Henry VIII and Family

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Henry's Nonsuch Palace

Nonsuch Palace
(Image of watercolor painting of Nonsuch courtesy of BBC News)

I will admit rather sheepishly that when I first saw Henry talk about his Nonsuch Palace with his "Fool" in an episode of Season 3 of The Tudors on Showtime, I thought this was something Michael Hirst was merely adding for entertainment. I was still learning, reading, researching things on King Henry VIII, and had not gotten that far yet. I was thrilled to learn that I was wrong!

Henry named his great palace Nonsuch because no other palace could equal it. He built it to celebrate the birth of his son, Edward. He also wanted to outshine the beautiful Chambord, built by his rival, King Francis I of France. The King began construction on the site in 1538, in Cuddington, near Epsom, Surrey, and was still incomplete when he died in 1547. Sadly, it fell into disrepair in the 17th century, and now nothing remains of King Henry's great vision.

One thing that does remain of Nonsuch is a beautiful and rare watercolor depicting the palace. Here is the information I read in BBC News:

"The 1568 watercolour is said by Christie's to be the earliest and most detailed depiction of the palace.

Benjamin Peronnet, head of Old Master and 19th Century drawings at Christie's, said it was the most important depiction of the palace.

"Not only is it one of the earliest British watercolours and a work of art of immense beauty, but it is also the most exact pictorial record of Henry VIII's great commission," he said.

"Nonsuch Palace stood for less than 150 years and there are only four contemporary depictions that are known to survive.

"Of these, the watercolour is the earliest, and the only one to show a true impression of the 'lost' palace.""

It's such a shame to me that so many great palaces built centuries before our time are now faded away and only pictures or historical accounts remain. I would really have loved to see what Nonsuch looked like, especially since this was solely Henry's fanciful creation.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Royal Wedding Remembered

Henry VII and Elizabeth of York

All the of the buzz surrounding the impending royal wedding of Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton is so exciting, that I thought I would write about a Tudor wedding that stands out to me as a very important one.

The wedding of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York effectively ended the "War of the Roses," uniting the houses of Lancaster and York, and marked the beginning of the Tudor Dynasty. So, how did this pairing come about? It was an interesting read, which is quite the norm for the Tudors, as we all know.

It all started with the death of Elizabeth's father, Edward IV. It caused a great upheaval in her life and caused much grief to her family. Her brother Edward was next in line to the throne, however, her uncle Richard had plans of his own. Richard locked away Elizabeth's brothers in the Tower of London and usurped the throne, becoming Richard III. Elizabeth would never see her brothers again and her family would be torn apart by her scheming uncle.

Out of desperation and survival, Elizabeth's mother, Elizabeth Woodville, and Henry's mother, Margaret Beaufort made an alliance to join their children in marriage, uniting the two rival houses. But, first, Henry Tudor, of Richmond, had to overthrow Richard III.

Against some incredible odds, Henry's Lancastrian forces defeated Richard III's at the Battle of Bosworth Field on August 22nd, 1485. It was at first feared by some that Henry would not keep his promise to marry Elizabeth. Henry wanted to ensure that he ruled in his own right. Elizabeth had a greater claim to the throne, being the direct descendant of Edward IV, but Henry did not want to have Elizabeth ruling beside him. He wanted total power. He chose to be crowned on October 30, 1485, before marrying, so as to ensure there would be no question of his claim to the throne by "right of conquest."

After receiving papal dispensation to do so, Henry VII finally honored his promise on January 18th, 1486 and married Elizabeth of York. They, of course celebrated in grand style at Westminster Abbey. Above is a picture I found online of the wedding of King Henry VII and his queen.

As we all know, Elizabeth was the mother of King Henry VIII, grandmother of Elizabeth I. Although the Tudors ruled for a relatively short period of time, I am always amazed at how much they managed to do during their reign.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, November 5, 2010

My version of Anne......

Being that Halloween is my most favorite holiday, I decided to try out something I have always wanted to do.... dress up as Anne Boleyn!!!!! Alas, I found myself not being able to fit a new costume in my budget, so I sort of "created" one using some things I already had! I thought I would share the results of this with my dear readers. :) Please keep in mind, for those of you who are purists, I was NOT going for super authentic here, it's a bit of a glammed up version, especially since I'm wearing so much makeup, lol! Hope you like!


Halloween Costume - Anne
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

And..... another one....

I have to confess, this is much more video posting than I usually do on a blog, however, I am just REALLY, REALLY missing the series!!!! Natalie Dormer's portrayal of Anne Boleyn was BY FAR my favorite performance of Anne Boleyn EVER, and this is one of my favorite montages of Natalie's work thus far.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A reader's video!

This video was made by one of my readers, "Just Brittany", and I LOVE it!!!!! I thought I would share this on my blog. Enjoy!

A new video I HAD to share!!!!

Normally, I don't care for these sort of "parody" type videos, but this was hilarious! I thought I would share! Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

For Those Who Are Missing "The Tudors"

Your Majesty

I belong to many Tudors based communities, and I love the random things that are shared by other Tudors fans! Some of the best things that are shared among Tudors fans are fan videos! I have been pretty sad since the series ended in June and these videos are a bit of a consolation. :) I thought I would share some videos that I enjoy! I hope you all enjoy them too!

A little background about this video.... it's not a fan video, it is a clip from one of my most favorite scenes in the Tudors series. It's extremely intense and I just LOVE the chemistry between Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Natalie Dormer in these scenes!

