Episode Two opens with a beautiful view of Val d' Or, which at that time was English Occupied France. There is a spectacular picture of grand tents and a magnificent "castle" in which the celebrations will occur.
King Henry arrives with his best friends, Charles Brandon, William Compton, and Anthony Knivert. At the top of the hill overlooking all of the bustling activity below, the men wonder whether or not the King of France is really being truthful or if it's merely a trap to get rid of Henry. The King doesn't second guess it.
King Francis of France appears with his men and Henry decides to ride alone to meet with him. He orders his men "on pain of death" to stay where they are while he rides down the hill to meet his frenemy. (Yes, I said frenemy, lol!) It's a tense moment before they finally greet eachother and ride into the "castle" together.
A royal page starts an announcement, calling Henry King of England, Ireland and France. Henry stops him, stating that he cannot be called King of France while Francis is there. He explains that for this summit, he is "simply Henry, King of England."
You can feel the tension in the air, the French and English generally disliking eachother immensely. Both Kings put their hands on the bible and swear to be true, virtuous, and loving to eachother. They both swear.... gee we shall see how long that lasts!
The Princess Mary and the Dauphin of France are introduced to eachother, as they are to be betrothed at this summit to further bind the agreements between England and France. It's a rather funny moment, because Mary tries to kiss the young prince and he gets all bent out of shape, as boys at that age think kissing is "gross." When she doesn't get the response she had hoped for, Mary pushes the Dauphin down. Henry admonishes her, but not too strongly, and you can tell he is mostly amused by this.
After the more "official business" of the day is over, people celebrate, drink, mingle. King Henry chats with Thomas Moore, asking him what he thinks of the "Palace of Illusions." Of course, Thomas tells him he thinks it's incredible.
Back inside the "Palace of Illusions," there is much entertainment and feasting going on. King Francis stands up and the room quiets down, offering Henry a gift of jewels. Henry graciously thanks Francis. Henry humbly gives the King of France a "pastry." But, when Francis starts to cut into it, a few birds come flying "magically" out of the pastry and everyone is delighted, thinking it a great trick.
Compton sees Brandon eyeing up the women of the French court and asks him what he is thinking of. Charles replies, "I'm thinking, that while I'm here, I should behave like the King of France." LOVE IT! Naughty rogue!
Meanwhile, Francis leans over to speak with Henry, pointing out Lady Mary Boleyn. He tells the young King of England that he "calls her his 'English Mare' he rides her so often." I'm not sure if he's recommending her "services" or trying to insult Henry because she's from England, or if he's just being a piggish competitive male, LOL! Whatever the case, Henry is intrigued enough to summon Mary to his bedchamber.
And, predictably, of course, in the next scene we see Thomas Boleyn, hauling ass to find his daughter, Mary. Once he finds her, he explains what she is to do. She excitedly rushes over to find her sister, Anne to tell her of the King's interest. Anne gives what we will soon find to be a her gorgeous trademark smirk, and Mary flits off to do the King's bidding.
Henry finally shaves his beard, while Thomas Tallis sings for him. He has a very unusual but beautiful voice and Henry likes it too. He ask him his name and tells him he has a good voice. He gives Thomas a "sovereign for his song."
Thomas Boleyn meets with Cardinal Wolsey amongst the outer fringes of the celebrations. He tells Wolsey what Buckingham is planning to assassinate King Henry. Wolsey tells him to speak of it to no one.
And here is where it starts to become very unpeaceful at this summit for Perpetual Peace. While watching several wrestling matches, Francis becomes cocky and starts to regale Henry of the talents of the French, basically starting a pissing match with his so-called brother from England. Henry at first tries to blow off his conceited claims. Finally, the King of England has had enough and challenges the King of France to a wrestling match. Francis does not accept until Henry calls him a coward. Both queens watch helplessly as their husbands start to disrobe in order to wrestle.
