The Game of Crowns: The Tudors (2023) Movie Script

- [Narrator] For those
in power or vying for it,
there can be no rest.
(Henry VII battle cries)
Over centuries, kings
and queens are crowned,
overthrown, imprisoned,
reinstated and murdered.
- [Dr. Emmerson] If this had
been the work of fiction,
we would think it was
pushing credulity.
- [Dr. Norton] He still did not
have a legitimate male heir.
- [Dr. Emmerson] And I think this is
the beginning of the end.
- [Narrator] This is a
dangerous game of strategy,
cunning and deception.
- [Dr. Norton]
Mary is undoubtedly
the biggest threat to Elizabeth.
- [Narrator] Dynasties
will rise and fall
all in answer to the
ever present question
that fueled civil
war and blood feuds,
which pitted brother
against brother,
father against son,
cousin against cousin.
- [Dr. Emmerson] Family
who killed one another.
- [Narrator] Who will wear
the bloody crown of England?
- [Henry VIII] I am the king,
I am the king!
- [Dr. Norton]
There was no dynasty
like the Tudor
dynasty for drama.
- It's this wretched thing!
- [Narrator] This is
The Game of Crowns.
It's 1484, civil war
has raged on in England
for almost half a century.
Richard III, who's rumored
to have killed his
infant nephews,
the rightful heirs to the throne
after imprisoning them
in the Tower of London,
sits on the throne safe
behind castle walls in London.
He is yet to learn that 250
miles west of the capital,
a young man is about to land
on the craggy
Pembrokeshire coast,
an army of French
mercenaries in tow.
He is about to set his
sights on the very throne
Richard III has battled
and butchered his way onto.
- [Dr. Emmerson] Now
his claim to the throne
was rather tenuous.
His father was the illegitimate
son of Catherine of Valois
and a relationship
with an Owen Tudor.
So not only was his claim
an illegitimate one,
but it also only came
through his mother.
The odds really were
stacked against Henry Tudor
at the Battle of Bosworth.
Not only did Richard III have
the support of the nobles
and a much larger army, he
was also a seasoned warrior,
whereas Henry Tudor had
much less experience.
But the battle was really
decided by the Stanley brothers
who held back their
troops of around 6,000
and waited to see which side
was likely going to win.
They then joined and fought
alongside Henry Tudor.
- [Narrator] On the
battlefield at Bosworth,
two armies clashed to decide
who will sit on the throne.
On the battlefield at Bosworth,
a king will die caught
in the fray of soldiers,
swords and horses hooves.
On the battlefield at Bosworth,
a king will emerge
triumphant and go on to found
one of the greatest
dynasties in British history.
His name is Henry Tudor.
Born January the 28th, 1457
to Margaret Beaufort and
Owen Tudor in Pembrokeshire,
Henry's claim to the
throne is a tenuous one.
- Henry VII had a very
difficult hereditary claim
to the throne, of which
he was well aware.
It was almost no claim at all.
- [Narrator] He
becomes king in 1485
when King Richard III is slain
at the battle of Bosworth field.
He is crowned King Henry VII
of England on October the 30th.
Knowing that many of the
nobles surrounding him
have a stronger claim to
the throne than he does,
Henry is endlessly paranoid.
His reign is one of terror.
- He very much rules
with an iron fist.
People are scared of Henry VII
and he rules through finances.
Very cunningly, he dates
his accession to the throne
to the day before Bosworth field
and that means that anyone
who fought for Richard III
was actually committing
treason against their
lawful king of England,
which means of course he
can seize their property
or say that they owe him money.
And this very much
keeps nobility in line,
but he doesn't
rule through love.
- [Narrator] A key
part of establishing
the Tudor dynasty on the throne
is Henry's marriage
to Elizabeth,
the heiress to the House of York
in a union which unites the
two warring families as one.
- And the House of
York had always used
the symbol of the white rose
and we see it all the time
in Yorkist iconography.
The house of Lancaster
had on occasion
used a red rose symbol
and Henry very
cleverly actually,
noted these two symbols
and created the Tudor rose,
which is a red and white rose
and which symbolized the union
of the House of Lancaster
and the House of York.
- [Narrator] Henry
knew that any children
they should have would be of
both the Lancastrian
and the York line,
ending in perpetuity
the wars of the roses.
They have a successful marriage
and no less than seven
children are born,
securing the next generation
in the Tudor dynasty.
- [Dr. Norton] Prince
Arthur is their eldest
and he is the future
of the dynasty.
- Arthur, Prince of Wales,
was supposed to be the heir
that succeeded to Henry Tudor
and much hope and
expectation lay on his shoulders.
- He wants to use ideas of
the legendary king
of the Britons,
because of course
the Tudors are Welsh,
the descendants of the Britons.
So Arthur is named Arthur,
to reference King Arthur
and he's raised in
his own household
and he's raised
to become a king.
- [Dr. Emmerson] He was
the Prince of Wales.
He therefore set
up court at Ludlow.
In order to secure the realm
and to have alliances
with other countries,
he was also married to
the Infanta of Spain,
Catherine of Aragon.
Tragically their marriage
was to be a short lived one
for Arthur contracted
the sweating sickness
and died suddenly in 1502.
- [Dr. Norton]
This is devastating
both for Henry
and for Elizabeth.
- [Narrator] All of
his father's hopes
are undone in his
eldest son's death
and must now rely upon his
only remaining male heir,
Prince Henry.
- Everything changed for
Henry when Arthur died.
- He is the second son of
Henry's VII and Elizabeth York.
- From having been the
spare, he was now the heir
and all of England's hopes
rested upon his shoulders.
- And he's always intended
to be a great nobleman,
but of course isn't
raised to become king.
He's declared Prince of Wales
and he now becomes the sole
focus of his father's ambitions
and his father's efforts,
because his father
has no brothers,
he has no other surviving sons.
So Henry VIII is the future
of the Tudor Dynasty.