Season 3
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Survey For My Readers.....

During my many, many hours of reading other Tudors based blogs and perusing Tudors based sites, I have found that there are a lot of posts that are similar and have a lot of the same topics on the same day. I would like to add some variety, touch upon the people and the topics that haven't been done a hundred times and then some....

Which brings me to my questions for those of you out there who happen to be reading this.... WHAT or WHO would you most like to hear about in reference to the Tudor Dynasty? What questions do you have? Is there something/someone you have always wanted to read about? Is there something/someone that has always puzzled you/troubled you/intrigued you?

This blog is for the readers, so your opinions and thoughts matter. Please feel free to give me your input! I will strive to listen to all comments and suggestions and implement them into the blog. Fire away!!!!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Execution of Cromwell


On this day, the 28th of July, in 1540, Thomas Cromwell was executed. While researching Cromwell's actual execution, I found two differing stories. One story says that he was executed "in private on Tower Green," found here: http://englishhistory.net/tudor/citizens/cromwell.html.

and another story claims that he was executed publicly on Tower Hill. I found this story here: http://www.castles.me.uk/executions-beheading-tower-of-london.htm.

Of everything I have read, all can agree that Cromwell's execution was not an easy one, having an inexperienced executioner, a mere teenager doing the job. It is rumored that Henry VIII ordered this boy for the execution on purpose, so as to make Cromwell suffer more than necessary, however this has never been proven.

There were also rumors, as you can see on Showtime's "The Tudors" that the executioner was extremely hung over or drunk and therefore botched the execution. That is entirely made up and not an historical fact. But, you can't blame Michael Hirst for jazzing things up a bit in the name of entertainment, right?

So, what exactly happened on this day? How did Cromwell's execution actually take place? Here is what I can gather from my findings:

Cromwell's fall was swift; his enemies wasted no time ensuring he would never leave the Tower, "finding" additional evidence that he was a treasonous heretic and putting it before the King. It is said that Henry was so enraged, he swore that Cromwell's name would be abolished forever.

Cromwell wrote two letters to King Henry VIII, very desperate and pleading for the King's mercy. Poor Cromwell. Someone should have given him the memo that Henry was fresh out of mercy. *Morbid grin* Only one of these letters survived and I found an excerpt from the one surviving, tattered letter:

'God is God and knoweth both [my faithfulness] towards your Majesty and your realm.....how dear your person was, is, and ever hath [been]....therefore, most gracious Prince, I humbly submit me to your [Grace] and ask of God mercy for my sins, and of your Highness mercy and pardon for mine offences as to your high wisdom shall seem most convenient. And, Sir, that ever I have deceived you in any of your treasure, surely I have [not], and that God Almighty best knoweth......Sir, upon [my kne]es I most humbly beseech your most gracious Majesty [to be goo]d and gracious lord to my poor son, the good and virtu[ous lady his] wife, and their poor children...'

(Excerpt found at the AWESOME website, "The Tudors Wiki", found here: http://tudorswiki.sho.com/page/Thomas+Cromwell++-+Historical+Profile.)

Cromwell's execution was indeed botched, due to the executioner being but a young teenager and inexperienced as well. Cromwell was struck three times before he was finally killed.

After the execution, his head was boiled and put on a spike on London Bridge facing away from the city of London.

It wasn't long before Henry was lamenting his trusted servant's death, blaming his council for falsely accusing Cromwell and leading him astray with their accusations. Well, it wouldn't be King Henry if he wasn't blaming someone else for his mistakes, right?

My thoughts on Cromwell.... are pretty mixed. I am a very avid Anne Boleyn fan, so part of me feels like he got exactly what was coming to him. He was reaching too high, his plans for Reform were NOT the same as Henry's, and he was becoming more and more greedy. The only way to go once you reach the top is down, as most people close to Henry VIII soon found out for themselves. Cromwell was no exception.

I believe he could have saved himself, had he not gotten the King mixed up in the Anne of Cleves "debacle". I know he was trying to bring a powerful ally to England, however I do believe it was mostly selfish reasons that drove him to make the match for Henry. He mislead Henry about quite a few other things, especially during the Pilgrimage of Grace, and I think it was his short-sighted hunger for power and wealth that lead him to his ultimate fate.

I have to hand it to Michael Hirst, when Cromwell was executed on "The Tudors", I actually felt a bit sorry for him and was almost sad to see him go. He always has a way of making you feel sorry for the "villains" at the last moment.

What do you think? Do you think Thomas Cromwell was merely the King's good servant, or did he get what he deserved? Was he merely doing what he needed to do to survive in Tudor times, or was he being entirely too high handed in matters of government?

***Image found here: http://englishhistory.net/tudor/citizens/cromwell.htm

Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, July 23, 2010

Food in Tudor England

Dining Hall at Thornbury Castle
*Image is the Tudor Dining Hall at Thornbury Castle

Being the foodie that I am, I could not help but wonder what it must have actually been like to sit down for a meal in Tudor England. I decided to do a bit of research on it, and since I have promised ALL things Tudor on this blog, I thought I would share my findings.

As we know, there were many, many changes that came about during the reigns of the Tudors, and food was no exception. There were many new things being brought in from the "New World," and this helped to change the more medieval styles of eating and preparing food.

