Anyone who thinks today’s politics are nasty hasn’t been studying enough history or watching The Tudors. The extremes people will go to in order to get what they want is amazing and it is what made Henry VIII a larger than life figure throughout the ages.
Episode 202 begins with Christmas in England. Anne and Henry exchange top-of-the-line quality gifts. Henry is also very intriqued with a fine chalice until he realizes it has come from Catherine. He then sends it off.
With the English Reformation now in full force, Henry tells Anne that he wants them to travel to France where he can present her before the French King. (A gesture that makes Anne fall to her knees.)
This is by no means just a friendly meet-and-greet. Not only does Henry get back the official queen jewels from Catherine so he can present them to Anne, Henry tells Anne he has something very important to do before they set sail. Important indeed. He makes Anne the Marchioness of Pembroke and set her up with 100,000 pounds a year. Historically, it made her the first English female commoner to become a noble by creation rather than through inheritance.
Of course, there’s a great shot of Anne’s father and brother eyeing each other during the ceremony because they know they are now able to ride on her royal coat tails.
And how convienient that after the Archbishop of Canterbury William Warham dies, Anne gets the Boleyn family’s chaplain, Thomas Cranmer, appointed to the vacant position.
Traveling to France, Henry wants to get the Francis I’s approval for him to marry Anne and to be on his side when battling the powerful church. Of course, he does. However, we do learn that the French King knows many secrets about Anne Boleyn from the days she and her sister, Mary, spent as ladies-in-waiting for the current French Queen.
If all goes as planned, Anne will get her way and he will keep those secrets. Certainly, as Anne whispers to her sister, she is set to get her way with Henry. She lures him to bed with the desire to, "let me conceive and we will have a son."
Ah, but all of this is not without those unsupportive types. From the start, Anne is quite clear that she is disliked as a playing card with her head cut off is secretly left in her apartment. In France, there’s a failed assassination attempt of Anne when Henry enters the room.
Sure, we all know how the story ends, so foreshadowing is not subtle. However, it is just as fun to watch 16th Century conniving as it is in today’s world.