01x03 - Episode 3

Divorced, beheaded, died.

Divorced, beheaded, survived.

The story of Henry VIII and his six wives is one of the best known in history.

There's Catherine of Aragon, the bitter, abandoned first wife.

Anne Boleyn, the original other woman.

Jane Seymour, bit of a doormat.

Then we've got Anne of Cleves she was the ugly one.

Catherine Howard, the one who slept around.

And Kathryn Parr, the saintly nurse.

But I'm going to tell you a very different story.

I'm going to take you back in time and into the private lives of Henry's six wives.

I'm going to see the story from their point of view, and I'll watch as events unfold.

The fate of my soul is no longer your concern.

It will always be my concern.

These events all really happened, and were recorded in historical documents or reported by eyewitnesses.

I asked for his head.

Not his coat.

They reveal six complex women who lived in a dangerous age as they struggled to survive being married to Henry VIII.

I beg of you to tell the King that my heart is filled with sorrow, and assure him of my repentance.

Six wives, whose names were tarnished by Henry's propaganda machine.

Six queens whose stories I want to re-examine.

Is she here?

I'll observe their life at court.

And I'll watch them romanced by a charismatic king.

Tell me you're the same?

Always.

This is the ultimate true story of love, loss and betrayal.

Remember what happened to my last wife and queen.

Henry VIII's first wife, warrior queen Catherine of Aragon, gave the king a daughter, Mary, but she failed to give him a son and heir.

She has suffered a loss of the child.

Get out!

After 24 years of marriage she was cast aside for the clever and sophisticated Anne Boleyn.

And, to marry her, Henry turned his back on the Roman Catholic Church.

You, sir, face eternal damnation.

You cannot defy the church in this way.

Anne disappointed Henry by giving him another daughter, Elizabeth.

Surely I deserve your respect, my Lord?

Worse still, she proved too challenging for the King, so he had his second wife executed.

All this, for so little a neck.

Your Majesty.

Madam.

His third Queen, Jane Seymour, always dutiful, succeeded where Catherine and Anne failed him -- she delivered Henry a boy, Edward.

He is thriving?

Very much so.

But within 12 days, she was dead.

Lord God, why must you punish me this way?

Henry VIII is now 48 years old.

A visitor has arrived from Germany to see him.

They've never met, so Henry's decided to play one of his favourite tricks, disguising himself as the rogue Robin Hood.

Shh.

My lady, welcome.

I trust you find your new residence to be more than adequate?

It's New Year's Day 1540, and Henry VIII has just introduced himself to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves.

So why was Henry getting married to somebody he'd never even met before?

This time he was slightly pushed into it.

After Jane Seymour's death, Henry's heart was broken.

He also now had his son and heir, Edward.

He could afford to relax and take his time.

But Henry's advisers had other ideas -- they thought it was time for a new queen.

Politically, Henry was isolated.

By breaking from Rome and making himself head of his own church, he'd made powerful enemies.

But there were other leaders in Europe who also rejected the authority of the Pope.

A strategic marriage could be just the thing to protect Henry and a like-minded ally against any possible retribution.

The problem was that Henry didn't have that great a reputation as a potential husband.

After all, he was now three wives down, and each time it had ended badly.

In fact, one prospective bride said, yes, she would have married Henry VIII, if she had two heads!

The once-handsome King was now obese, and looked older than his age.

The legacy of his passion for jousting was an ulcerous wound on his leg that refused to heal.

Henry's advisors scoured Europe searching for a noble family willing to provide a bride.

The hunt took two whole years, but finally, in 1539, somebody said yes.

Henry's fourth wife would be a German noblewoman called Anne.

She lived in the town of Cleve in western Germany.

This is the famous Anne of Cleves cake, still baked here in honour of Anne.

Although she's still famous in Germany, English history has dismissed Anne as Henry's ugly wife.

Famously, she's known as the Flanders Mare.

But there was more to Anne than her looks.

A gift for diplomacy and an instinct for survival probably make her the most successful of all Henry's wives.

She was raised and educated here, at the Castle Schwanenburg.

She was the daughter of the Duke of Cleves, a powerful, noble family.

And like Henry himself, the Duke of Cleves had rejected the authority of the Pope.

Anne fitted the bill.

With the bit of reluctance, Henry did agree to consider Anne of Cleves as a bride. But first of all he wanted to know what she looked like.

Was she going to be attractive enough for him?

