Setting: 1521

Henry VIII bids farewell to his sister, Princess Margaret, and her escort, Charles Brandon. An upset Margaret asks Henry to remember his promise to her, that she would be free to marry a man of her choice after the death of the King of Portugal. Henry asks Brandon to take care of his sister, Brandon promises to treat her as his sister. Prayers are said for Margaret’s journey.

Thomas More reports that the Pope saw Henry as a champion of the Church and that he was honouring him with the title of “Fidei defensor”, Defender of the Faith, for writing the pamphlet against Luther. Luther had also responded to Henry’s work, accusing Henry of “raving like a strumpet in a tantrum” and saying that he would have no qualms in “stuffing such impudent falsehoods down his throat”. Henry is furious and says that Luther should be burned.

Margaret boards the ship with Brandon showing her to her cabin.

Henry and Catherine of Aragon take communion. Anne Boleyn is there and Henry looks at her.

Lady Anne Clifford visits Henry. Henry jumps up when he hears “Lady Anne” announced and is disappointed when it is not Anne Boleyn. She brings him a letter and a package. Henry unwraps the package to find the jewels that Master Hayes made for him. The letter is from Anne Boleyn who is returning the jewels he sent her, saying that she is too unworthy to receive them and that she gave him no cause to give them to her. As he reads the letter, Anne is returning to her family home, Hever Castle.

Tower of London – Mr Pace is told that he is to be released, but he has gone mad. He talks of speaking to his dead wife.

Cardinal Wolsey talks to Thomas Cromwell. He tells him that he is impressed with his work and may have a proposition for him.

Wolsey goes to see the King. He tells Henry that they will be obliged to raise taxes to pay for the war with France. He also tells him that the new warship is commissioned at Portsmouth. Henry is not really paying attention, he is obviously thinking of Anne Boleyn. Wolsey goes on to say that Princess Marguerite of Navarre is at court and that she very much admires the King. He also asks the King if he can appoint a new secretary to replace Mr Pace, the King agrees.

The ship to Portugal – Margaret watches Brandon play cards through a crack in the wall. When one of the men says “My King has your Queen”, Brandon replies cheekily, “I was rather hoping that the knave would get the Queen” and he looks over at the wall which Margaret is hiding behind.

Wolsey introduces Princess Marguerite of Navarre to the King. They flirt with each other.

Thomas Boleyn tells Norfolk that Wolsey has just appointed the successor of the Bishop of Winchester, the richest parish in the land, and that he appointed himself. He goes on to say that Wolsey has been using the King’s money to invest in his new college at Oxford and his own foundation. Apparently, he closes down the worst monasteries, strips them of their assets and makes the profits disappear. Boleyn says that they must pick their time to tell the King because of Wolsey’s hold over the King. They have to wait for the right time, when the King is doubting Wolsey.

The King greets Thomas More and tries to convince him to stay at court. More wants to remain with his family. When Anthony Knyvert comments to More on how much the King loves him, More says “That may be true, and yet if my head were to win him a castle in Spain, I think he would cut it off.”

The King speaks with Thomas Wyatt. He likes his poems. He then asks him if he was in love with Anne Boleyn because Wolsey has told him that they were once engaged, Wyatt denies the engagement but comments that Anne is so beautiful that it is the duty of every man to love her. He goes on to say that he loved her from a distance and that he already has a wife.

Thomas Tallis is approached by two ladies who ask him to go back to their room. He replies that he wants to finish his song.

The King asks William Compton what he thinks of Princess Marguerite of Navarre. Compton replies that she is “well built” and a bit heavy “on the top deck” for his taste. The King sleeps with her.

Princess Margaret watches Brandon take his shirt off through the crack in the wall.

A messenger arrives from the Emperor. He tells Henry that the Emperor won a great victory against the French at the Battle of Pavia and that the French king was captured.

Joust – Catherine talks to the messenger and secretly gives him a letter to take to the Emperor.

Hever Castle – Anne Boleyn reads out the King’s letter to her brother. The King is distressed that she would not accept the brooches he sent her and wants to meet her in private. He has sent her a necklace to wear and begs her to come back to court.

Joust – Boleyn tells Norfolk that he will bring Anne back to court soon because the King’s appetite has been “whetted”. The King jousts against Anthony Knyvert but forgets to put his visor down. Knyvert’s lance strikes him in the face. Everyone is relieved that it has missed his eye. Henry gets up and assures Catherine that he is ok and will ride again to prove to everyone that he is unharmed. He rides against Knyvert again. Knyvert is badly injured.

Princess Margaret calls Brandon to her. She invites him to play cards. He teases her about her upcoming marriage. She dismisses her ladies. They kiss and then have sex.