- [Narrator] Henry
VII died in 1509,
leaving the throne to his 17
year old son, now Henry VIII.
- Henry VII was
never a popular king.
Most of his court feared him,
so on his death there is a
sense of celebration, you know,
of joy that England
is now gonna get this
young and charismatic king.
Henry VIII very much
resembled his grandfather,
Edward IV who'd been
very, very popular
and there is a real sense
of hope for the future.
He's seen as a true
renaissance prince.
He's highly educated, he's
incredibly good looking.
The young Henry VII was
described as so beautiful,
he'd make a pretty woman.
- [Dr. Emmerson]
He was very much
conversant in the
language of courtly love.
He enjoyed singing,
dancing, composing music,
and also playing instruments.
- He's athletic, he's
very into his sports.
He's very muscular and well
built. He's very, very tall.
He is a king of which
England can be proud
and there is very
much celebration
at his accession to
the throne in 1509.
- [Dr. Emmerson] When Henry
VIII ascended to the throne,
one of his first acts was
to ask his brother's widow,
Catherine of Aragon, for
her hand in marriage.
- [Narrator] However, to marry,
the new king has to gain
a special dispensation
from the Pope in Rome.
The Pope approves this and
Henry and Catherine are wed
and crowned King and
Queen of England,
strengthening once again
England's alliance with Spain
and the rest of Catholic Europe.
- [Dr. Norton] When
she marries Henry VIII
after several years of waiting,
she must have felt that all
her prayers have been answered.
He is incredibly good looking
and undoubtedly Catherine fell
deeply in love with Henry.
Catherine of Aragon was raised
her whole life to be queen.
Both her parents are monarchs.
Her mother is
Isabella of Castile
and her father is
Ferdinand, King of Aragon.
So she's incredibly royal.
- She was wily and determined
and also courageous.
Catherine in many ways was
an ideal queen consort.
She was supportive of Henry
and his many campaigns abroad,
but she was also happy
to be subservient to him.
She was a loyal wife to Henry
and also expected loyalty back.
- [Narrator] Catherine proves
herself to be a good wife
and a great queen.
Henry adores her and the
country follows suit.
She fulfills all
her duties as queen,
save one, securing a male heir.
- [Dr. Emmerson] For
the first 10 years
of her life married to Henry,
Catherine spent
most of it pregnant
and tragically,
out of six children,
only one was to survive.
In 1516, after many years
of sadly losing children,
Catherine of Aragon
gave birth to a daughter
who was christened Mary.
Now it is often stated
that Henry was disappointed
at the birth of a daughter,
but actually I think
we have evidence
that he was relieved that at
last a child was surviving
into its infancy.
- And while for Catherine,
as the daughter of
a female sovereign,
the idea of a reigning
queen is not so alien.
For Henry, coming out of
the wars of the roses,
it is a terrifying prospect.
- [Narrator] With Catherine
six years older than Henry
and nearing middle age,
the king begins to worry.
With only one daughter
and no legitimate sons,
the succession of the Tudor
dynasty is not yet assured.
The king prays and prays,
asking God for a son and for
a wife who could give him one.
In his wife's gaggle
of ladies in waiting,
he finds the answer
to his prayers.
A young, fertile and beautiful
woman named Anne Boleyn.
Henry had many mistresses
during his marriage to
Catherine of Aragon,
but Anne was a wily woman
and does not want to fall victim
to every whim and
wish of the King,
like many of his mistresses had,
including her own
sister Mary Boleyn.
- [Dr. Emmerson] Henry VIII
was actually quite slow
in his advances
towards Anne Boleyn,
who joined his court in 1522.
He actually had a relationship
with Anne's sister,
Mary Boleyn, in
the interim years
before he turned his
attentions towards her.
But we know for certain by 1526,
that Henry VIII was falling
head over heels in
love for Anne Boleyn.
- [Dr. Norton] Anne
Boleyn had always looked
for a good marriage,
because marriage is a way
towards social status for women.
There is no doubt that
Henry adored Anne.
He loved her deeply.
In his letters he talks about
being struck by
the dart of love.
- [Narrator] She is insistent
if he was ever to have her,
it would be as his
wife and queen.
- She favored the
French fashions
but also she was
highly intelligent.
She had been
afforded an education
that was quite different to
the women around her in England
and she also had very
radical religious ideas too.
So she really rebuffed
Henry's advances
until she got to the point where
Henry offered her
a legitimate path,
a hand in marriage and a crown.
- [Narrator] For the second time
pertaining to his relationship
with Catherine of Aragon,
the King has to seek a special
dispensation from the Pope.
- [Dr. Emmerson]
The only real way
that Henry was going to be
able to marry Anne was if
the Pope would annul his
marriage to Catherine of Aragon.
And Anne and Henry knew
that the best mechanism
for achieving that end
would be through the King's
minister, Thomas Wolsey.
- [Narrator] At Henry's behest,
Cardinal Wolsey travels to Rome,
where he'll petition
Pope Clement
to grant the annulment of the
King's marriage to the Queen
on the grounds that it was and
had always been illegitimate.
- [Dr. Norton] Anne and Henry
place their hopes
in Cardinal Wolsey
and he was dispatched to Rome
to try to bring
about the annulment.
- [Narrator] The cardinal
appeals to Pope Clement
for an annulment of Henry
and Catherine's marriage
on the basis that the
initial dispensation was void
as the marriage clearly
disobeyed instructions
in the book of Leviticus,
which states that the
marriage of a brother's wife
was incestuous and
would bear no children.
- [Dr. Norton] Henry wanted
to annul his marriage
to Catherine Aragon on the basis
that she had been
his brother's wife.
So they're related to within
the first degree of affinity,
they are, as far as the
church is concerned,
brother and sister.
- [Narrator] This became a
matter of international tension.
Catherine's nephew, the Holy
Roman Emperor, Charles V,
is vehemently against
the annulment,
as is Queen Catherine herself.