Thomas Moore tries to dissuade Henry, but he is insistent. The two Kings engage in the wrestling match. People are placing bets and cheering for their respective sides. Unfortunately for Henry, he is defeated and VERY humiliated. He does NOT like to be shown up by anyone, especially the King of France! He demands a rematch, and gets extremely angry, saying he will NOT sign the treaty. He tells Thomas Moore to go inform Francis that he will not sign it. Thomas becomes very passionate when he counsels Henry, telling him, "Alright! If you want the world to know that the King of England is easily changeable, shallow, intemperate, incapable of keeping his word, then of course, I will go tell them. I am merely your Majesty's humble servant." Henry grudgingly changes his mind.
Henry pulls himself together as Charles Brandon brings him a visitor. It is Mary Boleyn. Of course, Henry sleeps with her after telling her, "Tell me, what French graces have you learned?"
The "Treaty of Universal and Perpetual Peace" is signed by a very simmering Henry. He promply takes his anger out on his bedchamber after the signing, destroying furniture, screaming, etc. France never kept their word, so he should not have been worried, lol!
Back at Whitehall, Henry has quickly lost interest in Mary Boleyn, telling her to leave his chambers. She is NOT invited back.
On top of everything else, Henry finds out the his wife's nephew Charles, has now become Charles V of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor. He wants to forget about France altogether, much to Wolsey's discomfort. Henry demands that Wolsey make arrangements to visit Charles. He now wants to do business with Spain instead of France.
Thomas Boleyn pays a visit to the Duke of Buckingham, who is now more determined than ever to usurp the throne from Henry. Boleyn pretends to be following along with what Buckingham's plans, even though we all know he's already betrayed the Duke. Buckingham tells Boleyn in no uncertain terms, "You betray me, Boleyn... I'll feed your body to me dogs."
Henry grills Wolsey on any information about the goings-on at court and Wolsey happily informs the King about Buckingham's plans. Henry tells Wolsey to invite him to court for the new year, but warns him not to say anything to alarm the Duke. Wolsey his happy to do the King's bidding.
The King and Thomas Moore have a chat. Henry asks him about his children. He explains they are all well and he even educates his children. The King calls Thomas an idealist. Henry goes on to talk about a book he was sent from Urbino, Italy, called "The Prince," by Machiavelli. He discusses the virtues of what Machiavelli discusses with regard to ruling. Henry ponders a passage in the book, wondering if it's better to be a loved ruler, or a "feared" one. Thomas doesn't have an answer for him. Henry confesses that Buckingham is going to try to kill him.
Lady Blount pays Cardinal Wolsey a visit. As she promised, she has come to him when she can no longer hide her condition. She asks if he has a message from the King. He does not. He does inform her, however, that her husband is reconciled to her "condition," as he has been made an Earl for his "inconvenience." He does not make any promises as to whether or not Henry will recognize the child as his. It's clear Lady Blount was hoping the King would feel something for her and ask for her. Not going to happen.
At Buckingham's Estate in Penshurst, he is building an army and men are pledging their allegiance to him in the fight against the King.
Cardinal Wolsey tells Thomas Moore that the King has demanded he write up a treaty uniting them with the Spanish. Thomas, of course, is heartily disappointed. He also confesses to Wolsey, he feels the King no longer cares for him or trusts him as he once did. The Cardinal bluntly informs him that in order to keep the love of any king, you must be prepared to give up what you hold most dear. Thomas confesses it's his intregity that he holds most dear. He also refuses that he would give it up for anyone. Foreshadowing, are we???? That will soon be Thomas Moore's theme!
At New Year's celebrations, Henry receives gifts and greetings from people of his court. Of course, the Duke of Buckingham presents himself. He reluctantly kisses the King's ring, and you almost wonder if he's going to be ballsy enough to just kill Henry right there. Everyone has their eye on the pair, and it's intense. The Duke presents Henry with a gift of a clock with words engraved on it. It says, "With humble true heart." What a joke, as the Duke clearly means NONE of those words! Henry pretends that he is touched by the gift.
While all this is going on at Hampton Court, Lady Blount give birth to a baby boy. I bet she can't wait for the King to find out!
