Episode 2.04

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Peter O'Toole as Pope Paul III - S2E4
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Season: 2

Original Air Date: April 20, 2008

Colm McCarthy

Michael Hirst

Name of Episode: The Act of Succession

Special Guests: Peter O'Toole


Questions of faith dominate the court. As the infant Princess Elizabeth is baptised, the 'Act of Succession' is unveiled declaring that only children of Henry and Anne are legitimate successors to the English throne. A law is passed where every Royal subject must take an oath, on pain of death, recognising the validity of the King's new marriage and the supremacy of Henry VIII in all matters.
Moore and Fisher end up in the tower as neither one will sign the Act of Succession.
Anne has her brother George remove lady Elinor from court, once she finds out Lady Eleanor Luke has been Henry's mistress.
Anne is with child again and on her father's advice presents Henry with a mistress she has chosen (her cousin Madge Shelton) , rather than give Henry the opportunity to choose a mistress on his own.
Henry visits Elizabeth at Hatfield while he is on progress and predicts great things for her.

Full Recap

Archbishop Thomas Cranmer baptizes Elizabeth, Henry and Anne's daughter. Henry discusses a new bill for Parliament with Thomas Cromwell. The bill states that the line of succession is vested in Henry and Anne's children. The bill should also include some sort of sanction against those who oppose Henry and Anne's marriage. However, everyone will be given a chance to demonstrate their loyalty.
At Ludlow Castle, in the Welsh Marshes, Ambassador Chapuys discusses the birth of Elizabeth with the Lady Mary, daughter of Katherine. He assures her Queen Katherine is still strong even though he himself is not allowed to visit her. Katherine still begs Henry to be allowed to see her daughter. Mary tells Chapuys that she believes the king still cares for her.
Bishop Tunstall visits Thomas More. They discuss the fact that Bishop Fisher is still under house arrest and the bishop asks, on behalf of King Henry, why Thomas wasn't present at Anne's coronation. Thomas More counters the question with a story about Emperor Tiberius.
Mark Smeaton plays the violin, shirtless, and asks George Boleyn whether he plays. The answer is "all the time" and then Mark unbuttons George's shirt.
The king visits Lady Eleanor and they make love.
Charles Brandon is teaching his young son archery when Thomas Cromwell arrives on horseback. Thomas is invited to shoot as well and hits the bull's eye. Cromwell tells Charles that the King wants him and his wife back at court. Henry misses Charles, even though he favours the imperialist cause. Surprisingly, they acknowledge to each other that they both have sympathy for Katherine. Cromwell also tells Charles about the new bill investing the succession in the children Henry will have with Anne. Henry wants to know whether Charles will support this bill.
In the nursery, Henry watches as Anne and her ladies fuss over baby Elizabeth.
Henry tells Anne she cannot breastfeed her daughter, queens don't do that, especially not a daughter, that is why she has a wet nurse. He also tells her that baby Elizabeth will be given her own establishment at Hatfield where Lady Mary, Katherine's daughter will attend her. Anne assures Henry she will give him a son, while Henry's mistress, Lady Eleanor, watches.
Thomas More tells his family that he now has less income and those who can, must live and eat at their own homes.
Lady Mary is welcomed to Hatfield in Hertfordshire by Lady Margaret Brian, the governess of Princess Elizabeth.
At court, it is Christmas again. Henry dances with Anne and Thomas Wyatt talks to George Boleyn. Thomas pokes fun at some of George's new titles and receives some 'friendly' advice. Anne gives Henry a gift made by Holbein. Chapuys associate, William Brereton, the one who shot at Anne and missed, suggests he poison Anne. Chapuys refuses and says the timing is not right. Charles Brandon also returns to court. His gift to Henry is his vote in Parliament on the new bill of succession.
Anne sees the way Henry looks at Eleanor and orders her brother to get rid of her. She tells her sister they must find her a new husband and she tells the king that she is pregnant again.