Pressure comes from all
sides for Pope Clement,
as Queen Catherine
and King Charles V
urge him not to
annul the marriage
and Wolsey and Henry push for
the dispensation to be made.
- [Dr. Norton] While the pope
is in the emperor's power,
he will never
grant the annulment
of the Emperor's
aunt's marriage.
The English try, and
Cardinal Wolsey tries,
but he's in an
impossible situation.
He can never do it.
He will never be able
to annul this marriage.
- [Narrator] Caught between the
wills of two powerful kings,
the Pope delays his decision
as long as possible,
the indecision infuriating
both Henry and Anne,
who begin to doubt Wolsey's
loyalty to the crown
over the church.
Wolsey returns to England
without the Pope's annulment.
- Wolsey ultimately fails to
secure an annulment for Henry
from his marriage to
Catherine of Aragon
and this leads to
his dramatic fall.
- [Narrator] Enraged
by Wolsey's failure
to secure the annulment,
Wolsey is arrested.
Henry turns to more
drastic measures.
Thomas Cromwell, one of
Henry's key ministers at court,
proposes a new plan to grant
Henry's divorce, reformation.
- Henry knows that the
Pope is not going to grant
his annulment to his first
queen, Catherine of Aragon.
- There is no
solution other than
breaking away from the Pope.
Because if the Pope will
not grant the annulment,
then perhaps the church
needs to move from the Pope.
- And therefore he
is greatly influenced
by these new thinkers,
including Anne Boleyn,
and taking the
unprecedented step
to break with the Church of Rome
and to install himself as King,
as the head of his new church.
- As soon as Thomas
Cranmer is confirmed
as Archbishop of Canterbury,
he disavows his oath of
allegiance to the Pope
and declares the English
church separate from Rome
with the King as
its supreme head
and this is the moment
that the English church
goes its own way.
- [Dr. Emmerson] In
order to do this,
Henry actually elevates
himself beyond kingship
and proclaims that he is an
Emperor of his own empire.
This is really the beginnings
of the British Empire.
This is where it all begins.
- [Narrator] Anne and Cromwell's
shared reformist views
make them indomitable allies.
And so begins to
break from Rome,
fueled more by political affair
than theological dispute.
Having installed himself
as the supreme head
of this new church in England,
Henry grants his own divorce
and begins preparations
to marry Anne Boleyn.
Catherine is given the
title, The Dowager Princess.
Such was Catherine's
impression on people
that even her enemy, Thomas
Cromwell, said of her,
"If not for her sex,
she could have defied all
the heroes of history".
In the winter of 1532,
Anne and Henry journey to Calais
to gain the approval of
King Francis I of France.
In a private
conference with Anne,
he gives them his blessing.
And by the time they
reach Dover on their ship,
they are lovers.
They wed hurriedly in secret
and again publicly
two months later
and Anne is crowned queen.
- [Dr. Emmerson] Henry
had moved heaven and earth
to marry Anne Boleyn,
and the price for crowning her
was the delivery of the
much longed for male heir
that Henry so desired.
But the child that Anne
had in 1533 wasn't a son,
it was a daughter, the
future Elizabeth I.
- Elizabeth was born
at Greenwich Palace
in September, 1533.
She's the first child of
Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn,
the first since the
break with Rome.
So her birth was really
looked forward to.
Henry certainly was
expecting a son.
We know that in fact,
because he prepares
the birth announcements
for the birth of a Prince.
Unfortunately for her parents,
of course, she is a girl.
And the birth announcements are
amended to add an
"s" to say Princess.
- Now some historians
have suggested that
Henry was furious at Anne
for the delivery of a daughter
and indeed that this
was the beginning
of the end of
their relationship,
but actually we
have good evidence
that Henry consoled
Anne and suggested that
the delivery of a
healthy daughter
was a good sign for the
sons that would follow.
- Elizabeth's birth
was disappointing.
He really did want
to have a son,
but he knew that
both he and Anne
were young enough to
have more children
and Anne does quickly
become pregnant again
the following year.
Henry VIII loved jousting
and it is an incredibly
dangerous sport.
Once in his youth actually,
he came close to being killed
when he forgot to put the
visor down on his helmet
and his friend the Duke
of Suffolk didn't notice
and jousted at him and
actually the lance splintered
and he was very
lucky to survive.
- [Dr. Emmerson] In 1536,
Henry suffered a disastrous
accident whilst jousting.
Some reports state
that he was unconscious,
whilst others just
mentioned the fact
that he was severely injured.
- [Dr. Norton] He fell badly
and his horse landed
on top of him.
- [Dr. Emmerson] This really
changed Henry's lifestyle.
It, in many ways,
emasculated him.
- [Dr. Norton] One
account suggested
he was unconscious
for several hours,
and there were also
suggestions that perhaps
there was some sort
of brain damage.
- I think this is a turning
point in Henry's life
and not for the better.
- [Narrator] He will never
recover from his injuries.
- [Dr. Emmerson] I think this
narrowing of his abilities
and I think this continual
pain that Henry is in,
really changes his personality.
I think he becomes
hotheaded and irrational
and would lash out to a degree
that he hadn't previously.
- [Dr. Norton] And it
really hammered home
to the King and to his court,
he still did not have
a legitimate male heir.
- [Dr. Emmerson] Not long after
Henry's jousting accident,
Anne tragically miscarries.
- [Dr. Norton] Anne Boleyn would
blame her final miscarriage
on the news of the
King's accident.
- And I think this is the
beginning of the
end of Anne's life.
- [Dr. Norton] Henry told
Anne that he could see that
he would have no
more boys by her,
which was particularly ominous.
- [Narrator] The trauma
of Henry's injury
and Anne's miscarriage has
put the couple at odds.
- Henry by this stage
was involved with
Anne's lady in
waiting, Jane Seymour,
who had herself declared
that she would not become
the King's mistress.
- [Narrator] Thomas
Cromwell and Anne,
who had once been united in
the pursuit of the same cause,
are now warring over
the King's favor.
In the ensuing weeks, Anne
makes one crucial mistake.
