The Tudors Finale – Death of a Monarchy

Apr4,2011 #The Tudors

Jonathan Rhys MeyersBBC 2 aired the final “The Tudors” episode on Saturday night in the UK and I must admit to being very moved watching it. I thoroughly enjoyed it and breathed a satisfied sigh as the credits rolled, I felt that it was a fitting end to the series.

I know that it has its inaccuracies and I will miss shouting at the TV and nudging my poor husband and saying “that didn’t happen in real life”, but it was a great way to spend a Saturday night and I’m now going to have to rewatch the whole 4 series over again to get my “fix”.

Anyway, I have written an episode guide to “Death of a Monarchy”, the final episode – see The Tudors Season 4 Episode 10 – which includes my usual synopsis, list of inaccuracies and trivia. I found the use of symbolism wonderful in this episode and you can find out all about that in my guide.

Do let me know if I have missed out anything else. So far, I have done a few Season 1 episode guides and a few Season 4, I will get round to doing them all, I promise. See

What was your favourite bit in this final episode and what do you think Henry was going to say to the ghost of Anne Boleyn, “Anne, please don’t…”? Let me know your thoughts.

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46 thoughts on “The Tudors Finale – Death of a Monarchy”
  1. They only finished airing it there now? I thought it waslong finished. I was wondering,whey we never got Season 4 out yet, but it’s out in the states. RTE2 (Ireland) had aired it months ago already and I was lookingfor when it would finally be out on DVD…

  2. The final episode was fantastic.My favourite bit was when Henry was talking to Anne Boleyn’s ghost, I think he was going to say “Anne, please don’t leave” or something along those lines.

    1. Oh I definitely agree I think he was gonna say “Anne please don’t go”. It gave me chills to here Henry talk about Elizabeth and how he wished he could love her more. The final episode was great I loved it!! If you look back on scenes of Henry and Elizabeth just the way he looked at his daughter said more than any words could. Jonathan Rhys- Myers was amazing as Henry and definitely showed his brilliance as an actor in this series as did so many other of the cast. I only wish Tazmin Merchant would have made an appearance.

  3. Was it a bit rushed at the end?
    Such a pity to leave it there, there is so much more with his children and their time in the throne. The fiction V history was a little confusing but great TV.

    1. I agree with you!! I felt like they could have done so much more with the children and their reign!! I almost wish they had just so people could discover more about the Tudor time period. Even though their reigns might not have been “sexy,” doesn’t mean that there wasn’t important things that could be touched on. And knowing Showtime…they could have made some stuff up to be sexy and TV worthy! 🙂

    2. The problem is they wrote out one of Henry’s sisters, and the other one died childless. So that leaves out Mary Queen of Scots and Lady Jane Grey.

      On the same note, I think they maybe could’ve started the series earlier in the period during Heny VII”s reign.

  4. Ugh…it made me super sad when the last episode aired. My brother in law was watching the ending of it a couple of weeks ago on Showtime On Demand. I came in right when he was having the sequence of “seeing his life flash before his eyes.” Made me wanna watch the whole series over again. I thought they presented the last episode with lots of great imagery and symbolism. I like how they didn’t show Henry actually die. It made you think of him leaving the great hall after seeing his portrait and just going back to maybe sitting down–thinking about his life. You didn’t see the sick Henry that you were expecting. I loved how they “brought” back the first three wives. And I DEFINITELY thought that Henry was going to say “Anne, please don’t go…..” I liked it even though we know it didn’t happen (duh!) and the fact that I’m sure he probably would have not wanted to see Anne’s ghost…but it makes you feel like he did and having been tied to the series…makes one feel good inside. For my mind, it’s just impossible not to forget the passion they had for each other that was shown in the series. And the thought that he just ignored her memory bothers me…of course since the Tudors is fiction and dramatic…it fills my historical fantasy fix on things that could have happened…but didn’t. I didn’t like that Charles Brandon was estranged from his wife in the last season…and I hated that they didn’t even bring back the same actress during his funeral scene!! It’s almost like the creators wanted some sort of sexy ending for Charles…and couldn’t leave him be. I think it’s sexy that he “calmed” down in the 2nd/3rd season and was committed to his wife!! I definitely enjoyed The Tudors…and while I know that it’s not historically accurate, I loved every minute of it. It was and still is, addicting to me. I think what I loved most about it was that I started watching the first season in 2008 after borrowing it from my now sister in law. I had just read The Other Boleyn Girl and not to sound stupid, but I didn’t put two and two together that they were “related” historically. Once I made that connection, I was super excited and hooked. I guess you could say the series has been with me since my discovery of the Tudor time period and led me to do so much research and learning and definitely contributed to a renewed passion for History…it was hard to see it end. But I can always can watch the DVDs 🙂 And…side note: Anyone watch The Borgias last night????

