Unpicking the Tudors; S2 EP3

You know how I said that the last two episodes made 1532 seemed like eighteen months long? Well, this episode just… you’ll see, it’s rather special in it’s own way.


Henry destroys all ties with authority and the past. After many failed attempts to have his marriage to Catherine annulled by the Catholic Church, Henry runs out of patience and marries a pregnant Anne Boleyn in secret. He appoints the young Lutheran Thomas Cranmer to succeed the deceased William Warham as Archbishop of Canterbury and strips Queen Catherine of her title and status, along with Princess Mary; they are hence to be known as the Princess Dowager of Wales and the Lady Mary, respectively. The Act of Restrain of Appeals is presented to Parliament by Cromwell and passes. As Sir Thomas More has resigned as Chancellor, Henry hands the position to the pro-Lutheran Thomas Cromwell. Anne Boleyn is crowned Queen of England to a small and uneager crowd and escapes an assassination attempt. Pope Paul III threatens to excommunicate the king and the church of England from the Roman Catholic Church if Henry does not return to Catherine, but Henry tears the papal edict in half. Henry is also disappointed when Anne Boleyn gives birth to a daughter, Elizabeth, instead of his desired son, and soon resumes his philandering with ladies of the court despite assuring Anne they will still have a son.

A Secret Marriage, A Secret Pregnancy, A Coronation – Oh My!


After one instance of the sex, Anne is instantly pregnant. And not just even a little pregnant, because she’s already suffering immense intense pregnancy cravings for apples. This is based on a real life anecdote, but I have to question the timeline here.

Anne and Henry went to France in September 1532 (another reason why they couldn’t have conceived Elizabeth there, unless Anne managed to be pregnant for twelve months. I screwed up the times last week, so my bad there. It’s been a while since I last looked it all up). They would not be married for the first time until November 14 1532. I know some women start to have cravings at two to three weeks, but for Anne to be ‘Yup, definitely pregnant, I’m so full of baby right now’, she has to be at least past a month or two. And there just isn’t the time to fit into what happened and when.

And yes, it’s still 1532! The year that never, ever ends!

Realising Anne’s condition (even though pregnancies were usually recognised from when the baby ‘quickened’ i.e. starting to move around three months and there’s no way Anne can be three months pregnant) Henry orders Cranmer to look into his marriage…


… but gets married in secret anyway.

There’s no need to rush Henry! This baby won’t be born for another ten months.

Anyway, after a second official marriage in January, and a little political wrangling, Anne can now be crowned queen. She’s the only queen consort in British history to receive a coronation separate from her royal spouse, and the only one to be crowned with St. Edward’s Crown. There’s some BS nonsense at her parade, but we’ll go into that later.

It’s also really off because of the warped timeline the show has decided to follow. It’s now June, 1533, and because Anne fell pregnant in September, she should be giving birth. Like, literally on that carriage, she should be deep in labour. But she’s managing to keep it in for another three months.

Henry places a crown on Anne’s head, and she’s anointed and invested as queen. I say ‘a crown’ because that tiny little pathetic coronet is not St Edward’s Crown.

Queen Elizabeth II Attends Westminster Abbey Service To Mark 60th Anniversary Of Her Coronation

It was remade in the seventeenth century, but the royal monogram is based on St Edward’s Crown.


This is Henry’s, so this is probably what the crown looked at during Henry’s time. It is not a single pathetic coronet that barely shows up. How do you ruin making an impressive and royal crown?


Henry gets aggressive and nasty with Anne at the coronation feast, because foreshadowing.

This aggressive side of Henry continues into the longest pregnancy ever experienced by any woman ever. When sleeping at night – and FYI, they shouldn’t share a bed. Royal couples had separate apartments in palaces, and completely separate bedrooms. Henry and his wives would not share a bed like a couple might do now – Anne is too tired and stressed out by the longest pregnancy in the world to have sex with Henry. He’s disgusted and angered by her rejection.

Because it’s only the most sexy and romantic of men who try to force their wives into having sex with them! (Even though Henry wouldn’t try anything like that for fear of damaging the child or causing a miscarriage)

Anne finally goes into labour, and luckily for her, it’s incredibly easy. She pushes exactly once and the baby just flies out. Unfortunately, it’s not a son. It’s a girl, and Henry is taken aback. But sons will surely follow, for they are both young and fertile.

Lol no, Henry is now sleeping with anyone else because how dare his wife have a child and it’s not what he wanted.


Do you play… chess?