Tudor food

If you were a poor person during Tudor times, your standard fare would be a dark bread of rye, barley or maslin, a broth of some sort, maybe cheese or some curd. Not a very balanced meal, however, the poor people did eat more vegetables than the nobility and that probably helped make up for other things they lacked. It was not known back then the benefit of eating vegetables.

Servants ate better, having more meat in their diets such as salt herring, dried cod, beef or fowl in addition to cheese, better breads, ales, and puddings.

Food prep

The middle class and minor nobility would have a variety of courses. If you were fortunate enough to be wealthy during the Tudor era, you wouldn't necessarily eat differently from the middle class, however, there would be much more food and on a more grandiose scale. The rich aristocracy also enjoyed having unusual things on their tables, such as figures molded from jelly or pastries.

Here is an example of a late 14th century Parisian menu that I found on the site: http://www.tudorhistory.org/

Miniature pastries filled either with cod liver or beef marrow
A cameline meat "brewet" (pieces of meat in a thin cinnamon sauce)
Beef marrow fritters
Eels in a thick spicy puree
Loach in a cold green sauce flavored with spices and sage
Large cuts of roast or boiled meat
Saltwater fish

"The best roast that may be had"
Freshwater fish
Broth with bacon
A meat tile (pieces of chicken or veal, simmered, sautéed, served in a spiced sauce of pounded crayfish tails, almonds and toasted bread and garnished with whole crayfish tails)
Capon pasties and crisps
Bream and eel pasties
Blang Mang

Lampreys with hot sauce
Roast bream and darioles

Manor houses from the country usually added the local game birds to their menus as well.

Most people used spoons or knives to eat, but forks were almost nonexistent in Tudor times. A lot of people simply ate with their fingers.... they also used "trenchers," which sometimes were comprised of just a slab of bread, or a slab of wood that had a small depression in the middle.

There weren't a whole lot of "table manners" type of rules, even for the nobility, but they did observe some basic practices such as washing hands in front of the other diners to ensure clean hands. They did this because of the practice of eating with their hands. It was also asked that people did not touch their heads, blow their nose... the usual kinds of things you would really hope NOT to see at a dinner table, lol!

About beverages... EVERYONE avoided drinking the water, as it was polluted. People would drink milk, cider, mead, ale, wine or some variations thereof.

It was very common for the rich to overeat in Tudor times, which we have also seen practiced by the Ancient Romans. Ironically, this did a lot more harm than good, and directly contributed to the poor health of many of the nobility.

I found many different recipes and other little facts and tidbits in my research. The most helpful sites I found were:




Please check out these sites, as they have a lot more fun information and some really neat recipes. I might even try a couple of the recipes I found just to see how they turn out!

***Images found here:


and here:


Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lady Jane Rochford....Looking at all sides of the story....

Lady Jane Rochford

One intriguing figure in Tudor history whom I feel has not had nearly enough research done about her is Lady Jane Rochford (also known as Jane Boleyn). From almost everything I have read about her, you get a picture of an embittered, spiteful woman who hated her husband, or his sister, or both, with such venom that she helped to bring about their demise. She is also infamous for aiding the fifth wife of King Henry VIII in committing adultery by arranging for Catherine Howard and Thomas Culpepper to meet secretly.

But, what if everything is not as it seems? What if the former Lady in Waiting was given a raw deal by historians? This is something I have given quite a bit of thought. It all started when I recently had a conversation about Jane with a friend of mine who is a fellow Tudors fan. She raised some questions that got me thinking, and she also had some very valid points, at least as far as Anne and George Boleyn are concerned. I thought I would share some of these questions and points of interest that came to mind for me.....

I have read that Jane historically had an unhappy marriage and as a result, she hated George vehemently and was quite happy to testify against him.

Okay, ladies and gentleman.... in Tudor times... how many marriages were all that happy? For that matter, how many people at that time period had the luxury to marry for love? Especially in the case of nobility, marriages were almost ALWAYS arranged by the parents or relatives for their child/ward. And, it was almost ALWAYS with the intention of benefiting the families involved. There was not a lot of thought or care given to the two that were to be married. This was just reality.

While it may be perfectly true that Jane's marriage to George was not a happy one, it is not something so out of the ordinary in those days that it could have driven her to want him dead.

Which also leads me to another thought......Let's say that Jane actually DID have a hand in George and Anne's demise..... what GOOD could that actually have done for her?

Once Anne and George were executed, the entire family was in disgrace and lost many titles and lands. Jane, not having an heir from George would not have and did not benefit from any of the remaining luxuries left to the Boleyns or Howards. It is said she wrote many times to Cromwell, trying to redeem her name and be allowed back to court. She also spent a lot of time trying to stabilize her finances. The Boleyns finally gave her a modest pension, but she was always working towards more. So, the question presents itself: Why would she willingly put herself through all of that extra misery, financial distress, and disgrace just for revenge? It's not really even a true sort of revenge, since she indeed suffered from George and Anne's fall.

Julia Fox, an historian who has written about Jane Rochford, gives the sort of perspective I am driving at. She claims that under the pressure and barrage of questioning that must have been fired at her, Jane must have simply buckled and told them whatever they wanted to hear. Cromwell had what he needed by the time he had questioned Jane. I am sure it would have been a most frightening experience, to be taken to the Tower and interrogated in that manner. And, it would not be so far fetched for Cromwell to use intimidation tactics to get the results he wanted. After all, it's perfectly clear that his advancement depended upon getting rid of the Boleyns. Later, when people started to sympathize with Anne and George's plights, Jane emerged as a jealous and spiteful villain.