She threatens Cromwell's life.
- The end for Anne
came very quickly.
- [Dr. Emmerson] Very
dramatically, on the
2nd of May, 1536,
Anne is arrested at
the Palace of Greenwich
and is taken to the
Tower of London.
She has no idea why
she has been arrested,
but two people do.
Her husband Henry VIII and
his minister Thomas Cromwell.
- [Narrator] Cromwell
poisons Henry against her
and she is arrested and charged
with adultery,
incest, and treason.
Anne is executed on
the 19th of May, 1536,
by the blade of a
French swordsman.
- [Dr. Emmerson] Henry ordered
that a cannon was fired
at the moment that
Anne was executed.
And this was his cue to move on.
Indeed, he proposed to
Jane Seymour the next day
and they were married
only two weeks later.
Compared to Henry's
first two queens,
Jane Seymour was rather
less complicated.
She was rather meek
and slightly milder
than Catherine and Anne
and was certainly happy to be
more pliant to Henry's will.
- [Dr. Norton] It is a marriage
that he hopes will bear sons.
Jane comes from a
very fertile family.
She has many brothers and
he's hopeful that Jane
will prove a very different
wife to Anne Boleyn.
Finally at the start of 1537,
Jane realizes she's pregnant
and when she feels
the baby quicken,
so she feels the baby move,
the whole country
erupts into celebration.
Henry is incredibly solicitous
throughout her pregnancy,
he vows to remain close to her,
so she's not frightened
by any rumors.
This is probably a reference to
Anne Boleyn's final miscarriage
and the fact that
she blamed it on
Henry's fall from a horse.
- [Dr. Emmerson] After
many years of heartache,
Jane Seymour finally gave
Henry the son and heir
that he so desperately craved.
- When Jane goes into
labor in October, 1537,
the whole country
hold their breath
and it's a very long,
very arduous labor.
Finally, after two
days, Jane gives birth
and it is a healthy prince
and everybody celebrates.
- [Dr. Emmerson]
Henry was elated.
There was much celebration
throughout the kingdom
and lavish feasts and
jousts were prepared.
- [Dr. Norton]
This is the moment
that Henry has been waiting
for, for nearly 30 years.
- [Narrator] To Henry's great
relief, in October, 1537,
a son is born, whom
they call Edward.
- [Dr. Norton] And everything
seems all right with Jane.
She seems to be recovering well.
She's able to send out the
official birth announcement
shortly after the birth.
- But tragically all was not
well in the birthing chamber.
- Childbirth was a very,
very common form of death
for women in the period
and Jane holds on until
the 24th of October,
12 days after the
birth of her son,
before sadly dying in the night.
- [Dr. Emmerson] Henry VIII
was absolutely crestfallen
at the death of Jane Seymour.
He really appears
to have entered into
a prolonged period of
mourning and depression.
Henry at this point
had gone through
a huge amount of heart ache.
He had gone to
extraordinary lengths
to secure this son and heir
and then tragically his wife
had been snatched away from him.
He really must have felt that
everything was stacked
against him at this point.
- [Narrator] Heartbroken
without his third queen,
Henry falls into
a deep depression.
Thomas Cromwell, one of the
king's closest advisors,
visits the king.
He has a proposal.
- [Dr. Norton] So most
kings in the period
chose their wives for
diplomatic reasons.
They wanted to make a
grand foreign alliance
which would bring friendship
between the countries.
Henry had been unsuccessful
in finding a French bride
and then an imperial bride.
- Rather like Anne Boleyn,
Thomas Cromwell was something
of a religious radical
and he understood
that Henry's kingdom
was rather less secure
than it should be,
because of his newly
founded Church of England.
Therefore, Cromwell's
proposal was to
create an alliance with
a Protestant country.
- [Narrator] He explains that
Henry should marry
Anne of Cleaves,
in a diplomatic move
that would ensure
a good relationship
with the powerful duchy
in the holy Roman empire.
Intrigued by the proposition,
Henry dispatches his
favorite court painter,
Hans Holbein the Younger,
to take her likeness.
Months later, the
painter returns
with a portrait of a
young and healthy woman.
Henry agrees to the union.
- [Dr. Norton] The
marriage contract
was signed in September, 1539,
and Anne then made her
way towards England.
- [Dr. Emmerson] Henry
VIII's first meeting
with Anne of Cleaves
couldn't have gone worse.
Anne was supposed to voyage
to court to meet Henry,
but like a love sick boy,
Henry can't wait to meet her
and decides to visit
her in disguise.
- [Dr. Norton] Henry
VIII arrived to find
Anne of Cleaves
looking out a window
at a bear baiting below.
- [Dr. Emmerson] Now, as
part of court etiquette
and as part of the
language of courtly love,
Henry's courtiers knew that
Henry would often
appear in disguise
and they in turn were
supposed to recognize the King
no matter what he was wearing.
This was to flatter the king.
Now Anne grew up in
a completely different
environment to this.
She wasn't conversant in the
language of courtly love at all
and when Henry VIII
burst into her chamber,
she was completely
unimpressed with this man
that stood before her.
- [Dr. Norton] Her
visitor then left the room
and returned wearing
a purple cloak,
which was a cue for
everyone to recognize the king.
And as they fell to their knees,
Anne of course
realized her mistake
and recognized that
this was Henry VIII,
this was her suitor.
But the damage had
already been done.
- And I think, actually,
in that moment,
Henry VIII saw, perhaps for
the first time in his life,
a genuine reaction to how
unattractive he had become.
Anne hadn't recognized him
as this all powerful
majestic person.
She'd simply seen an obese
and slightly aging
man before her.
Henry would leave that
chamber and proclaim,
"I like her not" and state
that she was nothing like
as was depicted in her painting.
- Actually most people
seem to have agreed
that the portrait
was a good likeness,
but there was just
something about Anne
that didn't appeal to Henry.
- But I think the
truth of the matter was
that there was an ugly,
aging and smelly person
in that chamber and it wasn't
Anne of Cleaves, it was Henry.