    1. “The Tudors” may not have been 100% accurate and enraged purists like David Starkey, but it was (in my opinion) at least 80% accurate and great entertainment.
      More to the point it reignited, or started, an interest in this period of history with many, many, people like yourself and that can only be a good thing. I will miss it and wish it had continued to its logical conclusion at the end of the Elizabethan age, it was, after all, called The Tudors, not Henry VIII. Haven’t seen “The Borgias” yet (It’s on satellite soon), but do remember the original series shown in the early 80’s on the B.B.C. The critics hated that (much like they did “The Tudors”!), but I must admit I thought it was good entertainment. Then again, my knowledge of Italian history in the 15th and 16th centuries isn’t that great, so the critics might have had a point. Will view it when shown, if only to temper withdrawal symptoms now that The Tudors are no longer with us!

  5. I found the final episode very moving, I loved the imagery with the horse and death on the back of it. I found the part with Jane Seymour’s ghost particularly moving. I thought the ending was disappointing, they could have done more with each of his children’s reigns than just summarising them in a few short sentences. Hopefully people will be interested enough to find out more about the reigns of Edward, Mary and Elizabeth. I’ve just finished reading Linda Porter’s biography of Mary and I would highly recommend it.

  6. The ending was perfect. I’ve seen the last episode four times and it makes me cry every time. I think Henry was trying to say: ”Anne, please don’t hate me”.

    1. I have never thought that Henry wanted to say “Please, don’t hate me”, but it makes perfect sense..

  7. I liked the last episode it was very moving, well the whole season and series was good I thought 🙂 . I liked the “Dream scene” at the end 🙂 . The white horse with the skeleton riding upon it as to say that death was near and coming for him, plus when his first three wives came back on and into the scene was moving plus I was expecting to see it end with the King dying in bed with all his fellow minions including Archbishop Cranmer and Bishop Stephen Gardner at his side, perhaps not Gardner coming back on a note, I was a little surprised that they just ended it with him being ill and then Holbein re-painting a portrait of him that was and had been previously unsatisfied with being called in by one of his courtiers into the great hall and then the portrait being unveiled and it was of him wearing the very famous costume that the actual real King Henry VIII wore which we know of in the portrait and then it just ends with him staring at and into the portrait and then last but not least thanking Holbein for his work then it just ended with the camera firmly fixed on the portrait, it was overall a good ending, different to other shows that I have ever scene on King Henry VIII. He had previously been upset by the other portrait because it showed him ill and in decline like his father before him and he did not want that, he wanted to forever be remembered as the young, well in health and vigourous King that he once and always was. As it was said towards the end of his reign he was introducing and brining in new and young courtiers, as he grew older his court got younger and we can all guess why that was because he did not want to feel old and like the reign was dying, like it was an end of an era.Plus all of his old aquaintances, friends and enemies were either dead or had been executed sadly to say too. Quite sad really. I liked the way Brandon was loyal to him till the end as he was in reality and seeing them both meeting whilst they both on the decline but Brandon more so. The scene with Brandon, the Duke of Suffolk was quite moving too as well as quite sad too.

    1. Just another thing I think that Henry was trying to say to Anne “Please do not go”
      By leaving it where it they did it makes the sitters and viewers at home think, it certainly made me think what he was going to say a lot as I am sure it did you all.

  8. I think he was going to say “Anne, please don’t go…” I think he always loved her, and that’s why he made such a point of obliterating her memory, he could not face the pain of either believing the accusations or having taken part in them. Out of sight out of mind right? I thought the episode was beautiful. Beautiful symbolism, beautiful memories, wonderful. Have you guys seen this? It’s beautiful too.

  9. The ending of The Tudors really moved me. When I watched the ending last year I was moved to tears during most of the episode, especially when Henry reflects on his life when looking at his portrait. It was trully beautiful. The whole series was beautiful to me, even though they took great liberties. This series will always live on inside my heart. Not only did it make a great television series, but it also opened a great passion of the Tudor era for me.

    I also agree that the series could have done more. They could have gone into the reigns of Henry’s children and probably could have made at least 4 more seasons.

