Good Queen Bess

Happy coronation day, Elizabeth! That’s right: on January 15, 1559, Elizabeth I, last monarch of the House of Tudor, was crowned Queen of England in Westminster Abbey, following her accession on November 17, 1558. After a highly unstable childhood, the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn somehow managed to weather the reign of her devoutly Catholic half-sister, Mary, who was a little too fond … Continue reading Good Queen Bess

Queen for a Week

On July 10, 1553, 16-year-old Jane Grey was proclaimed Queen of England, four days after the death of her cousin, Edward VI. The reign, as I’m sure you all know, didn’t go well. Jane’s claim to the throne was through her grandmother, Mary Tudor, the sister of Henry VIII. Mary married Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and one of their daughters was Jane’s mother. Her … Continue reading Queen for a Week

The Beginning of the End

May 15 was the beginning of the end for a pair of 16th century queens. First, in 1536, Anne Boleyn was brought to trial on (almost certainly) bogus charges of adultery and incest and found guilty. Her brother, George Boleyn, who was accused of having a sexual relationship with her, was tried separately the same day and also found guilty. The trials came a day … Continue reading The Beginning of the End

The Tudors: The Horse is Symbolic! Get it?

Previously on The Tudors: Henry married and got rid of a lot of women, had three kids, changed England’s religion (kind of), and got old. Bishop Gardiner tried to nail Queen Katherine for heresy, and Henry had Surrey tried and found guilty of treason.

Hey, Natalie Dormer, Maria Doyle Kennedy, and Annabelle Wallis are back in the opening credits! Welcome back, dead wives! I guess we’re pretending Katherine Howard didn’t exist.

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The Tudors: Obsession

Previously on The Tudors: Henry trashed part of France, then got bored and went home, leaving the Earl of Surrey in charge of Boulogne. Chapuys retired, much to Mary’s distress, and Henry’s health took a turn for the worst.

It’s now 1545, as we’re helpfully informed. A groom fetches a nifty little pair of eyeglasses for Henry, who uses them to read some important document. He signs it, then greets Seymour, who comes in for an audience. Seymour informs him that Surrey’s acting like a total idiot in France, attacking supply trains and the like for no reason at all, and sustaining huge losses in the process. Henry sighs and sends Seymour away.

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The Tudors: Hello, Goodbye

Previously on The Tudors: Henry married Katherine Parr and left her in charge while he went off to fight a war in France. There, Charles acquired a comely French prisoner, and Henry’s army was soon decimated by disease.

In France, the bodies of the dysentery dead are piling up so fast they’re now being tossed in a mass grave and covered with lime. So, it’s going to be one of those fun episodes, is it? Oh, and apparently there’s no food to be had for miles around, either. Still, the assaults on the city continue, as does the tunnel digging. Harry and the others continue to swing their pickaxes, almost causing a collapse at one point. Fortunately, the supports hold. Harry tells one of his coworkers the castle is still a good 300 feet away. It’s going to be a long week.

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The Tudors: Where is love?

Previously on The Tudors: Kate, Culpeper, Dereham, and Lady Rochford all got their heads chopped off. So, they’re out of the credits now, replaced by Special Guest Star Joley Richardson.

Hunsdon House. Mary tracks down Elizabeth and happily tells her they’re both being restored to the succession. Mary’s over the moon, but Elizabeth couldn’t seem to care less. She’s downcast after Kate’s death, and she’s made up her mind never to marry.

Henry receives Chapuys in his study, which is once again darkened and emo’d out. Chapuys wastes no time in telling Henry the Emperor’s at war with France again and wants Henry’s help. In return, Henry would get back Aquitaine. Henry sends him off without an answer.

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The Tudors: Ick Factor

Previously on The Tudors: Henry dragged court and family north, where he magnanimously forgave the northerners for rebelling against him. Kate foolishly hired her ex-boyfriend, Francis Dereham, who turned out to be kind of an asshole. Someone took it upon themselves to write a letter to the king, presumably informing him of Kate’s extracurricular activities.

Henry shows the letter to Seymour, who reads it and reveals it is, in fact, about Kate and her “dissolute living” before she married Henry. And right off the bat we have a bit of a story problem. See, the writers decided to show us Henry and Kate clearly sleeping together before they were married, so he would already know about her past. Surely Henry could tell when a girl was a virgin and when she wasn’t, and yet he seems surprised by this letter, which is unsigned, in case you were wondering. Henry says the letter’s a total lie, but nonetheless he has Seymour investigate and confines Kate to her room, with only Lady Rochford in attendance, until the matter is cleared up.

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The Tudors: Ghosts

Previously on The Tudors: Henry dragged his wife and court north on a progress to tell the northerners there were no hard feelings over that whole rebellion misunderstanding. Katherine continued her incredibly foolish affair with Culpeper, managing to take it to a whole new level of gross.

Pontefract Castle (remember Pontefract?). Everyone who lives there is all lined up in the courtyard as Henry and his entourage arrive in extremely cheesy slow motion. They’re greeted by Ralph, the one rebel who managed to evade slaughter by selling out his buddies. Henry greets him and the others as his “faithful servants” and introduces Kate and Mary. Ralph, who’s now sporting the Beard of Instant Aging, welcomes them all. Henry dismounts, embraces him, and then pulls Culpeper aside to tell him he plans to sleep with Kate that night. Ralph falls into step beside Charles and observes that Henry seems pretty peppy. Charles puts it down to his new marriage and the success of the progress.

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