So he sent his top painter, Hans Holbein, over to Cleves to do a portrait.

And this picture, combined with favourable reports from Henry's advisers, made up his mind.

Yes, he was going to marry her.

And so, without even meeting the King, Anne set off for England to marry him.

Anne was 24 years old.

She'd never been outside Germany before, and she didn't speak any English.

It must all have been pretty daunting.

But she did have the good sense to learn what she could from her English escort about what her new life would be like.

After all, she must have known what had happened to her three predecessors. She would have been anxious to avoid making the same mistakes.

Anne made sure to have dinner with her travelling companions, because she needed to know what happened when Englishmen were sitting at their meat.

She needed to get up to speed really quickly with the etiquette of being a Tudor Queen.

It took over a month for Anne and her entourage to reach the shores of England. When they arrived in Rochester, they were instructed to rest up and wait.

There was just one vital thing her German advisers had forgotten to brief Anne about.

An Englishman's sense of humour.

My lady, welcome.

I...

Something wrong, madam?

The King?

My Lord, what do you think of the Lady Anne?

Do you really need to ask?

I put it to you this way.

She's not the lady I was expecting.

Anne's advisers had let her down badly.

They might have taught her about the finer points of dining, but they'd neglected the essentials of English courtly romance.

They should have warned Anne that Henry loved to dress up, to disguise himself and then to surprise people.

By failing to recognise him, Anne caused grave offence.

And Henry now turned against her, claiming to find her unattractive.

The conventional story is that Henry blamed Holbein for having painted an overly-flattering portrait of Anne.

But there are first-hand accounts of Anne being very attractive, even beautiful.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the situation, this has to be history's most awkward blind date.

Their next meeting took place a few days later at Blackheath, up on the hill behind Greenwich.

This was a formal reception for Anne, then they rode down the hill to the Tudor palace of Greenwich, long since rebuilt.

As they rode they wore golden robes.

There was a great procession, crowds of spectators -- they must have looked like a golden couple.

But all was not as it seemed.

Behind the scenes, Henry was desperately trying to wiggle out of the wedding. But he quickly discovered that the marriage contract had been a complex diplomatic negotiation.

Anne's family back in Cleves weren't going to let him off the hook that easily.

And, in any case, was it wise?

He needed them as allies against his enemies.

There was nothing for it -- he was just going to have to marry Anne.

Henry is on his way to Anne's bedchamber for the first time.

The wedding night ritual is about to begin.

Bless, oh Lord, this marriage bed, and those in it.

Watch over your servants as they sleep, protecting them from all demonic dreams and grant that they live in your love and multiply and grow old together in length of days.

Heavenly Father, hear this prayer.

Poor Anne.

And the really awful thing is that everybody knows that it's not working out in the bedchamber.

Courtiers literally listen in to hear if the deed's being done.

In the morning, they'll check the sheets for evidence.

If the marriage isn't consummated, it's not legal.

The very public nature of this ritual means that word starts flying around court immediately.

Everybody wants to know, "Why hasn't the King sealed the deal "with his new Queen?"

My theory is that Henry just couldn't manage it.

After all, he was getting older, and fatter, and was quite possibly impotent.

But Henry couldn't allow anybody to think this, it would undermine his masculine image.

So he took action.

He got his physician, Dr William Butts, to spread it around the court that the problem must be with Anne.

"The King," Dr Butts said, "was absolutely fine. He was well able to do the deed with other women, and he was still experiencing nocturnal pollutions."

They are what we would call wet dreams.

Henry kept up the pretence of visiting Anne's bedchamber, but nothing was happening there apart from sleeping.

By now malicious rumours were being deliberately spread around the court about what had gone wrong.

Some people said that Anne hadn't been a virgin.

Others that, on the contrary, she didn't know what s*x was.

Then again, maybe her body had disgusted the King.

No-one dared suggest it might have been Henry's fault.

Because Anne's English isn't great, she's in a poor position to defend herself against this gossip.

But Anne is nobody's fool.

She might not understand everything that's going on, but she can clearly see that her husband's eye is wandering.

She's in a dangerous position, and she knows it.

Henry and Anne have been married for just a few months, and already the King is infatuated with someone else.

If I may...

A teenager, recently arrived at court.

Her name is Catherine Howard.

Madam, this is an outrage.

Ambassador Harst, this is King Henry.

You suspect he is... involved with this woman?