- [Narrator] Unable to
get out of the marriage
for fear of offending
Europe, the couple marries.
Though they divorced soon,
as an alliance with
Cleaves is less desirable.
Anne is afforded the
title, the King's sister,
and gifted a great
portfolio of properties.
Henry is now 49 years old and
once more without a queen.
- Having served Henry
loyally for many years,
Thomas Cromwell was
now seen by the king
as the architect of this
incredibly awkward marriage
between Anne of
Cleaves and himself
and he really blamed Cromwell.
- [Narrator] The
Duke of Norfolk,
a noble of conservative views,
and an old rival of
the reformist Cromwell,
has another proposal
for the king.
- [Dr. Emmerson] Noticing how
vulnerable Cromwell now was,
waiting in the wings
was the Duke of Norfolk
who had never been
fond of Cromwell.
And he had a niece who was
in Anne of Cleaves employ,
Catherine Howard.
He saw this as an opportunity,
not only to place his young
niece in the King's bed,
but also to bring down Cromwell.
- [Narrator] He offers Henry
the hand of his young niece,
Catherine Howard, and
convinces him that Cromwell
no longer prioritizes the
King's wishes, but his own.
Having fallen far from
the King's graces,
on the 28th of July, 1540,
Cromwell is led to the
scaffold at Tower Hill,
where the executioner's
axe awaits him.
- Cromwell has been sent to
the Tower of London in disgrace
and he isn't even
afforded a trial.
He is actually condemned to
death by an act of attainder.
In his last letter
to King Henry VIII,
he writes a post script
at the end of the letter
begging three times for
"Mercy, mercy, mercy".
But no mercy came
and Thomas Cromwell
was taken to the public
scaffold site on Tower Hill
and beheaded on the very day
that the king married
Catherine Howard.
- [Dr. Norton] Catherine
Howard is really
Henry VIII's midlife crisis.
She'd been a lady in
waiting to Anne of Cleaves.
She's a teenager.
- Henry VIII is absolutely
besotted by Catherine.
He lavishes gifts upon
her, jewelry and clothes,
but soon rumors start a court,
that all is not well
with Catherine's past.
- [Dr. Norton] She was
a woman with a past,
or a girl with a past really,
and she'd had two
previous lovers,
one of which had
been consummated.
- [Dr. Emmerson] And the
Archbishop of Canterbury,
Thomas Cranmer, leaves a
letter for the king to find
which details some troubling
facts about Catherine's past.
At first, Henry VIII is entirely
dismissive of these claims,
but he does order that
Thomas Cranmer investigate.
But then things take
a turn for the worse.
A letter is discovered in the
possession of Thomas Culpeper,
one of Henry VIII's
favorites at court.
This is a romantic letter.
It talks of Catherine
longing to see him
and this sends Henry
into an absolute rage.
He is blinded by this
rage and suggests that
he's going to kill Catherine
with his own sword.
She is confined
to her apartments
and then is imprisoned
at Syon Abbey.
But rather unlike Anne,
who is dispatched within
19 days of her arrest,
Catherine languishes in prison.
Henry can't quite believe
what has happened.
It is reported at this time
that there is no more room
in the Tower of London,
for it is so full
of Howard's relatives.
And eventually Catherine
is taken herself
to the Tower of London.
She is taken to the
Queen's Apartment
and is afforded a private
execution on Tower Green.
Henry VIII's sixth and final
queen was Catherine Parr.
Catherine was a
relatively young woman
when Henry first
took notice of her,
but actually she had
already been twice widowed.
- She was very, very
reluctant to marry Henry
and actually seems to
have been quite horrified
when he declared
his interest in her.
Henry, however,
would not be refused.
There are claims that
Catherine actually said
it was better to be his
mistress than his wife.
But if that was the case,
he ignored her and
insisted on marriage.
- [Dr. Emmerson] I think
at this point in his life,
Henry is looking for
peace and stability
and looks to Catherine Parr
to rehabilitate his family life,
to bring his children together,
and to bring harmony once
more to the royal family.
- Catherine is incredibly
fond of the King's daughters,
Mary and Elizabeth, and
indeed persuades Henry
to restore the girls to
the line of succession.
- Catherine Parr is an
incredibly intelligent woman.
She is very well read,
and has very radical
religious ideas too.
She's also the first queen
to ever publish a book
and the first woman to
publish a book in England
under her own name
and in English.
- Henry VIII had
been ill on and off
for the latter part of 1546.
And just before Christmas
he leaves the queen
and his daughter Mary
and goes to Westminster.
And it's clear very
quickly that he's dying.
He spent his last few weeks
cloistered away
with his counselor
and particularly his
secretary, William Paget,
who is very close
to Edward Seymour,
Henry's brother-in-law,
the brother of Queen Jane
and the uncle of the
heir to the throne.
During this period, Henry asks
that a new will is drawn up.
He previously made a will
in the early days of his
marriage to Catherine Parr
and he seems to have
named her as Regent
in the event of his death,
but this new will
completely overturned that.
Instead of naming
anyone as Regent,
Henry in fact established
a council of equal
ranking executors.
So all of these men have
an equal role to play.
And it was hoped that
they would guide Edward
through his minority
into his adult reign.
- [Narrator] On the
28th of January, 1547,
Henry dies at age 55 at
the Palace of Whitehall.
His son Edward is little
more than nine years old
and is now King of England.
- Obviously he came to
the throne as a child.
He's nine years old.
He's a shy, uncertain
boy at his accession,
to the extent that,
at his coronation,
he actually forgets his French
when he's talking
to the ambassadors.
- [Dr. Emmerson] Edward VI
was a highly
intelligent young man.
He was well versed
in most subjects
and he was also a radical
religious thinker.
This was certainly
encouraged by his uncles
who shared the Protestant faith.
In fact, he was something
of a religious zealot
and unlike his father, who
remained a traditional Catholic,
Edward imposed a
fully Protestant
reformation on England
for the first time.