The king and his privy council discuss the act of succession. The sanction against people speaking against his marriage, the Lady Anne or their children is death and forfeiture of their goods to the crown. The act also demands that his subjects, if so commanded, swear an oath of adherence to this bill.
The Pope is seen praying. Afterwards he discusses this new oath and the related dangers to his flock with Cardinal Campeggio. Bishop Fisher is made a cardinal, to see what the king will do to a 'prince of the Church'.
The king visits his baby daughter Elizabeth. From afar, he acknowledges his other daughter, Mary, with a slight bow.
George Boleyn accuses the Lady Eleanor and tells her the jewels, his Majesty's jewels, were found in her room. No one will believe otherwise and he suggests she return to her family.
Anne hears her ladies in waiting giggling over some poetry written by Thomas Wyatt. She chides them and suggests they read the Bible instead. Then her father Thomas Boleyn enters the room. He has just returned from Paris. The French king Francis sent Henry and Anne wedding presents but refuses to officially acknowledge Anne as queen so long as Katherine is alive. Anne tells her father that she fears the king will take another mistress now that she is with child. Her father tells her this is only natural and probably expected of kings. He suggests that Anne should make sure the choice of the king's mistress is hers, not his.
Thomas Cromwell visits Bishop Fisher in jail.
Henry asks Anne why she got rid of the Lady Eleanor and Anne replies that she stole something precious. Anne then has one of her ladies in waiting present the king with a small portrait of baby Elizabeth.
Cromwell presents King Henry with a list of institution and people who refuse to take the oath. These institutions will be dissolved and their wealth will be transferred to the king's exchequer. He also informs the king about the Pope's decision to make Bishop Fisher a cardinal. Henry asks Cromwell about Thomas More, will he take the oath? Cromwell does not reply.
Anne visits her daughter Elizabeth. She offers Lady Mary a chance to return to court provided she accepts Anne as queen. Mary replies that she recognises no queen but her mother.
Thomas More visits Thomas Cromwell. They discuss the rumours that Sir Thomas will refuse to take the oath of succession. Sir Thomas proclaims he has no opinion of the marriage of Henry and Anne. On the subject of the king's supremacy over the Church Sir Thomas mentions the king's own pamphlet Assertio septem sacramentorum (in full Assertio septem sacramentorum adversus Martinum Lutherum). The paper written by the king supports the divine origin of the papacy. He gives Thomas Cromwell a copy of the pamphlet.
Anne is doing needlework and talks to cousin Madge, one of her ladies in waiting. Anne gives her her blessing to become the king's mistress. Anne explains that as long as she is with child, the king needs someone to lie with. However, the king's mistress must be someone she can trust and they are family.
Henry receives Ambassador Chapuys. He presents a letter from Katherine who pleads to be allowed to nurse her daughter Mary, who has fallen gravely ill. Henry says he will send his personal physician but he cannot allow them to be together for fear of them conspiring against him. Henry tells him that Katherine could wage a war against him and Chapuys cannot deny it.
Sir Thomas More tells his family he is summoned to appear at Lambeth palace to take the oath. He tells his family to be good and says farewell.
When Henry comes to call on Anne for a ride, her lady in waiting, Lady Sheldon aka cousin Madge, tells her the queen is indisposed but offer to go riding with the king instead, with the permission of the queen. Henry accepts. Anne is seen crying in her bed.
Thomas More arrives at Lambeth Palace in a rowboat. Henry talks to Madge. Thomas More appears before a group of clergymen under the lead of Archbishop Cranmer. He is willing to swear to the validity of the succession, but not the rest of it. He is accused of forcing the king to write the aforementioned pamphlet but denies it. When asked why he will not swear, he remains silent.
The king enjoys Madge's company during a meal and he kisses her.
Thomas More is jailed.