A tight grip on the shaft...

The King is a very sociable man.

Is he not?

And it does not grieve you?

Pull back, pull back.

Very good.

Bit more, bit more.

Pull back, pull back.

Yes! Oh, yes!

For Anne of Cleves, the arrival of Catherine Howard was very bad news.

Her fears were well-founded.

In June 1540, just six months after she'd arrived in England, Anne of Cleves was sent away from court.

She was told to go and live at the Palace of Richmond, under the not very convincing excuse that the weather was better there.

Henry wanted her out of the way so that he could marry Catherine Howard.

Given Henry's past record, I think Anne must have been quite worried about what might happen to her next.

But she knew that if he treated her too harshly there might be an international incident involving Cleves.

She also knew that Henry couldn't really afford that, so she held out for a settlement.

In the end, Henry offered her a deal -- in return for going away quietly Anne would get a special title -- she'd become known as the King's Sister.

But here's the good bit -- she'd also get two palaces to live in, a huge entourage of servants, and loads of money.

Anne thought about it, and she said yes.

She sent back her wedding ring with a request that it be broken into pieces.

The King paid Anne off handsomely.

Her entourage and her wardrobe continued to grow, and so did her property portfolio.

Henry even gave her Hever Castle, a family home of Anne Boleyn.

She never remarried, but Anne did become one of the richest women in England.

Anne outlived all the rest of Henry's wives, and Henry himself.

When she finally died in 1557, at the age of 41, she was given a rather grand final resting place.

It's here, in Westminster Abbey in London, and she's buried right by the High Altar.

I think it's a fitting tribute to a brave and canny Queen, who at the age of 24 took on the powerful forces of the Tudor court...

.. and won.

Since he'd made himself head of his own church, there'd been no-one to stop Henry ending his marriage to Anne of Cleves...

.. leaving him free to marry teenage lady-in-waiting Catherine Howard.

She would be the King's fifth Queen.

Henry married Catherine just two weeks after the ending of his marriage with Anne of Cleves.

Marriage to Catherine seemed to take ten years off his age.

Under her influence he even lost weight.

He was visibly infatuated with her.

One eyewitness said that, "He's so amorous of her that he caresses her more than he did the others."

Now, if we saw a middle-aged man acting up like that with a teenager we'd think, "Wow, that's really inappropriate."

But in the 16th century it was perfectly acceptable, especially if you were King Henry VIII.

So why did Henry get married for the fifth time?

After all, he now had his son and heir, Edward -- he could have just kept Catherine for his mistress.

But don't forget, he only had the crown himself because of the death of his older brother.

He knew better than anybody that you need two boys, the heir and the spare.

So I think he probably looked at Catherine and thought, "Hmm, she looks nice and young and fertile. Perhaps she's the mother of another boy."

No-one knows exactly when Catherine was born -- she could have been as young as 15 when she married Henry, and she is remembered as the Queen who slept around.

But I think that hers is a much darker and more tragic story.

Catherine has been married to the King for just a year.

She's on her way to meet one of his advisers.

I thought you were one of the King's men.

I am. His Majesty's most loyal and faithful servant.

We are in such danger.

This is madness.


Are you alone?

Then we are safe.

I am the King's wife, we are never safe.

My lady, we have no time to lose.

Every second with the King is spent thinking of our next meeting.

Why, he cannot please you the way I do?

If the rumours are true he cannot please you at all.

Don't talk like that.

My heart dies when we're apart.

Tell me you're the same.

Of course.

But if we're caught?

We will not be caught.

Madam, if you wish to end this...

No!

Then place your trust in me.

Catherine's secret lover is courtier Thomas Culpeper, a notorious womaniser.

One of Catherine and Thomas Culpeper's assignations took place here at Lincoln Castle.

This is from a letter that Catherine wrote to Thomas Culpeper -- it's quite steamy stuff.

"When I think," she says, "that you shall depart from me again it makes my heart to die. To think what fortune I have that I cannot be always in your company."

And she signs it off, "Yours, as long as life endures."

So why did Catherine risk an affair with Thomas Culpeper when she knew exactly how lethal Henry could be?

After all, she was a cousin of Anne Boleyn, who'd been accused of adultery, and consequently lost her head.

There are lots of different theories here.

Some people think that Catherine was just a silly little slut, others that she really was in love with him.

I don't believe either.