Being an Anne Boleyn "obsessor," I was not so quick to see some of these possibilities, that Jane was a pawn, her words twisted and used under pressure to rationalize the murder of the Queen and 5 innocent men. But, I have definitely realized that it has a lot of merit. And is a very real possibility.

As for Jane's activities concerning Catherine Howard and Thomas Culpepper..... well.... that could definitely go one way or another.

We all know that Catherine Howard, although very young, was in no way naive when it came to sexual affairs. Could Lady Jane have been the one to instigate the Queen's affair with Henry's servant? Or was she merely doing as commanded by her Mistress?

From all appearances, it looks as though Catherine and Culpepper were only too happy to place full blame on Jane for arranging everything, but she could not have MADE them have sex.... that was completely of their own doing, and obviously not the fault of anyone else. I have this impression from the cirucumstances that the beleaguered Lady in Waiting got caught in the middle of the whole charade and was merely doing as she was instructed at Catherine's behest.

If Jane did in fact suggest Culpepper to Catherine, or "entice" her to begin an affair with him, it is clear to me that it spiraled out of her control as the two lovers seemed to stop caring that what they were engaging in was deadly. Catherine was in love with Culpepper, as the one letter she had written him can testify. That letter is what sealed Catherine's fate.... it was not anything that Jane had done.

So, why does she continue to get the blame?

Why does she continue to be an historical scapegoat?

The only answer I can come up with is that Lady Jane Rochford has not been researched without bias. Usually when a person discovers her, it is because they are researching Anne Boleyn, George Boleyn, etc, and when reading their stories, you only get one version of her. I personally plan to do more research on her, as I think it would be very interesting to see what I could uncover.

****Image of Lady Jane Rochford can be found here:


Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My friend, the things that do attain.....


***Author's note: I posted this in my other blog, http://leogirl1975.wordpress.com, but I love this poem so much that I wanted to post it here as well. Enjoy!

I first heard this poem recited by David O'Hara, the man who played the Earl of Surrey in The Tudors. It moved me for some reason, so I thought I would share it. :)

"My friend, the things that do attain
The happy life be these, I find:
The riches left, not got with pain;
The fruitful ground; the quiet mind;
The equal friend; no grudge; no strife;
No charge of rule, nor governance;
Without disease, the healthy life;
The household of continuance;
The mean diet, no dainty fare;
Wisdom joined with simpleness;
The night discharged of all care,
Where wine the wit may not oppress:
The faithful wife, without debate;
Such sleeps as may beguile the night;
Content thyself with thine estate,
Neither wish death, nor fear his might."

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey

Henry Howard Earl of Surrey at age 29, 1546Image via Wikipedia

Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, July 15, 2010

"They Flee From Me"

Thomas Wyatt

I am a very big fan of poetry, and will always jump on an opportunity to share anything that I find resonating or intriguing. There are a few poems written by Thomas Wyatt that I enjoy. At least two of them were written about my one of my favorite former Queens of England, Anne Boleyn. I have decided to share my most favorite of Wyatt's poems with you, which I found on a very wonderful Tudor site, http://www.luminarium.org/.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. It has a very poignant and sort of ethereal quality to it.

They flee from me,
that sometime did me seek,
With naked foot stalking within my chamber:
Once have I seen them gentle, tame, and meek,
That now are wild,
and do not once remember,
That sometime they have put themselves in danger
To take bread at my hand;
and now they range,
Busily seeking in continual change.
Thanked be Fortune,
it hath been otherwise twenty times better;
but once especial,
In thin array,
after a pleasant guise,
When her loose gown did from her shoulders fall,
And she me caught in her arms long and small,
And therewithal sweetly did me kiss,
And softly said, 'Dear heart, how like you this?'
It was no dream;
for I lay broad awaking:
But all is turn'd now through my gentleness,
Into a bitter fashion of forsaking;
And I have leave to go of her goodness;
And she also to use new fangleness.
But since that I unkindly so am served:
How like you this, what hath she now deserved?

***Image found here: http://tudorhistory.org/

Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The "Most Happy" Portrayal


Of all the fantastic things that have come out of Showtime's series, "The Tudors," one of the things I love the most is Natalie Dormer's portrayal of Anne Boleyn. When she first came on to the screen, I admit, I was a bit disappointed, she didn't look like she had it in her to "be" Anne. I have never been so happy to say I could not have been more wrong!

I tend to be a purist about some things, preferring for people cast in historical roles to very closely resemble the person they are portraying. I did not feel that Natalie fit the bill. The first couple of episodes you see her in, there is not much that makes her stand out. But, I soon found out why she was chosen for the role.


Natalie seemed to have an innate sense of everything Anne went through, from start to finish. From being the mysterious new courtier, to the fascinating jewel Henry HAD to possess, to being the King's controversial Mistress, becoming Queen and a mother, and then losing it all at the height of her success. There was no shortage of range of emotion for the role, and Natalie certainly rose to the occasion and far exceeded my expectations. She gave Anne a heart, soul, grit, determination, vulnerability, and showed us many other facets about the late Queen that most people would not have attributed to her, or seen in her. She really put her heart into her role, with a true understanding of what she was undertaking. Michael Hirst really has an uncanny way of finding just the right person for a role, even if you don't agree with him at first.