Wait, where are you going to put that chess piece? Cause she doesn’t look very happy about it…


… oh. Oh. Hope you don’t plan on playing with it again.

The London Knoll


The Imperial assassin is revealed to be none other than William Brereton. Which makes pretty much no sense.

Not only was he almost fifty by this point, but he’s a longstanding member of Henry’s inner circle, serving as a groom of the privy chamber. He was a wealthy and respected member of court, and definitely not a twenty something devoted Catholic who wanted to kill Anne Boleyn. This assassination nonsense is exactly that – nonsense. Events are dramatic enough as it is without having an assassin running about.


After attempting to kill Anne, Brereton travels to Rome to beg forgiveness from the Pope. Instead, the Pope enlists him as a Jesuit and sends him back to kill Anne again.

The Jesuits aren’t formed until 1540. Even if you needed to add to this ridiculous mess, you didn’t need to add in Jesuits. And then the producers decide to recreate the assassination of JFK for no apparent reason.

Don’t tell me that’s not based on the death of JFK, because it looks so much like it. I find that a little cheap and distasteful, to co-opt a real life trauma to improve the shabbiness of your own writing. And I don’t think sixteenth century guns were accurate enough to carry out this sort of operation. Luckily, some random mook dies instead and is shoved under a choir stand to die alone and unnoticed.

He’s almost caught out by the fact he didn’t think to wipe off all the incredibly obvious and super noticeable gunpowder from his hands, but William Brereton escapes to assassinate another day!

Brandon VS The Boleyns

The tension between Charles Brandon and Thomas Boleyn gets worse because their servants get into a stupid fight and kill each other. After all, Charles Brandon needed an actual, legitimate reason to hate the Boleyns other than ‘the writers needed something for him to do this season’.

What Are You Up To, Thomas Cranmer?

Besides all this, there’s the question of the English Church and Henry’s first marriage. To force his second marriage through, he decides to make Thomas Cranmer his Archbishop of Canterbury, the most senior religious position in England.

He transported his wife from Germany in a box. It is sort-of a true story. Cranmer was said to have hidden his wife from the King in a box, not taken her across half a continent, but it’s only a ‘it is said’ kind of truth. There’s no evidence that it actually happened.


The supporters of Katherine are not happy with this because Cranmer is a ‘Lutheran’. That’s simply not true. Cranmer was more Calvinist than Lutheran, because Lutheran is not a catch all for ‘not being a Catholic’.


Meanwhile, Cromwell has pushed through parliament The Act in the Restraint of Appeals which basically means that it’s illegal to apply to foreign courts of justice and to appeal outside of England as it’s an empire. Cromwell, it would seem, is completely in charge of government and Henry doesn’t have any say over anything as he’s a big doofus with no ideas of his own.

Cranmer, with little to no fuss, announces that Henry and Katherine’s marriage is not valid and that Anne and Henry’s marriage is good and legal. The Pope declares Henry excommunicated.

What About Katherine and Mary?


Katherine is told of this change. She will now be the Dowager Princess of Wales, and Henry will support her no longer. She proclaims herself to always be Queen of England.


And then there’s the Princess Mary. She’s now all grown up, but no longer a Princess. She is to be the Lady Mary, and royal heir no longer. She was told this in real life by the Duke of Norfolk, but he’s mysteriously vanished from the show.

Our New Gay Subplot


Mark Smeaton, in a public place, very loudly comes onto George Boleyn. I guess he’s going to be executed for sodomy in the next episode because it’s very illegal at this point. I highly doubt queer people were loudly shouting about their sexuality in a public arena because, you know, death is bad.

Come on, Vogue, Let Your Body Move to the Music


Those clothes are straight up pure Elizabethan. There is nothing of the 1530s about them. And take that purple off, Smeaton. You’re a common servant, and purple is for the royal family alone.


You ready for your villain song, Henry? Because that collar is straight from Maleficent. That collar is far too high for a man like Henry to wear.


Mary, that hood is not right. That is a very central Germanic hood and would never be found at the English court (at least, until Anna of Cleeves arrives).


This is another from the Katherine Willoughy ‘Lamps of Tudor England’ series, and it’s just as hideous as the first one.


Nice pregnancy sack. Anne, you’d be wearing exactly the same dress as you’d always wear, but with the ties and stomacher loosened to allow room for the bump. Tudor England didn’t have maternity sacks for women.


That is Jacobean hat right there. Take it off and burn it.

And that’s it for this week. Come back next time for more of 1532 (probably), bad dresses, and terrible writing decisions.