I believe that Thomas Culpeper was a sexual predator, that he was pressurising, almost forcing a vulnerable young woman into having a sexual relationship with him.

Thomas Culpeper had a terrible reputation.

He'd been accused of raping a park-keeper's wife, and murdering a villager who tried to stop him.

But he'd been pardoned by the King.

It is true that the letter contains some pretty effusive phrases, when she talks about her heart dying for him, or how she will be his as long as life endures.

But you can read it as placatory.

Maybe she was telling him what he wanted to hear to keep him quiet.

After all, Thomas Culpeper was a dangerous man.

Catherine met him again three weeks later, but this time they were noticed.

And gossip about the Queen began to swirl around the court.

On the 2nd of November 1541, All Souls' Day, a letter was left for the King to find in the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court.

It contained some quite extraordinary allegations.

It said that when his wife Catherine had been growing up she'd had s*x with a cousin of hers called Francis Dereham, and also with a man called Henry Manox, who was her music teacher.

When Henry read the letter he was sceptical, but he ordered an investigation.

And the investigation led back to Catherine's childhood.

Her mother died when she was young.

Aged ten, Catherine was sent to live with her step-grandmother, the dowager Duchess of Norfolk, who ran a sort of boarding school for young ladies destined for court here at Chesworth Manor.

She wasn't given much of a formal education, though she did get music lessons.

She was meant to pick up a bit of polish from being part of a large household.

Catherine and the other girls slept in a dormitory called the Maidens' Chamber.

It was supposed to be locked up at night to keep them safe, but the arrangements in this household were a bit lax.

The Duchess can be said to have failed in her duty of care towards these girls, because certain men of the household knew how to get hold of the key.

When Catherine's family connections took her to court, none of this was mentioned.

And of course, it would have been dangerous to talk about it once she was the Queen.

After just 15 months as Queen, Catherine is to be interrogated about her past by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer.

You must speak nothing but the truth, my child.

Be calm.

Take your time.

We are here in God's company.

There is no rush.

Francis Dereham.

You know this man well?

Knew him, sir.

It was many years ago, and I've not seen nor...

Please, just simply explain your involvement with him.

Long ago...

.. before I met the King, there was the possibility that Francis Dereham and I would marry.

Indeed.

There is talk that you referred to one another as husband and wife.

Not by law.

Not in the eyes of God.

The King has been my true and only husband.

Did you lie with Dereham?

Yes, my lord.

I must be truthful.

You must.

Have there been others?

Before the King, apart from Dereham?

Henry Manox perhaps?

Please.

Sit back down.

Have you anything to say about this man?

The choice to lie with him was not mine.

I was a child.

Yet, still...

.. the accusations are not without weight?

They are not.

I see.

Please, my lord, I beg of you to tell the King that my heart is filled with sorrow, and assure him of my repentance.

The fear of death is not as bad as this, my lord.

Henry Manox had been her music teacher.

And her cousin, Francis Dereham, he'd been one of those men with access to the key to the Maidens' Chamber.

These two men had taken advantage of Catherine, and that's why it's so unfair that historians have called her a goodtime girl. Today, we'd call her an abused child.

Henry Manox and Francis Dereham were arrested and sent to the Tower of London.

They were interrogated by the Archbishop's men.

And quite possibly, under torture, Catherine's cousin Francis Dereham admitted that he had had s*x with her, he'd lain with her several times.

This was a detail that was corroborated by ladies from Catherine's grandmother's household.

What Cranmer and the King's advisers wanted to know next was, had the affair continued, even after Catherine had become Queen?

No, said Francis Dereham, absolutely not.

But that was only because she'd dumped him.

He'd been replaced in Catherine's affections by somebody else --

Thomas Culpeper.

Culpeper, the serial seducer, had pressurised this vulnerable and abused girl into committing adultery.

He denied the affair, but he wasn't believed.

Catherine's love letter to him was found.

This sealed their fate.

Henry was devastated.

But, as always, he gave his orders, and then he slipped away.

Kings don't have to have difficult conversations.

He left Hampton Court, said he was going hunting, and Catherine never saw him again.

For several days she was left alone at the Palace.

The King's absence must have told her that something was wrong.

So cheerful and sociable in normal times, Catherine wasn't in the mood for merry-making.

When musicians came to the Palace to play for the Queen they were sent away again. The exact words of the order, and this is really poignant, were, "Now is not the time for dancing."

Finally, Catherine was arrested.