Until she was cast as Anne Boleyn, I hadn't heard of Natalie Dormer. She had a small role in the film, "Casanova," in 2005, but I had not seen the movie prior to seeing her on "The Tudors. After seeing her as Anne, I rented the movie so I could see her in other roles, and I am looking forward to seeing her in many more!

Natalie Dormer hands down gave the best portrayal of Anne Boleyn I have ever seen, nor probably will see for quite some time, if ever. Her on screen chemistry with Jonathan Rhys Meyers was simply amazing! I feel he didn't have as good of chemistry with any of the other women who portrayed his wives or love interests. Here is a small pic spam in tribute to her fantastic work!

Queen Anne
Mother and Daughter
Leaving Wyatt

There is a WONDERFUL site where you can find out more about Natalie.... I heartily recommend checking it out if you like her!


***All images found here:


and here:


Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Fantastic Resource!!!!

Your Majesty

You will often notice that I like to suggest or recommend other fellow Tudors based websites, pages and blogs. I think it's good to help other sites get exposure, and I also love to share information with fellow Tudors fans! Sort of like a public service. :)

So..... If you haven't found it already, you MUST check out this link:


For anyone who can't get enough of Showtime's "The Tudors," it's truly one of the best sites EVER!!!

It goes BEYOND your typical fan site. It is a Wiki, so other fans have contributed and you are welcome to add to it if you like, which is a pretty nice feature. I use it as a resource quite a bit to find images for my posts and a lot of the information is extremely helpful. The site has everything from info on the cast and characters, to a list of every episode, and much, much more!

The site has so much information, not only about the TV series, but about the Tudor Dynasty in general, which in my opinion, is an added bonus!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Tudors, Season 4, The Final Episode

Dear Readers,

I recently posted this on my other blog: http://leogirl1975.wordpress.com/.

I really enjoyed writing about the final episode of what became my very favorite TV series to watch. I decided to post it here as well, because it is one of the posts I am most proud of writing thus far. Enjoy!

Henry and Holbein

The final episode. How did it come up so quickly? I will admit, I very much put off writing about this episode, as I did not want it to be over so soon for me. Historically, of course, we all know how it ends. But, Michael Hirst brought these historical figures to such vivid life for us for four years and it makes it all that much more difficult for me to say goodbye to the series.

Just the promo for this episode alone gave me goosebumps. I found this version of it on YouTube.... it’s not the best sound or picture, but you can get an idea of what I am talking about....

Writing about Showtime’s “The Tudors” series this past year has been a labor of love for me. I have never before attempted to write about a TV series or movie with such detail as I have done with this one. I hope you have all enjoyed reading my posts as much as I have enjoyed writing them. To be certain, this will NOT be my last post on the Tudor Dynasty or the Showtime series, but it is indeed my last detailed synopsis of an episode. With a heavy heart, I give you my last run down of the Final Episode.....

Young Henry

This episode is aptly titled, “Death of a Monarchy.” It couldn’t get more final than that, right? I love how they brought Maria Doyle Kennedy, Natalie Dormer, and Annabelle Wallis back on the opening credits. You can tell they reworked it to add some of the younger moments in Henry’s life.

The episode begins with a beautiful scene with a white horse, galloping towards the screen while you hear Henry’s voice. I love what he says....

“When we compare the present life of man on earth, with that time of which we have no knowledge, it seems to me like the swift flight of a single sparrow, through a banqueting hall on a Winter’s day. After a few moments of comfort, he vanishes from sight, into the Wintery world from which he came. Even so, man appears on earth for a little while. But, of what went before this life, and what will follow, we know nothing.”

Henry and Charles Philosophical

King Henry and the Duke of Suffolk are sitting together, chatting. The King is in a very philosophical mood, pondering about time, and the loss of it. He quizzes the Duke about what is the most irrecoverable loss...... and informs him that time is the most irrecuperable of losses, “for it can never be redeemed.”

As usual, Bishop Gardiner is up to no good. He hands a servant a warrant for the Queen’s arrest to give to Risley.... this is definitely NOT good for the queen!
The Lord High Admirable of France pays a visit to court. Prince Edward greets him in fluent Latin, much to the delight of everyone at court. The Ladies Mary and Elizabeth are also presented to him by Queen Catherine. As they wait for the King to make an appearance, Mary uses the opportunity to speak with Bishop Gardiner, who reiterates to her the “people’s” desire to anoint Mary as queen, should the King die.

Henry and Edward at court
Father and son

Henry makes his appearance to the Lord High Admiral of France. I like how Henry walks up to Edward and tousels his hair, and then brings the Prince to sit with him on the throne while he conducts his business with the French Admiral. Henry decides he will make peace with France and will have “no more business” with the Emperor, who he makes sure to advise to Edward has betrayed him at “every turn.” It’s clear that Henry is grooming his son to take over the throne for him. The King proposes that Mass be abolished in both England and France, but this clearly dismays the Admiral. We also learn that the French King is dying of syphilis. Henry makes no bones about using Francis’ condition as a means to gain leverage for his own desires. It’s almost laughable to hear him lecturing about how Francis’ lewd conduct is a lesson to his mortality. Certainly a bit of irony as well!

The servant that was given the arrest warrant for the Queen (I believe his name is Walter) decides to first take it to one of the Queen’s maids, who in turn secretly gives it to Catherine to warn her. The Queen is both shocked and terrified.