  10. The last episode was amazing! Okay, I was a bit annoyed that Henry, when saying goodbye to his family, only spoke to Elizabeth and Mary about his beloved Edward. But hey, he showed some emotion (“bless you child, bless you”), and the rest of the episode was moving and excellently filmed. Especially the flashback Henry has when he looks at his portrait, and the encounter with the ghost queens. Anne’s part was amazing, but Katherine and Jane were pretty good, too.
    I loved it when Anne talked about Katherine Howard, how she was only a moth drawn to the flame and burned, how she was only a child. I don’t think Henry was going to say “anne please don’t go”, because when he turns around and sees that she’s gone, he’s shocked and surprised. She accuses him of killing herself and Katherine Howard, and therefore I think he was going to say something like “Anne please don’t hate me”, “please don’t think I’m a monster” or whatever. 🙂

  11. In my heart of hearts and I’ve watched it so many times……..”Anne, please don’t leave me.”

  12. i loved the last episode. it made me cry. my favorite part is when Henry is reunited one more time with the past wifes. over all it was really sad to see henry go and for the series to end. it ended good but it was really sad at the same time so dramatic

  13. I thought that the last episode was absolutely wonderful. I cried my eyes out at the end.
    Jonathan was superb. My favourite moment was when he appeared as a young man and the white horse was so symbolic. Also the flashback to moments from earlier episodes. I enjoyed seeing the wives in the dream sequence. It was amazingly touching when Henry tried to heal his best friend Charles Brandon. A memorable end to a wonderful series. Thank goodness I have it all on DVD

  14. I’ve never actually watched a whole episode of The Tudors, but I did catch the closing credits, which I thought were excellent!

  15. Here are just a few of the things Henry was going to say to Anne…If I had my way…
    “Please don’t leave me.”
    ” I love you.”
    “I’ve always loved you.”
    “i’m so sorry for what I did to you and our daughter.”
    “And to your family. Especially George.”
    “I was such a fool.”
    “I should have spoken to you.”
    “Please forgive me.”

    1. Or alternatively;-
      “Anne, please don’t use magic on me and turn me into a Leprechaun, bearing in mind I’ve started to speak with an Irish accent”, or
      “Anne, please stop trying to throttle me with the bedspread”, or
      “Anne, please tell me where I put the remote controll”

      I’m just an old cynic

        1. Can we be polite please?!

          Regarding Louise’s comment, it is not a serious comment, it is a joke and she is referring to the fact that JRM starts talking in an Irish accent in Season 4.

        2. Thanks for that, Claire. Some people just have no sense of humour. I bet she hates the spoofs!!

  16. Fantastic imagery in the last episode, with an ever increasing pace to the mortality that Henry knows he cannot avoid. A fitting end to a series that I shall miss.
    I’ve said this before, but I will say it again, I believe there is still so much more that could be shown. A further series, showing the reigns of his children, through to the end of the Elizabethan era would be the logical conclusion to this, after all, it is called The Tudors, not HenryVIII.

  17. I loved the last episode; it will be a bummer to not have more coming… The Tudors made me fall in love with the Tudors – and my beloved Anne. Despite inaccuracies, it brought me on this voyage – and I’ve since read Ives, Weir, countless others… And Claire! (Who needs to write a book!!)

    I wish he were saying “Anne, please don’t go.”

    I think it was “Anne, please don”t haunt me.” I noticed that he wasn’t surprised when Anne came – he knew she was there before seeing her.

  18. I, too, found this last episode sad–I hate it when it’s over. I think he was going to say ‘Don’t go” because I still believe she was the love of his life. I will never understand why they didn’t go all the way through Elizabeth’s reign–there is drama enough! Maybe they will yet.

  19. I absolutely loved the last episode.. I was moved to tears when Henry was contemplating his life, the joys and the sorrows, the triumphs and defeats.. My favourite moment were those memories and also the bird that flew across the room, which symbolized life that passes so quickly as a bird’s flight.. This was my favourite scene!

    I also thought that Henry wanted to say “Anne, please, don’t go..” I loved the comeback of the wives and especially Anne.