- [Narrator] Edward enacts
many Protestant reformations
during his short reign.
By the time he is 12,
multiple Catholic rebellions
have been quelled,
prayer books published
in his native English,
and his uncle and
protector, Edward Seymour,
the Duke of Somerset
has been executed.
- [Dr. Norton] And although
his laws are overturned,
in the reign of his half sister,
his is a model that is
followed by Elizabeth
in her religious settlement
with her book of common prayer,
which is, of course, Edward's
book of common prayer.
He matures as a ruler
in his six years.
There are just signs,
there are just hints
of the monarch that
he could have become.
- [Narrator] Edward is
now 15 and is gravely ill.
He has not had a chance
to marry and sire an heir
and is loath to let his
new Protestant England
fall into his sister,
Mary's Catholic hands.
- [Dr. Emmerson]
Edward is a boy king
and a fiercely
Protestant one too.
And his heir, at the time,
is his elder sister Mary,
who is a devout Catholic
and a Roman Catholic too.
This causes enormous
tensions between the two.
Their differences are so great,
that Edward cannot
conceive of his sister Mary
succeeding to the throne
and undoing the
Protestant reformation
that he has enacted
upon the country.
And he goes to great lengths
in order to
disinherit his sister
from the line of succession.
- [Narrator] By June, he
knows that he is dying.
He redrafts his will,
naming his cousin,
the 16 year old, Lady
Jane Grey, his successor.
She will only be
queen for nine days.
- He unfortunately
dies at the age of 15,
but his legacy is certainly
the Protestant reformation,
because it is under Edward
that Protestantism becomes
established in England.
When we think about Edward,
we often think of
him as a boy King,
as a footnote to the
reign of his father,
but actually the
Protestant reformation
really should set
his reign apart
and we should look more closely
at just what Edward achieved.
- In the wake of Edward's death,
Lady Jane Grey is
suddenly proclaimed Queen
and is taken to the
Tower of London,
which is usually at the
center of political power
at the point of a coronation.
- [Narrator] Mary arrives in
London with an army of men
and seizes the Tower of London.
Lady Jane Gray is arrested
and later executed.
And Mary takes her rightful
place on the throne of England.
The eldest child of Henry VIII,
Mary is a devout Catholic.
She swiftly unravels all of
the Protestant
policies of her brother
and declares her
parents' marriage valid.
Now age 37, she starts
her search for a husband.
She decides to ally
herself with Catholic Spain
by marrying her
cousin, King Philip II.
Philip would become her co-ruler
and King of England, as
well as King of Spain.
- [Dr. Emmerson] When
Mary came to the throne,
one of her first actions
was to finally marry
and she chose for her husband,
King Philip II of Spain.
- [Dr. Norton] And it's a
really good match for Mary.
He is the son of the
Holy Roman Emperor,
so one of the most
powerful princes in Europe.
And Mary has always been very
close to her Spanish relatives
and so she is very, very excited
by her marriage to Philip.
- Mary was desperate
to beget a son and heir
to secure her own succession.
- Unfortunately,
it is an incredibly
unpopular marriage in England
because in the 16th century,
the husband of a
Queen, is a King,
so whoever Mary marries
will become King of England,
and nobody wants a Spanish King.
- [Narrator] Such was the
dislike for a foreign man
to sit on the throne of
England alongside Mary,
rebellion sparks.
- [Dr. Norton] Early in 1554,
there is a great
rebellion against Mary.
It is led by Sir Thomas
Wyatt and it begins in Kent.
- Thomas Wyatt
rebels in favor of
Princess Elizabeth
ascending to the throne.
- [Dr. Norton] Wyatt marches
his troops up to London
and actually it's really,
it's a very, very dangerous
situation for Mary
and she's urged
to flee her capital
by her advisors.
She refuses and
actually makes a speech
at the Guild Hall in London
and it's absolutely
the speech of her life
and we can see Elizabeth
modeling later speeches on this.
Mary talks about being
married to her country
and it really rallies the
people of London in her support
so that when Wyatt's troops
cross the river into London,
they are met with
a substantial army
and they are defeated that day.
- [Dr. Emmerson] Mary
believes that Elizabeth
is part of this conspiracy
and arrests her sister,
imprisoning her in
the Tower of London.
Indeed, it is likely she is
held in the very same rooms
that her mother
was once held in.
This must have been
terrifying for Elizabeth.
However, Mary
ultimately knew that
Elizabeth was her only heir.
There was no one
else to succeed her,
so therefore she had no
choice but to let Elizabeth go.
- [Narrator] She is desperate
for an heir of her own.
She learned from her
own succession to power
that without an heir all her
reformation would be undone.
- Mary believed that
she came to the throne
with God's favor, that
God had supported her,
so she sees her queenship
as divinely inspired.
So it seems only natural
that she will give birth to
a Catholic heir to the throne
to keep her half sister
away from the crown.
- Mary was determined
to have a son and heir,
and at one point she
believed very much
that she was pregnant.
- So she has all the
symptoms of pregnancy.
The doctors agree.
Everyone is very, very excited
and she makes preparations
for the birth.
She then retires
for her lying in,
which is usually
about a month before
a woman believes
she'll give birth,
and so she waits,
and then she waits,
and she waits some more
and nothing happens.
- Tragically, this was
a phantom pregnancy
and no children ever came
from her marriage to Philip.
- [Narrator] Heartbroken
and grieving,
Mary considers her false
pregnancy to be God's punishment
for her having tolerated
heretics in her realm.
With her husband away
at war with France,
the queen's persecution
of Protestants
becomes more and more violent.
To believe in a different
God than that of the monarch
was an act of disloyalty,
so heresy was both a civil
and religious offense
which amounted to treason.
As a result, many
people were arrested,
imprisoned, and executed,
including the Archbishop
of Canterbury,
Thomas Cranmer, who served
both Henry VIII and Edward VI.