Henry is suspicious

The King is in his chamber reading and you can hear someone sobbing very loudly in the next room. The King asks who it is, is told it’s the “Queen’s Majesty” and seems a little intrigued and suspicious as to why she is “screaming like that.” He decides to go and see her. He asks her what is wrong and she pulls herself together as best she can. She walks over, most likely terrified that now on top of everything else, the King has caught her crying. Henry asks her what is wrong. You can tell the Queen is choosing her words VERY carefully. She tells him that she fears he is displeased with her. Henry plays ignorant. He asks her what has caused her to think so and whyever would he be displeased with her??? He asks her very firmly if there is any reason he SHOULD be displeased with her. It’s a very tense moment as you wait for her to answer him. Of course, she replies that no, there is no reason for him to be displeased with her. Much to her relief, he bids her a good day and leaves the room. The way Catherine practically falls to the floor, you get a sense that her knees were probably ready to buckle at any moment and it took all she had to answer him with any composure. I will admit, I was not crazy about Joley Richardson playing Catherine Parr, as I really did not like her on “Nip/Tuck,” but I am being forced to reassess that opinion, as she has so far done a superb job.

As soon as Henry is far enough away from the room, Catherine immediately sets her ladies to work, getting rid of any books or literature whether they think it may be forbidden or not, so as to keep from incriminating herself further. She is frantic to absolve herself of guilt and she is intelligent enough to pull it off, as we will soon see....

The Earl of Hertford pays the Duke of Suffolk a visit. Brigitte informs him that the Duke is ill, however, Charles gets out of bed to see the Earl anyways. He agrees to have a chat with him. There is a moment of concern from Brigitte about him being out of bed, and I must say, hearing Henry Cavill speak French is utterly DIVINE!!!! The Earl and the Duke quickly start discussing the unrest and unease at court about the succession. The Earl is asking for the Duke’s support for the Reformation, and in going up against Bishop Gardiner. He incorrectly assumes that since the Duchess of Suffolk supports the Reform, that Brandon does as well. He is quickly informed otherwise and hastily apologizes for his assumptions. Talk about sticking your foot in your mouth, eh? The Duke ends the conversation by telling the Earl he will not take sides in this matter and that he does not share Hertford’s beliefs in the Reform. Charles says that he would rather things were as in times past. Sad. He is very obviously tired of all of the politics.

This next scene had me actually cheering for Lady Hertford, even though she has not been a favorite character of mine. Historically, she was quite an abominable woman to deal with, and it’s very evident in this series as well. I really admired her unfailing spunk in this particular part of the episode. Lady Hertford is summoned to see Bishop Gardiner. She is perfectly aware of why he wants to see her and it does not ruffle her one bit. Gardiner, of course, questions her in regards to her affiliations with Anne Askew. She counters with the fact that Anne was illegally tortured, to which the Bishop decides to tell her that she is “guilty by association,” and shows her a warrant for her arrest. Anne stands up, reviews the warrant and hands it back to Gardiner, telling him he will never serve the warrant. She boldy informs him that she knows things about him....things others do not. She knows he has been stealing property and money from the King and threatens to expose him if he does not tear up the warrant and forget about arresting her. She leaves him sitting there, quite deflated and I cackled in delight... serves the wank right!

Catherine is submissive
Henry's Test
Perfect friends again

Now we come to a pivotal part in this episode, not to mention confusing. It’s fairly historically accurate, for this is truly how things transgressed, even though it seems crazy. But, that was par for the course when dealing with Henry VIII. Catherine Parr is summoned to have an audience with the King. The King is entertaining some nobles, sitting in a very luxurious room, drinking and chatting. The Queen is announced and Henry has her sent in. The room grows very quiet and you just know this is some sort of test. She dutifully kneels before him. He tells her he wishes her to clear his mind of some “doubts.” In front of the entire room of nobles, the King questions Catherine’s beliefs on what can be gained from reading the Gospels and other religious books. Like I mentioned before, Catherine was no idiot. She knew she was being tested, knew that her life depended on this one conversation and knew she had to make sure to please Henry. She quickly defers to him as Supreme Head of the Church, telling him that it is only through his knowledge and understanding of faith that she hopes to learn. He is not quick to believe her at first, telling her she has “become a doctor to instruct us all” and she did not seem to want to BE instructed. The Queen quickly assures Henry that he has misunderstood her, that she defers all things to him, her Lord and King. She begs his forgiveness, explaining that such discussions were merely meant as a distraction to his infirmities. Wow, that woman knew how to play the game. She quickly showed herself as a docile, and obedient wife, which is something Henry ultimately wanted from her. Strict obedience. He assures her they are perfect friends again and tells her he will never doubt her again. The Queen leaves, feeling reassured that she is once again in the King’s favor. Here is the really confusing part.... Henry’s servant asks him if he should rescind His Majesty’s orders to arrest the Queen. The King looks at him, surprised and indignant and asks, “Why?” Crazy.....just crazy!

Poor Charles Brandon. He is getting steadily more sick. Brigitte is taking such good care of him, and it’s clear he is relieved she is there for him. He tells her he hates the night because it makes him think of “perpetual night.” It’s so sad. He knows he does not have long to live.

Outdoor picnic
Laughing Outdoors

Let’s add some more confusion to all of this, shall we? We really get a good glimpse of how crazy Henry really was in his late years during this scene. Remember, he seemed indignant when asked if he would rescind the order to arrest Catherine?