Meanwhile, Thomas Culpeper and Francis Dereham were tried for treason and found guilty.

Somehow Catherine's music teacher Henry Manox managed to get away with it, but the other two were less lucky.

Francis Dereham was hung, drawn and quartered, and Thomas Culpeper, as his social superior, was given the rather more elegant death of beheading.

The heads of the men who'd abused Catherine ended up on spikes on London Bridge.

When the teenage Queen was taken to the Tower of London, she would have seen their rotting heads.

It's the 12th of February, 1542.

Catherine has also been convicted of treason, and is sentenced to die by beheading.

It is a much more ordinary thing than I had imagined.

No, my lady.

Please, move away from me.

I shall surrender myself to God.

The next day, Catherine was brought to the scaffold erected on this spot.

Her last words were extremely penitent.

She spoke about her just and worthy punishment.

She said that she'd offended God heinously ever since her youth, and she prayed for the preservation of her husband the King.

Then she knelt down exactly as she'd practised, and her head was removed with a single blow of the axe.

After the breakdown of his fifth marriage, it took Henry a whole year to recover. The Spanish ambassador reported that, "He certainly shows more sorrow at her loss than at the loss of his previous wives."

Henry was now old and ill and tired.

Why not just remain a widower?

But it simply didn't suit him.

He craved female company.

It was time for yet another new wife.

Henry's sixth Queen would be Kathryn Parr.

She may have a reputation for being the dullest of them all, but the real woman is altogether more intriguing.

Kathryn had already got through two husbands.

She was twice a widow, but she was a very merry one.

She was witty, and pretty.

She loved music and dancing.

Although she came from a northern family, she'd grown up in London -- her family's townhouse was here in Blackfriars.

Kathryn was already involved with one of the court's most eligible bachelors, Jane Seymour's older brother, Thomas.

But when Henry's eye fell on her, she couldn't say no.

Henry was now 52, pretty old for Tudor times.

He had his heir, Edward, and he may still have been holding out hope for a second son.

But his health was deteriorating.

He could no longer walk without help because of the ulcers on his legs.

So the 30-year-old Kathryn would be more companion than lover, and a mother figure to his children.

Henry must have been attracted to her warm personality, her sense of humour, maybe her intelligence.

She was definitely the most intellectually curious of all of his wives.

She was one of those people who just can't stop reading books.

Their marriage was a small affair, there were only 20 people present, but they included Henry's daughters Mary and Elizabeth.

It took place in July 1543, here at Hampton Court.

What was Kathryn herself thinking?

Well, we do know that she had hoped to marry somebody else.

But also, she had a very highly developed sense of duty.

And her duty was to God.

She had her own reasons for marrying the King.

It's wedding night number six for Henry, and he's waiting for his new Queen to arrive.

My Lord.

Oh, sweet lady.

There you are.

Always, my Lord.

Gently, sister.

Leave us.

Thank you.

It's just over a year after Catherine Howard's execution, and Henry is delighted with his new bride.

Kathryn Parr was a model queen.

Henry trusted her to rule in his absence, as he had done with his first Catherine, of Aragon.

Today Kathryn Parr has rather a dowdy, nursey image.

This isn't fair -- she was actually rather glamorous.

As soon as she got married she spent a lot of money on sumptuous clothes in bright colours.

She bought satin for her nightgowns.

Kathryn Parr's stepdaughter, the Princess Elizabeth, spent a lot of time watching and learning from her about how to be a queen. Yes, in matters of image, but also intellectually, Kathryn Parr was a real role model.

There was only one problem with this picture of a happy family --

Kathryn's religious views.

England was still settling in to a new religious order as a result of Henry's split from Rome.

He'd made himself head of his new church in England, but in his own personal religious beliefs, Henry was surprisingly old school.

It's funny, isn't it?

Because we think of him as having broken with Rome, but in his heart, Henry remained a Catholic.

But there was a revolutionary new religion in England, it was growing in popularity, it would end up as Protestantism.

And Henry's new wife Kathryn Parr was a believer.

Now, Protestants thought that the Bible ought to be published in English, not Latin, that preaching ought to be done in English so that people could understand it.

Not surprisingly, this was proving pretty popular with Henry's subjects.

But not with Henry.

He was quite horrified by the thought of people having direct access to the Bible. He complained about this in Parliament.

He said that this most precious jewel, the word of God, was now being disputed, rhymed, sung and jangled in taverns and alehouses.