The Archbishop would
be one of the thousands
burned at the stake for their
faith during Mary's reign.
As a result of these burnings,
she gains the name Bloody Mary.
- [Dr. Norton] By
the start of 1558,
it is clear that it's
only a matter of time
before Elizabeth
takes her throne.
Mary is not going
to have a child
and her health is declining.
- [Dr. Emmerson] Mary
has gone down in history
as Bloody Mary, which I
think is particularly unkind.
She was England's
first Queen Regnant,
who reigned in her own right,
so I think it's uniquely unfair
and even misogynistic
to land Mary
with this really
unfortunate title.
- [Narrator] The Bishop
of Winchester, John White,
praises Mary at her
funeral service.
"She was a King's daughter,
she was a King's sister,
she was a King's
wife, she was a Queen,
and by the same
title, a King also".
- [Dr. Emmerson] After only
five years on the throne
and having provided no
heir, Mary dies in 1558,
leaving her throne begrudgingly
to her Protestant
sister, Elizabeth.
- [Dr. Norton] Following
her accession at Hatfield,
Elizabeth makes
her way to London.
She's met by cheering crowds.
She is Henry VIII's
daughter, and in fact,
her coronation portrait
is very much reminiscent
of her father.
She's displaying herself
as Henry VIII's daughter.
- [Narrator] Her
coronation is set
for 15th of January,
1559, an auspicious day
selected by the court
astrologer, Dr. John D.
- [Dr. Emmerson] And they
hoped that the young Elizabeth
would provide more stability,
more peace and harmony.
- [Narrator] Elizabeth
like her brother before her
is zealous in her commitment
to the Protestant cause,
but she knows from
witnessing firsthand
the decisions made
by her sister, Mary,
pertaining to religion,
that forced conversion
can only end in terror
and in bloodshed.
- When Elizabeth became Queen,
England was a Catholic country.
And so the question of what
the state religion would be
was really on everybody's lips
because she was well
known to be a Protestant.
In 1559, she created
her religious settlement
where she set the state religion
and it was a Protestant church.
- But when she
came to the throne,
she knew that she
had to be pragmatic.
She knew that she needed
to unify her kingdom.
She stated that
she had no desire
to open windows into men's souls,
and this must have been
something of a relief
to her kingdom.
- Elizabeth tried to take
something of a
compromise approach,
something of a middle way.
Some Catholics refused
to come to church.
And actually, although Elizabeth
has this reputation
for moderacy,
the penalties against
Catholics who wouldn't conform
could be very severe and went
all the way up to execution.
- Elizabeth unfortunately
suffered many illnesses
during her early reign,
including catching smallpox.
This created great anxiety
throughout the country
and not least in her counsel.
Elizabeth, of course, was
unmarried at this point.
She had no children, no heir.
- [Dr. Norton] Under
the laws of succession,
the next in line to the
throne was Catherine Grey.
However, she was then
a prisoner in the tower
because she had made
a secret marriage
to the Earl of Hartford,
and Elizabeth in her anger
had invalidated the marriage
and imprisoned Catherine
and her husband,
and Catherine's infant children.
If you look at
strict hereditary,
the heir to throne was
Mary Queen of Scots,
who was unlikely to appeal
to anyone in England.
She's a Catholic, she's
educated in France,
she's a foreign ruler.
So it's a real
constitutional crisis
and the Privy Council meet to
decide who will be the heir.
- What would happen
to the Tudor dynasty
if she were to die without one?
- No one is quite
clear what will happen
and it really hammers
home the uncertainties,
the fact that the
stability in England
hangs on the life
of just one woman.
- [Narrator] The
monarch must secure
the succession of
the house of Tudor.
She knows that she is
the last of her siblings.
She is the third and final
of Henry VIII's
surviving children.
Her advisors think she needs
a husband to support her
and an heir to succeed her.
- Elizabeth actually
receives a deputation
from the House of Commons
not long after
she becomes Queen,
where they petition
her to marry.
She takes it in very good grace,
but she says to them, you know,
"Since I've been a child,
I have decided that I'm
going to remain unmarried
and I'm going to be a virgin.
I'm gonna reign as
a virgin queen".
And it doesn't really
cause any stir,
which is surprising, but really,
it's because nobody
believed her.
It was a ridiculous suggestion
that this young girl of 25
would hope to reign as Queen.
Of course, she had to marry.
Of course, she had to
give England a King.
Her role was to produce heirs
to continue the dynasty.
- [Dr. Emmerson] I think
Elizabeth chose not to marry
for a number of
different reasons.
I think it began
at an early age.
I think she knew
from the example set
by firstly her mother,
and then her stepmother,
Catherine Howard,
how vulnerable a Queen could
be at the hands of a King.
I think this left a
psychological imprint
on Elizabeth's mind.
I think the thought of marrying
terrified her, quite frankly.
But also Elizabeth
was determined,
perhaps for the first
time in her life,
to have control over
herself and of her kingdom.
She had been left
incredibly vulnerable
by the downfall of her mother,
and she had been de-legitimized,
she had been removed
from the succession.
And I think, in a way,
Elizabeth wanted to
rule without a husband.
She knew that if
she had married,
her husband would automatically
have become a King Regnant.
And Elizabeth wanted control
not only of her own destiny,
but that of her kingdom too.
- Mary Queen of Scots is
undoubtedly Elizabeth's rival.
Mary was born in 1542 and
when she was six days old,
she became reigning
queen of Scotland.
Mary is undoubtedly the
biggest threat to Elizabeth,
and this is because of her
place in the English succession.
So Mary is effectively her heir.
She is the next hereditary
heir to the throne.
- Mary Queen of Scots was
Elizabeth's first cousin
and she had something of a
tempestuous rule in Scotland.
Indeed, she was forced
to abdicate her throne
because of her actions.
- [Dr. Norton]
After she realized
she couldn't stay in
Scotland any longer,
Mary fled to England
and it was the absolute worst
decision she could have taken
because Elizabeth
was the one person
who could never allow
Mary to have her freedom.