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Unanswered Questions

Best Moments

  • Cromwell meets with Thomas Moore to ascertain his feelings on the Act of Succession which also incorporates Henry as Supreme Head of the Church. More makes it clear he supports the Act of Succession, but can't sanction Henry as head of the church of England.
Thomas Cromwell questions More

  • Mary Tudor denies Anne Boleyn as Queen and only acknowledges her mother, Katherine as the rightful queen of England.
Princess Mary and Anne Boleyn

  • Anne's disturbing father tells her she must pick a mistress for the king that they may control.
Thomas and Anne Boleyn

  • Anne weeping in her bed, alone, after she encourages Madge Shelton to be the king's mistress.
Episode 2.04 - The Tudors Wiki

Best Quotes

  • Katherine of Aragon -"I am sure His Majesty will one day relent. For I think, I believe, with all my heart, that he still loves and cares for me."

  • " His majesty is aware that you favor the Imperialist cause. You say so openly in the council and have perhaps a great sympathy for the Dowager Princess."

  • Henry VIII -The Princess will shortly be given her own establishment at Hatfield. Among others, the Lady Mary will attend and wait on her."

  • Pope Paul III -" A shepherd cannot stand idly by while the wolf enters the fold and threatens his flock. I have decided to make Fisher a Cardinal. You will send his hat to England. Let's see if the King is still prepared to prosecute and torture a Prince of the church."

  • Henry VIII -'Ah, my Elizabeth. Who knows Mistress Bryan; perhaps one day this little girl will preside over empires."

  • Thomas Boleyn (to Anne) -" It is natural for a man, when his wife is big with child and not willing to lie with him, to find some temporary consolation elsewhere, and with Kings, it is properly expected. Sweetheart, listen to me, for the danger to you and to us is not that the King takes a mistress but that he takes the wrong one; someone we can't control who would seek to control the King. But if you suppose the King is sure to take a mistress, then make sure she is your choice and not his."

  • Thomas Cromwell -'Majesty, I have just heard that the Pope intends to make Reverend Fisher a cardinal.Apparently he has already dispatched a cardinal's hat.'
  • Henry VIII -"Then Fisher will have to wear it upon his shoulders,for by the time it gets here, he won't have a head to put it on."

  • Anne Boleyn -" Lady Mary, I am here in kindness. I would welcome you back to court and reconcile you with your father, if you would only recognize me as Queen."
  • Princess Mary Tudor -" I recognize no Queen but my mother. But if the King's mistress would intercede with the King on my behalf, then I would be grateful."

  • Anne Boleyn (to George Boleyn about Lady Eleanor) -'Get rid of her.'


  • In reality Mary was not as controlled as shown in the series when entering Elizabeth's household. Upon being told that she was to pay her respects to the Princess she lost her temper, called Anne a string of names and said that "she would call the Princess "sister" as she called the Duke of Richmond "brother" and ran to her room in tears.

  • In reality the scene where Mary tells Anne that she knows of no other Queen save her mother happened via a lady in waiting and it was not a face to face confrontation. Anne was visiting Elizabeth at Hatfield and she and her ladies happened to enter the chapel at the same time that Mary was praying. Mary left the chapel first, curtseying to the Host as she did so. Seeking to please her or else otherwise mistaken one of Anne's ladies told her that Mary had curtseyed to her before leaving. Anne was thrilled and said that had they seen Mary do it they would have done likewise. Anne dispatched a lady-in-waiting to convey a message to Mary which in essence was that the Queen greeted her and sent her love and if Mary would acknowledge her she would intercede with her father and welcome her back at court. Mary's reply was crushing, "It is not fit that Her Majesty would send me a message nor is it fit that she could, Her Grace being so far from this place." Mary went on to say that if "Madam de Pembroke" would intercede with her father she would be grateful and as for the curtsey she made "it was to her maker and mine and so she is deceived as are they who would seek otherwise".


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Episode 2.04 - The Tudors Wiki
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