As King Henry and Queen Catherine enjoy an outdoor luncheon, you see Lord Risley coming their way with a good number of guards. The Queen, VERY shaken and terrified, quietly asks the King what is going on. Henry, again, plays the ignorant role, pretending not to know exactly why Risley had come. Of course, he is there to arrest the Queen, under HENRY’S orders. See how this gets puzzling? What’s even more puzzling, is how the King reacts to Risley. The crazy Monarch gets out of his seat, calling Risley a knave, screaming at him to get out and take his “bastards” with him. He looks outraged and leaves everyone completely befuddled. He tells Catherine that Lord Risley was not her friend. Ummm.... I should say not!

Bishop Gardiner, ever the epitome of wankness, grills Risley about the events that occured, insisting that they should still try to serve the warrant to the Queen. Risley is obviously souring on the idea of arresting the Queen at this point.

Parliament convenes, and much to Lord Hertford’s irritation, Risley introduces a discussion in reference to Prince Edward’s care, education, and to whom the title of Lord Protector should fall to in the event of the King’s death. Seymour questions Risley as to why the discussion is taking place since arrangements have already been made. Risley and Gardiner staunchly defend their right to debate the arrangements already made, which angers the Earl. The Bishop goes even further to add that Seymour’s “intentions” toward the Prince and the Crown must be put before the King.” An outraged Seymour quickly punches Bishop Gardiner in the mouth. I am not a fan of violence, but that was fantastic!!!!

Following that awesome display, we come to Henry, sitting before the fire, reading again. His servant announces that the Bishop Gardiner requests an audience with him. Henry refuses his request. WOO HOO!!!!!! FINALLY!!!! The King tells his servant that the Bishop is one of a troublesome nature and that he no longer wishes to see him at court ever again. Gardiner is banished. I think he should have had a bit more come his way, but it was done in a most humiliating manner, so that is satisfactory enough for me!

The slimy Risley immediately seeks to rid himself of association with Gardiner, proclaiming his loyalty to Edward Seymour on the spot. Dastardly man. Edward accepts his loyalty and they become allies.

King Henry commissions Hans Holbein to paint a portrait of him. This will turn out to be the last painting ever done of Henry VIII and it is famous around the world. The actual portrait no longer survives, however, there are several copies done by other artists of the portrait on display throughout the UK that you can still view today.

The Duke of Suffolk is gravely ill. This part was so difficult to watch. Brigitte tells him a messenger from the King has arrived. The messenger tells the Duke that the King has heard of his illness and has asked to see him. Brigitte is incredulous (and rightly so!) and tells the messenger no. But, Charles, being the ever loyal friend and servant to Henry insists on going despite the fact that he is so weak he can barely stand on his own two feet. It’s so sad to see how pale and sickly he is. I was more than a little irritated at Henry for summoning Brandon that way when he was so sick. I know they probably were both thinking it would be the last time they would ever see eachother, but it’s so awful of the King to put Charles through that.

Henry's Shock
Seen a ghost
Mother's Love
Catherine and Mary

As Holbein is creating the sketches for his portrait of the King, it almost looks as if something walks into Henry’s peripheral view. And then you see Catherine of Aragon. Exciting!!!! The King rightfully looks as though he has seen a ghost, and asks Catherine what she is doing there. She replies that has come to see her daughter. She tells Henry he has been unkind to Mary, and she has wept often to see his treatment of her. ”Is that why you have come back, to chide me? For all that I am not?” Jonathan Rhys Meyers does a very good job of making Henry look embittered and a bit tortured by his own demons. He begs her to go away. I love how she tells him very calmly, “You sent me away before, though I loved you. But I was still your wife in God’s eyes, and still am.” You can see that the King is getting delusional and becomes more “haunted” as the episode continues. I really, truly LOVE that Michael Hirst chose to bring back the first three wives!!!!! I cannot tell you how much I was bouncing in my seat to see Anne Boleyn with Elizabeth! But, I am getting ahead of myself.....

Charles and Henry last visit
Goodbye friend

This next scene just had me shaking my head in exasperation at Henry’s insanity. Charles Brandon has finally made it to his audience with the King. Of course, it wouldn’t be Henry VIII if he wasn’t always thinking first and last about himself, right? The two best friends reminisce and Charles mentions remembering Margaret, the Battle of the Spurs, when the King made him a Duke, “God knows why.” I started crying at this point. It was so bittersweet. Henry asks Charles to trust him, literally trying to “forbid” the Duke not to die. He is confident that once again, the Duke will follow orders..... this shows Henry’s growing insanity, to be sure. He is clearly so full of himself, that he commands the ailing Duke to kneel before him, places his hands on Charles’ head and commands him to be healed. I don’t know if it is all delusion, or some wishful thinking as well on Henry’s part that it will work. I think the King was a bit in denial about being on the verge of losing his most loyal and trusted friend. It really tears at your heart as you see the glorious white horse running again....

Charles dies
Charles laid to rest

And then, he’s gone. Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk dies at home, with Brigitte at his side. It was gut wrenching to watch this part of the show. To the very end, he was loyal to Henry alone.... not even his wife, whom he once loved deeply could persuade him to defy the King. They had grown up together as children.... and he was one of the few closest to Henry to live out his life in its entirety. Not many could claim that, as a couple of the King’s wives could attest to!

It’s even more tragic how we see Brigitte at Charles’ side, along with his son, Henry, however, when the Henry attends the formal funeral, he completely ignores her. Both him and the Duchess of Suffolk completely snub her. I am sure it was not expected otherwise in those times. After all, she was merely his Mistress. However, that had to feel like two knives in the gut rather than just the one.