Because Mary is such
a threat to her rule.
- [Dr. Emmerson] Elizabeth
knew that Mary as a Catholic
would become a figurehead
for those who opposed
Elizabeth's rule.
Indeed, people
already thought that
Mary had a more legitimate
claim to the English throne.
- And this really
matters to Elizabeth
because Elizabeth is still
legally illegitimate.
So legally she has no
title to her throne
other than by act of parliament
and by her father's will.
When Elizabeth hears that
Mary has landed in
the north of England,
she orders that she be
placed under house arrest
and Mary remains imprisoned
by Elizabeth, for 20 years.
The two women never meet.
Mary's desperate come to court
to plead her case with Elizabeth
and Elizabeth will not see her.
Instead, Mary slowly
begins to lose hope
and she starts plotting
against Elizabeth
and there are several
plots, at least,
that her name is mentioned in
or that she seems to have
had direct involvement in.
- Mary did conspire
to overthrow Elizabeth
and to place herself
on the English throne.
- [Dr. Norton]
Lastly, of course,
she's involved in
the Babington plot
where she gives her consent
to murder Elizabeth.
In many respects, this is a
really sensible policy for Mary,
because actually,
were Elizabeth to die,
at any point during
Mary's imprisonment,
it's really likely that
Mary would be declared
Queen of England.
- [Narrator] She knows that
there's just one heartbeat
between her and
the English throne.
As her endless
imprisonment continues,
Mary's support for the murder
of Elizabeth is evident,
if that would lead
to her own liberty
and Catholic
domination of England.
Then correspondence is
intercepted by Elizabeth's men
that will lead to Mary's demise.
The letter reads,
"Let the great plot
commence", signed Mary.
- It had been
proved without doubt
that Mary had consented
to murder Elizabeth.
Elizabeth knew that
Mary wanted her dead.
- [Narrator] In 1586, after
being convicted of treason,
having been implicated
in the Babington plot,
Elizabeth could not let
the Scottish Queen live.
Knowing that Mary's execution
could spark a war
with Catholic Europe,
she reluctantly signs
the death warrant.
- [Dr. Emmerson] Mary was
executed at Fotheringhay Castle
and her execution sent shock
waves throughout Europe,
not least in Spain.
- [Narrator] The execution
of Mary Queen of Scots
broke international tensions
and the Spanish made a move.
Spain invades the
English-occupied Netherlands,
then turns their
enormous fleet of ships
upon the island of Britain.
The Armada anchored off
Calais, readying for attack.
- [Dr. Norton] The
English were expecting
invasion from Spain, and
Philip built a great fleet,
the Spanish Armada.
So Elizabeth goes to
her troops at Tilbury
to try and ready her forces.
- [Dr. Emmerson] Elizabeth
really showed her mettle
at a speech that
she gave at Tilbury.
- [Dr. Norton] She talks about
having the body of a
weak and feeble woman,
but having the heart
and stomach of a King,
and a King of England.
She really rallies the troops.
She portrays herself
as a war leader.
- The Spanish had
a much larger fleet
and the odds were stacked
against the Queen.
But then the weather breaks,
storms form and winds blow,
scattering the Spanish fleet.
- [Dr. Norton] Her commanders,
Lord Howard of Effingham
and Francis Drake,
are able to scatter
the Spanish fleet,
partly by aid of
a Protestant wind
that blows in the English favor.
The Armada is entirely
scattered, and in fact,
the ships that
remain have to sail
all the way around
Scotland and Ireland
to get home to Spain,
because they just cannot go
back down the English Channel.
- [Narrator] England
sends burning fire ships,
which scorch and sink
the Armada's galleons.
- [Dr. Norton] It is a
triumph of Elizabeth's reign.
- [Narrator] The English sailed back
to Plymouth, victorious.
- [Dr. Emmerson] This
is where the mythology
of Elizabeth really starts.
The truth of the matter is,
that it was more the weather
than anything that
Elizabeth had done,
that was the downfall
of the Armada.
But this is where Elizabeth,
the powerful Virgin Queen,
really comes into prominence.
It is at this point that the
mythology of Elizabeth begins.
- [Narrator] From
this point onwards,
she becomes Gloriana,
the Virgin Queen,
the semi-divine monarch
of myth and of magic.
Under her steady
and guiding hand,
England grows more
and more prosperous.
- [Dr. Norton] If
you'd asked Henry VIII
back at his death to
rank his children,
Elizabeth would definitely
be the least of his children.
And yet, actually, she is the
one that we really remember.
She reigns for 44 years.
It's remembered as a time
of general prosperity.
- [Dr. Emmerson]
Elizabeth's court was really
the center of power
in the kingdom.
This is where all of the
decisions about policy are made,
but it's also a place
of great exuberance.
Elizabeth loved
lavish celebrations.
She enjoyed hearty
banquets, and above all,
she loved dancing.
- It's the age of Shakespeare,
it's the age of exploration.
And Elizabeth's right at
the center, reining alone.
- [Narrator] Elizabeth
dies in 1603,
and with her dies
the Tudor dynasty.
- Elizabeth was destined to
be the last of her dynasty,
and of course she knew this.
She had no children, she
had no nephews and nieces.
There was no one else to
carry on the Tudor line.
So in part, of course, her
legacy is dynastic change
and the fact that
the King of Scots
became the King of England
and united the two kingdoms.
But her legacy is so
much more than this.
- Elizabeth died childless
and at the end of her reign
came the end of
the Tudor dynasty.
Actually, I think one of
Elizabeth's greatest legacies
was demonstrating that
a queen could rule
in her own right without a man.
She was a queen who
did not need a king.
- [Dr. Norton] She was,
undoubtedly, the woman
that proved that women
could reign in England.
She reigned for over 40 years
and she reigned independently.
She didn't have a king
and she was very much in
control of her kingdom.
- [Narrator] James VI of Scotland
becomes James I of England,
and a new era dawns in the
battle for the English crown.