  20. I loved the series (have watched all 4 seasons several times). Yes, if you are a Tudor scholar, the inaccuracies will drive you nuts, but this is a drama series, not a documentary, so artistic license must be given. As someone else mentioned, I really would have loved to see the show start during the last few years of Henry VII’s reign. Seeing how Henry VIII came to marry Katherine of Aragon (voluntarily) and how happy their marriage was for many years. It would have gone a long way in giving the agony of Maria Doyle Kennedy’s character more depth. It also would have allowed a more accurate portrayal of Henry VIII. The way Showtime did it, someone ignorant of Tudor history would get the idea that Henry was a womanizer who couldn’t stay married to a woman for more than a couple of years before divorcing or beheading her. Many people don’t realize that Henry and Katherine were married for 20 years! Also, compared to other monarchs and nobles of the day, Henry was relatively a prude. He is known to have only one illegitimate child (Henry Fitzroy, whom he had with Bessie Blount, his mistress of many years). Even the Duke of Suffolk (Charles Brandon) had at least 3 illegitimate children. I also didn’t like the way they combined Margaret and Mary (Henry’s sisters). Apparently, it was done to keep people from being confused between Mary the daughter and Mary the sister – but combining the two characters, in my opinion, created way more confusion. I know many people loved the ending, but I actually found it a bit of a letdown.

  21. Louise, I loved the bit about the leprechaun! Very funny! I thought he might have been saying please don’t leave, meaning he wanted to ask her more about their final days together but that’s just my opinion. I loved all the ghost wives coming back to talk to him, especially Jane and how she sounded angry that her son had been so isolated as a child. I loved the way he dreamed of himself as being young and healthy again. I guess in our hearts we all tend to think of ourselves as young. I look at my body but my mind still thinks I am much younger so I could totally relate to Henry on that level. I also liked the way he stood before his famous portrait. The portrait shows Henry at the height of his power and I can see why that is the way he would want to be remembered. I have a hunch that without a strong central character to base a series around, the producers really did not know how to proceed since the political period before Elizabeth finally becomes queen involves so many people and I think they could not find a good way to show that period of history with a constant change of important characters. That is my view of why the series stopped there. I know it can be very inaccurate but there were amazing moments as well. When I think of what is on tv most days, I could easily live without the tv.

  22. Wow, it just now finished in the UK? I have owned all four seasons for a while and had got the final season maybe in November so I have most definitely watched each episode from each season at least ten times.

    My least favourite season would have to be the third just because I find it quite uneventful other than all the deaths and the reform, he marries Jane there really isn’t any romance or ‘love’ in their relationship just because he had a son on her he was most pleased with her out of the rest. Anne of Cleeves was rid of not after long then they introduce ‘His Rose Without a Thorn’. My favourite is the second season because it all about Anne of course(:

    One of the things that drew me to the final season was the Earl of Surrey, played by David O’Hara, his character was very striking and I loved listening to him talk xD I found the most satisfying part of the last episode was when he reconciled with Anne. I felt that was her final justice and gave me great pleasure. I remember screaming at the t.v., “HAAAA! That’s what you get Henry!” My mom just gave me a very bewildered look and went on her business.

  23. I have already said how very much I enjoyed the last episode and indeed, the whole series I am sad to see it end, but feel it ended at exactly the right time. Michael Hirst came to give a talk at Hampton Court last week and he made it quite clear that he has no intention of continuing into the reign’s of Henry’s chidlren. I got the impression that he did not feel that there was enough interesting material to make a series out of the reign of Edward and Mary and he said he has already made two fiilms about Elizabeth. Also if he had intended to write about all the Tudor monachs then he surely would have started with Henry VII.

  24. It’s a shame no one seems interested in Henry VII. Most people view him as he was at the end of his reign – a worn-out, dull, parsimonious, bureacratic and out-dated old man – but his early life was the stuff of films and novels.
    Losing his father before birth but having one of the most intelligent and determined women in history for a mother, the privileged nephew to King Henry VI one day and then, when Edward V took the throne, the enemy of the state, the next. An upbringing in the wealthiest castles in Wales and then flight with his Uncle Jasper to France, where he spent years in penury, waiting for a chance to return from exile. Against all odds, fate turning his way. Staking everything on a bid for the throne in 1485. Landing at Dale in West Wales. Playing on Welsh legend and prophecy and drawing Welsh support as he marched towards England. Coming very close to death (his standard bearer was killed next to him) as Richard III charged at him on Bosworth field. According to legend the crown being retrieved froma thorn bush to crown him on the battlefield and then finally, marrying the beautiful princess (but only after he’d made sure he was king in his own right).
    The early years of hs reign were full of attempts to unseat him from his throne too.
    But I suppose he only had one wife, so that makes him too dull!
    …Although in his later years he definitely fancied Juana, Catherine of Aragon’s sister. He stated that her insanity was not an impediment to marriage so long as she was still fertile. He was also rumoured to have considered marrying Catherine herself…. so maybe not so different from his son and namesake, after all!