Henry tells Wolsey to send a message to the Emperor regarding his happiness at the news of his victory at Pavia. Henry wants to know what the Emperor will do with King Francis and wants him to know that England has gold and ships at his disposal and are eager to do battle. Wolsey introduces Cromwell to the King. Anne Boleyn is back at court and Henry asks to see her privately. He then greets his daughter, Mary, and Catherine. Catherine asks him why Wolsey opens her letters, the King says he will stop it and that Wolsey is sometimes too zealous. The King watches Anne Boleyn. Anthony Knyvert arrives. The King comments that he nearly lost an eye and Knyvert replies that he never used that one much anyway. The King knights him. He then knights William Compton.

A man calls the Pope a sinner and hypocrite, “the living Anti-Christ on Earth”, talking of Luther’s teachings. Thomas Cromwell is present and says “Hallelujah”, nodding.

Anne Boleyn meets Henry VIII. He tells her that he desires her with all his heart.

He grabs her by the throat and asks her about the man she was talking to earlier. Anne tells him that it was her brother, George. They kiss passionately and then Anne leaves as they hear voices, it is Knyvert and Compton.

Margaret arrives in Portugal. The old King limps towards her. Margaret whispers “save me!” and curtseys. He speaks to her in Portuguese, telling her that they will make many children. Margaret is horrified and faints.

Henry watches Anne Boleyn dance. Catherine watches him. Anne catches his eye and smiles.

Margaret marries the King of Portugal. Brandon gives her away. She is crying.

Henry writes a love letter to Anne Boleyn. He can’t sleep or breathe for thinking of her. He would sacrifice a kingdom for an hour in her arms. He begs her to meet him so he can show her his affection. Anne reads it and her father takes it from her, commenting that the King is now her “servant” but that with “subtle care and the lure of her flesh” he can become something even closer.

Margaret goes to bed with her new husband. Their lovemaking receives applause!

Henry VIII attempts to vault a ditch. He lands head first in the ditch, his legs waggling. He has to be rescued. Back at the palace a physician is called to attend on the king who is in pain.

Brandon seeks permission from the King of Portugal to dance with Margaret. They dance. Brandon tells her he is leaving tomorrow. He teases her. She accuses him of loving her.

The physicians want to bleed Henry. He allows them to. He recovers but he starts to think about his life and the lack of a male heir. He tells this to Wolsey. He feels that God has punished him for marrying his brother’s wife. He wants a divorce and expects Wolsey to get one for him.

Margaret smothers her husband, the King of Portugal, to death with a pillow.


  • The character of Princess Margaret – She is a weird amalgamation of Henry VIII’s sisters, Margaret and Mary.
  • The marriage of Margaret to the King of Portugal – Margaret Tudor married James IV of Scotland in 1503 and Mary married Louis XII of France in 1514.
  • Mary Tudor, Queen of France, was only 18 when she married the King of France, whereas the actress Gabrielle Anwar is in her thirties. Charles Brandon was 31 when he married Mary.
  • Mary did not murder the King of France (or Portugal!), he died of natural causes.
  • Costumes and hairstyles – The costumes in The Tudors are not accurate to the period and also married women did not wear their hair loose, it was worn up and covered.
  • Thomas Tallis leading the choir – Thomas Tallis did work at the Chapel Royal until 1543
  • Marguerite of Navarre – There is absolutely no evidence that Marguerite of Navarre slept with Henry, that is complete fiction! At the time she was married to Charles IV of Alençon.
  • Jousting accident – Henry VIII did have a jousting accident (in March 1524) and had a lucky escape when he was hit above the eye but it was the Duke of Suffolk he was jousting against.
  • Knyvert – Anthony Knyvert did not exist, he is a fictional character.
  • Out of synch timing – Events are all over the place in this episode: Mary went to France to marry in 1514, Henry pursued Anne in the mid to late 1520s, the Battle of Pavia was in 1525 etc.
  • There is no evidence that Richard Pace was imprisoned or that he went mad. He was Dean of St Paul’s from 1519-1536.


  • Luther did indeed accuse Henry VIII of “raving like a strumpet in a tantrum” and talked of “stuffing such impudent falsehoods down his throat”. Those are Luther’s actual words.
  • Regarding the comment that Thomas More makes in this episode, “yet if my head were to win him a castle in Spain, I think he would cut it off”, it is very close to More’s real words: “I have no cause to be proud thereof, for if my head could win him a castle in France it should not fail to go”.
  • Henry VIII did actually attempt to pole vault a ditch in 1525 and did land head first in some mud. A footman had to rescue him before he drowned.
  • Henry VIII wrote 17 love letters to Anne Boleyn.
  • Henry VIII did write a pamphlet defending the Catholic Faith and attacking Luther, Assertio Septem Sacramentorum, which was published in 1521. He was rewarded with the title of Defender of the Faith in October 1521.