The King commands that the Duke of Suffolk is to be buried at St. George’s chapel at his expense. I feel it is the very least he can do, after everything the Duke was to him....
Holbein requests an audience with the King, to show him his progress on the portrait. Henry is heartily disappointed, even indignant as to how his portrait “should” look. He orders Holbein to “do it again.”

Henry's Concoctions
Anne and Elizabeth
She reminds me of you

As he is alone, mixing his “potions” to help ease his pain, Henry is confronted with the “ghost” of Anne Boleyn. I admit, since this woman is a personal passion of mine, I gobbled this scene up like a person starving. It was so well written and it’s sooooo good for Anne Boleyn fans to see her recognizing how wonderful Elizabeth has grown to be. She tells the King that although Elizabeth is like her, she is not as “intemperate” as she once was. Henry admits to Anne that he is very proud of their daughter, that he sees the wonderful qualities in her as well. He states that he wishes he could love her more, but that from time to time, she reminds him of Anne, and what she “did to him.”

Anne and Elizabeth 2

Anne tells Henry that she did nothing to him, that all of the accusations against her were false. I love how she looks at him and says, “I thought you knew?” It tears the avid Anne fan apart to hear that, since we all heartily believe she was innocent. She also goes on to mention how poor Catherine Howard lies in the cold ground next to her.... how they were both like two moths drawn to the flame… and burned. And what makes it so tragic, is that it is all so very true.....

Henry's bitterness

Henry starts weeping, and you almost get a sense that he doesn’t quite want her to leave him when he turns and says, “Anne please dont!” But, “Anne, please dont....” what? What did he not want her to do? Please don’t leave? Please don’t torment me? What did he really mean when he said that? That is a question that has stayed in my mind while watching this.

Farewell between Henry and Mary
Farewell between Henry and Elizabeth
Farewell between Catherine and Henry
A kiss goodbye

Now the time has come for King Henry VIII to bid farwell to his family. He is announced by his servant, and all whom are closest to him are in attendance. Henry bids Catherine, Lady Mary and Lady Elizabeth to come closer to him. He tells them he has decided that he will send them away to Greenwich. He will not spend this Christmastide with them or any thereafter. Everyone seems a bit bewildered by the King’s decision, but they accept his command. He asks Mary to be a kind and loving mother to her brother. She begs the King not to leave her an orphan so soon. He touches her face but says nothing more. To Elizabeth, he says that she is so very young, but asks her too to look after her brother. He tells her, “Bless you, child, bless you.” He comes to Catherine Parr. He says, “Cate, the time has come for us to bid farwell. It is God’s will. When I die, I order these gentlemen to treat you as if I were living still. And, if it is your pleasure to remarry, I order that you should have 7,000 pounds a year for your service, as well as your jewels and ornaments.” He then leaves a very grieving court as he walks away for the last time, ordering them all to go......

When he is gone from the room, Elizabeth immediately departs on her own leaving us to wonder what made her do that? Was it grief and a need to be alone? Was it fear of what was to come?

Sweet Jane
Sweet Jane 2
Anger and denial
My poor boy

You hear Jane’s voice….”How’s my son?” You see Henry visibly relax. ”Jane..... ” he says breathlessly......”he is well. I have taken all care of him, sweet Jane and soon he will be King.” Jane keeps saying, “my poor boy.....my poor child,” but Henry insists that is not true, that he is the MOST beloved boy. Jane tells Henry that their son will die young and Henry denies this telling her, “NO, NO!” Jane tells Henry that in essence, due to the way he has raised their son, the way his father raised him..... it will kill Prince Edward. Henry breaks down, seeing his Tudor Dynasty possibly dying before his very eyes.

In council, Henry appoints Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, Lord Protector of Prince Edward during his minority, upon the event of his death, with the support of Chancellor Risley and Arch Bishop Cramner. He commands that a tomb be built and he be buried alongside his true and beloved wife, Jane Seymour at Windsor.

Youthful Henry

You see this dream like sequence of a young King Henry, staring off into space, as the white horse with comes closer and closer to him. Just as the horse reaches the young Henry.....

Henry’s servant wakes him.....he explains that Master Holbein is in the chapel waiting for him. The King slowly makes his way to the chapel.

Unveiling the portrait
Surreal painting
Well done

The portrait is unveiled and immediately you get this rush of what Henry is seeing in the picture...... in essence, his life flashing before his eyes..... the good, the bad, the love, the hate, the friendships and the enemies..... it all comes together right here, right now. It encompassed, in that moment, everything we have loved and hated about The Tudors in the last four years. It couldn’t have ended better when Henry turns to Holbein and tells him “it is well done.” And it was. It was extremely well done and I don’t think many of us will forget this series and what it brought to us any time soon.

The last parts of music at the end were the very last bars of the theme song as the episode draws to a close. Four years of telling a story.....ended. I have to say.....I am grateful that Michael Hirst didn’t actually kill Henry in the end, leaving him as sort of this indestructible myth in a way. It was all very, very well done.

Thank you, Michael Hirst. For giving us this gift that most of us shan’t soon forget. You are an inspiration to those of us who continue to enjoy the history of the Tudor Dynasty and want to learn even more from it.

****All pictures for this post were found on the site - Showtime’s Tudors Wiki (which has been SUPER helpful to me!)
http://tudorswiki.sho.com/photos .

Other pictures also found at