  25. Since “The Tudors” made a point of portraying Henry’s relationship with Anne as the great romance of his life, naturally it made sense for for their ghostly reunion to be passionate and romantic.

    Personally, I cannot imagine a ghostly Anne Boleyn having anything good, positive, or loving to say to Henry.

  26. The Tudors has always been, and will always be the most beautiful, heart wrenching, dramatic thriller that I have ever seen. I am disappointed that it ended, but we all knew that it had too.

    The first episode I watched was in the second season, and I was instantly hooked by Catherine of Aragons detemination and strong will, Anne Boleyns easy grace and charm, and Henry’s romantic idealism, and his belief that he is always right in everything that he does. The tudors has come a long way since back then.

    Throughout the four seasons, I have laughed, cried, and been sucked in by the drama. Watching the Tudors has inspired me to research into Tudor history, and now my room is crammed full of books. My ipod is full of tudor music from the series, from the reign of Henry VIII, and church music from the era. And I am even debating whether or not to start an online course in history so that I might be able to persue a career in that sector.

    The ending of the last episode to me was in a way a little disappointing. I had spoken about it for weeks before hand with colleagues at work, talking of how sad I would be when it ended, and how much I would cry. I had been so moved by the previous dramatic portrayals of executions, and deaths that I thought they would reach the climax with Henry’s. I had invisioned him sick in bed, delirious somewhat, with all six of his wives individually coming forward to him, and then massing in to one final group at the end with the rest of Henry’s court looking at him. I thought that Henry would of made his peace with his wives, and then he could of passed away peacefully.

    Although, the portrait ending was indeed a good ending, I just feel it lacked the dramatic intensity that some of the viewers might have been expecting. I however loved the use of death upon a white horse, wielding a sword in his hand, coming to claim Henry. The metaphor was genius. However, I did not cry at the last episode, although I came close to a tear.

    I am looking foward to the new showtime show the borgias, but the tudors, and boulougne will be well and truly imprinted on my heart.

    1. Maybe he is saying that, so he can try and explain what he did to her any why. The guilt about how he treated her, and what he did to her towards the end of there marriage (before her execution). Since Henry was raised by women, so I think logically the guilt would be there, as he was brought up respecting women. Lexy I think your right.

  27. I think like so many others that Henry was going to say “Anne please don’t go there is so much more to be said.”

    This I would like to believe would have been the start of H8 asking Anne for forgiveness and that he still loved her.

    All 3 Queens were amazing. I especially liked what KOA said about Mary should have been married by now with children of her own.

  28. I live in the UK and I saw this ages ago – finished watching it last August. So I’m afraid there’s not much I can add cause I’ve already been through that “wow” moment of reflecting on the finale… besides what I’ve been saying here and there in the other articles previous to this one – which it that it ends at an unexpected point (because you think it’s going to end with a certain event but it doesn’t), but I loved where and how they ended it – uplifting from what was a very thoughtful episode.

  29. I adored the Tudors. From the first season I picked up the movie Elizabeth & Elizabeth: The Golden Age and looking up on the computor websites with information on the wives of King Henry and all I can find.

    The first season I thought… why did they cast this squirrely guy as King Henry VIII ? I thought he should have been closer in likness, I’ve seen very good looking taller, reddish-haired actors that could be young King Henry VIII. I was like Anne saying at first she didn’t care for him … but was lately liking him more. I was amazed how they aged Jonathan Rhys Myers each year.

    I’m so happy there are so marry others addicted like I was and sad it is over. The ending with the scenes from his past was wonderful. I have lost count how mant times I’ve watched the DVDs I love the music and everything about the series.

  30. I think he was going to say “Anne please don’t go…” and someone wrote above, how Henry knew Anne was there without even looking…like he could feel her presence…with Catherine and Jane he didn’t know, he saw Catherine and heard Jane…with Anne…he felt her there. When he started shaking when he was turned away I think he felt ALL that guilt that he had tried to bury. I think he didn’t want her to go…that Henry wanted Anne there with him in the end. When he turned around to say “Anne please don’t…” she was gone. He looked around for her and the look on his face was like desperation! Like he needed her and wanted her…and I think he took that with him in the end…that Anne was TRULY his one and true love…just by watching that…it cemented it in for me…

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