The Tudors Jewellery and Costume

In this episode the following items were worn:-

13 thoughts on “The Tudors Season 1 Episode 4 – His Majesty the King”

  1. Louise says:

    On the inaccuracies, Henry had to ask Anne who George was. In reality Henry had first met George in 1514 when George was about 10 years old, and George became his pageboy shortly afterwards. George was therefore well known to the King long before either Mary or Anne Boleyn went to court. Grrrr

    1. Claire says:

      That’s true!

  2. Jennifer says:

    Ooo I love the Trivia on this one!!! It’s interesting reading that some of the things I thought were just Showtime scripts…actually were said or done! Who knew that it was true that King Henry went head first into the mud. I’ve watched the bloopers of that scene, btw and it’s kind of funny because “the mud” he coughs up is like some chocolatey mixture that’s really thick and some lady keeps having to feed it to Jonathan Rhys Meyers. I wouldn’t mind that job actually. haha…

    1. Claire says:

      I’m glad that it was some kind of chocolately stuff and not mud. What a job, feeding JRM fake mud!

  3. Suzi says:

    Thank you for doing this! You just have to kinda wonder why the writers/producers of the Tudors made up new stories/changed dates/etc. (The Mary/Margaret one is weird to me) Don’t you think it would be easier just to follow the actual time line of what happened? Could you give a couple examples how their costumes aren’t accurate?

  4. Fran says:

    In the complete DVD set, they have the bloopers, including the assistant who feeds JRM “mud.” It looked like Weetabix and chocolate milk. 🙂

  5. lisaannejane says:

    The “bloopers” have been on You Tube for a long time. It really is funny watching that lady spoon feeding JRM the chocolate pudding. They even have the final season one up.

  6. Edie says:

    I think of all the inaccuracies, “Princess Margarite” is the MOST annoying! Nothing against the actress but I think they could have found a younger woman to at LEAST get her somewhat closer in age to the actual Princess Mary. And “Margarite” with BARE ARMS at court?!? WHY??!!!

  7. Evelyn says:

    Inaccurate or not, I love this episode.
    I do agree about the whole confusion-thing, you know, the Margaret/Mary – Portuguese/France-thing, but… the rest… I mean, at first I agreed about the actress playing Margaret being too old, but in this episode… it really didn’t matter.
    Actually, she’s a great actress and the Charles/Margaret scenes are very capturing, very intense, and if I may – arousing.
    I am also well aware of the fact that the clothes may not be so accurate, either, still you’ll have to agree with me – most of the clothes are so beautiful, it doesn’t matter!
    If I may be honest, I think the clothes – bare or NO bare shoulders – did fit into the scene, perfectly. I mean, did you see that dance? The dance between Charles and Margaret?
    That scene wouldn’t be the same with different clothes, the red/gold combination on Margaret and the brown/gold were just PERFECT!
    And the other dance – the Anne Boleyn dance. The dress she’s wearing may be a little… Early, I do agree on this fact. But it is a beautiful gown and it is a beautiful scene with beautiful music, so why complain?

    Now, if I should say EVERYTHING I think about this episode, I WILL probably be up all night long, writing which will turn this whole thing into – more or less – the Bible.
    So I only have one question.
    In the Charles/Margaret dance at the portuguese court, what song is playing? Because I’ve been looking ALL AROUND and I just CAN NOT FIND IT!

  8. Leandra says:

    I know how irritating the costume inaccuracies are. But when Hirst and others on the production line explained that you can not have viewers focused on how weird the cast
    ‘s costume and attire is,in order to tell the story how they want to. One thing to keep in mind is that this show is not a documentary,even though its based on history, its a night time soap opera basically and they are going for ratings. I think if it was a movie they could have gotten away with more accuracy,but as a series its very important to keep people watching. But even in movies like “the Other Boleyn Girl”,where the costume is much more accurate they still have to follow this code of not having viewers focused on how weird or ugly the casts’ attire is. No cod pieces. Tudor sleeves not dead on..

  9. Rhiannon Buckley says:

    Anthony Knivert is based on Sir Thomas knyvett 1485-1512

    1. Claire says:

      Yes, I suspect that the character was probably an amalgamation of both Thomas and Anthony Knyvett who both served Henry VIII and who were both favourites.

  10. Banditqueen says:

    Apart from all the rest of the inaccuracies the portrayal of the Godly Marguerite of Navarre really annoyed me. The woman was shown practically hanging out of her dress and Henry slept with her just to annoy her brother, King Francis. Did he want another war perhaps? Then the unconvincing sex noises, that really annoyed me. I don’t believe Margaret of Navarre actually came to England and if she did, it would have been on a diplomatic visit which would hardly result in her jumping into bed with King Henry. She was a very influential, intelligent, circumspect and pious lady who refused to receive Anne when she came to France with Henry in 1532 because they were not married and he had left the true Queen in England. Such a lady, a married lady to boot, would hardly risk her reputation by sleeping with the English King.

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