catherine Howard Gemstone Brooch and the Catherine Howard Silver Locket.
Mary wears the Anne Boleyn Pearl Cross Necklace.
Elizabeth wears the Princess Elizabeth Peach Quartz set.