The next day, Compton and Knivert arrest the Duke of Buckingham. He goes along peaceably so that his men are not implicated or arrested as well. He is confident that no one will judge against him in this case. Little does he realize Henry is much more devious than he ever gave him credit for. Henry institutes a court of high steward to judge the Duke's case. Twenty peers of the court, with Norfolk first in line. The Cardinal tries to council against finding Buckingham guilty, for fear that it would incite people to rise against the King. Henry appears to agree with the Cardinal. Even Wolsey is not aware of what's really going to happen. The King shares with his closest friend, Charles Brandon, his true intentions, with instructions for him as well.
As the King and Brandon play tennis, Thomas Boleyn, watching the game from the sidelines, questions his daughter Mary about whether or not the King calls for her at night. She sadly confesses that he does not. Boleyn is not pleased to hear this.
Under orders from the King, Charles locates the Duke of Norfolk and "encourages" him to judge the Duke of Buckingham based upon His Majesty's wishes. It's clear the two have a general distaste for eachother and this situation only serves to make it that much more tenuous. To further encourage Norfolk, Brandon presents him with a ring, which is revealed once belonged to Norfolk's father, who was executed by King Henry VII. It's very obvious that having this ring returned to Norfolk is very meaningful. Brandon also admonishes the Duke to have a care for his inheritance. There's an obvious threat in there, of course. The King wants what he wants.
At Buckingham's "trial," he is brought in, looking very confident and sure that he will be released. Unfortunately, this is not to be the case. Norfolk reads his verdict. They find him guilty of all charges and sentences him to death. Buckingham is incredulous and angry and blames Wolsey. Ironically, for once, it's not really Wolsey's fault. Buckingham is thrown into his cell, where he finds the gift he had previously given the King. Nice touch, Henry, nice touch.
While out riding, Henry receives the news that Lady Blount has borne him a son and he is elated.
Buckingham is being brought to the block, where he is to be executed. He is struggling the entire way.
Henry arrives at the place where Lady Blount gave birth, and bursts into her bedchamber, impatient to see his new son. He immediately strides over and picks him up, having to see the child for himself.
Buckingham, struggling every bit of the way, so that he had to be forced down, is executed while his daughter watches.
Henry thanks God for his son, holding the baby close. It's obvious he is choosing to recognize the child as his own. He rides off yelling, "I have a son, God, can you hear me? I have a son!"
Back at court, there are fireworks, cheering, feasting and much celebration over the King's new son. Henry callously, yet gleefully tells Charles, "I knew it wasn't my fault." The Cardinal informs the Lady Blount that her son will be recognized by the King, that he will be a Duke, and have his own establishment befitting his station. The lady is clearly sad that the King is offering nothing to her.
Queen Katherine enters and a hush falls over the room. With much dignity, she raises a glass to toast her husband's new son. What a classy woman. She had all the right moves. It's sad it never did her any good. :( After she leaves, Henry toasts loudly, "To my son!"
The old Pope dies and it is revealed that there is no way Cardinal Wolsey will be elected to be the next Pope.
The Queen, in her sadness, immediately retreats to the chapel in bare feet, revealing her utmost piety. She prays fervently for a son, but alas, it's too late for her.
Anne Boleyn is summoned by her father Thomas, back to England. She is curious as to why she has been sent back home. Thomas informs her that the King is no longer interested in her sister. He also goes on to explain that in order for her family to rise in the King's favor, Anne should gain Henry's interest. Her father is confident in her abilities to keep in intrigued far longer than Mary could. He tells her there is something "deep and dangerous" in her, that her eyes are like "dark hooks for the soul."
Her father's flattery works... she concedes to do his bidding, although, I'm sure she really didn't have much of a choice in the matter.
The King rides along in his coach with Cardinal Wolsey. He questions Wolsey about his meeting with Charles V. It is revealed that the Emperor wants an alliance with England against the French. It pleases Henry greatly. The King then goes on to lament that he does not have such a great palace as Hampton Court... I believe hinting that he wanted it. Wolsey, realizing this and wanting to stay in the King's favor gives it to him, even though you can tell it almost kills him to do so. Henry jokes, "With the furnishings?"
Keep your eyes open for Episode 3!!!!
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