It’s all about whose side you are on during the fourth episode of this season of The Tudors. Do the people around King Henry VIII side with him and Queen Anne or do their loyalties lie with Catherine?
Princess Elizabeth is baptized and Henry reveals his "Act of Succession" declaring that only children of Henry and Anne are legitimate successors to the English throne. Of course, that makes first child, Lady Mary, null and void in the eyes of her father. (Yet Mary still holds out hope that her father loves and cares for her.) Mary is further shown her place by having to care for Elizabeth with other ladies. The only care Henry really shows for Mary is after a visit with baby Elizabeth, he spies Mary and bows to her before riding off. Not a word is said to her.
Later, when Henry is told that Mary has fallen very ill and Catherine would like to care for her, he will not allow the two to see or speak to each other fearing they will plot against him.
Meanwhile, a law is passed across the land where every royal subject must take an oath, on to recognize the validity of the King’s new marriage to Anne and the supremacy of Henry VIII in all matters, including faith.
Most famously, Sir Thomas More, called out especially for not showing up at Anne’s coronation, is sought out to swear the oath. While he relays that he is still a loyal subject of the king and swears his utter faithfulness and loyalty to him, he does not take the oath. This gets him imprisoned in the Tower of London for treason.
The king’s affair with Lady Elenore continues, much to Anne’s dismay. So at Christmas, she has her brother work to get rid of Elenore. He sets Elenore up, telling her that when her chambers are searched, the queen’s jewels are found. Though both know it is a lie, she knows the king would believe the queen’s brother over her. She then is banished back to her family.
Anne also announces to Henry that Christmas she is "with child" again. Because she cannot allow conjugal relations with Henry now that she’s pregnant again, Anne seeks advice from her father. He suggests Anne finds Henry a suitable mistress; she decides on her cousin Madge. When Madge rides off with Henry one morning, Anne weeps in her bed knowing what will transpire.
While this is all very interesting for those who like to see history come to life, this one-hour episode dragged on for what seemed forever. Yes, it’s important to understand all that went along with the complicated divide from Rome and the church, there has to be a way to cut to the chase. Do we really need to see two of More’s family gatherings before he has to go and refuse taking the oath. Yawn.
Hopefully, as has been previewed, with More’s pending execution, next week will be a little more exciting to watch.