And one person who was doing more jangling than anyone else was Henry's own wife, Kathryn Parr.

Kathryn was an out and out evangelist.

She believed that God had chosen her to marry Henry, just so she could spread the good news about the new religion.

She even published a book -- it was called Prayers Or Meditations.

This was unprecedented -- it was the first book to be published in English by a woman, let alone queen, and it was a bestseller.

Now, Henry wasn't particularly bothered that she'd done this.

He thought that it was a nice little hobby for her to have, that it was woman's work.

But it did raise eyebrows in conservative circles close to the King.

What Kathryn had done was, technically, illegal -- women weren't supposed to preach the Word of God.

And it would turn out that Kathryn wasn't the only female in the family with these potentially subversive religious views.

The 12-year-old Princess Elizabeth is intelligent, devout and fluent in five languages.

To Elizabeth it seems perfectly natural that she should start translating religious works, just like her stepmother does.

It's New Year's Day 1546, and Elizabeth has decided to give her father a home-made New Year's gift.

It's a translation that she's done herself.

A gift from Elizabeth, made by her own fair hand.

Happy New Year, Your Majesty.

And what a precious gift it is.

Oh!

Do you recognise it, my Lord?

The Queen's book, sire.

Prayers Or Meditations.

You seem unhappy, sire.

And you cannot possibly guess why that might be?

This is heresy.

The Word of God defiled.

It is a gift, made with love by your daughter.

MY daughter.

Were you aware that Elizabeth had committed herself to this, in spite of my beliefs?

Sire, if I may say so, I see no reason why a difference of opinion on this matter should cause such upset between us.

You see no reason?

To deliberately provoke and insult me, and impose your faith on my child?

The fault is mine, Father.

Forgive me if I have offended you.

I am thankful for your efforts, child.

Of course, YOU are forgiven.

So Kathryn is spreading the new religion through her impressionable stepdaughter.

But on top of that, her work is also being read throughout the royal household, by her friends...

.. and her enemies.

There was a faction at court plotting against Kathryn.

They were conservatives, supporters of the old religion.

They were worried about her reforming tendencies, and her growing influence on the elderly King.

They whispered in Henry's ear and exploited his impatience with his wife.

The Queen was getting too powerful, they warned.

She was a Protestant, a heretic.

She must be burnt at the stake.

But Kathryn was one step ahead of them.

Take these and destroy them as soon as possible.

My lady, that's sacrilege.

Would you rather be destroyed yourself?

Please, let us not suffer the pain of death for our convictions.

As ever, place your trust in God.

Do not let fear consume you.

Go about your business as usual, but speak not a single word of this to anybody.

Take comfort in the Lord.

It shall pass.

Kathryn knows how much danger she's in, but she doesn't panic.

She and her ladies have acted quickly and decisively -- they've destroyed their heretical books.

But now Kathryn needs to save herself.

She needs to confront the King.

She's heard that the King's been persuaded to sign a warrant for her arrest.

It seems such a time since we sat together like this.

I have missed your company.

There has been much to cloud the mood of late.

Please speak freely, sire, I have nothing to hide from you.

You're fully aware of my concerns.

I feel no need to go over them again.

Indeed, perhaps it is the fact that you possess no inclination to hide your opinions from me that has become the problem.

You wish for a queen who will remain impassive and obedient at all times? I shall forever be obedient, my Lord, but I cannot be impassive.

It is this which allows me to serve you to the best of my capabilities.

To vigorously defend and protect our marriage by attending to your every need...

.. is my greatest joy.

That is not in question.

The problem...

.. is the articulation of your new-found belief, and its contradiction with mine.

Do not forget your place, madam.

If I engage in debate, it is only so that I may benefit from your clear instruction, not because I look to defy or contradict you.

Forgive me, my lord, your happiness is above everything else.

Please.

Keep your faith with me.

What is it?

Your Majesty, I have here a warrant for the arrest of Queen Kathryn.

On what charge?

Heresy, my lord.

You may leave now.

Your Majesty, my instructions are...

Your instructions come from your King, and I instruct you to leave.

Now.

Get away from here!

So Kathryn has succeeded where all Henry's previous wives have failed.

She's been to the brink of disaster, but somehow, she's managed to soothe his suspicions.

This is partly Kathryn's own cleverness and good sense, but it's also because Henry's old now, and frail.

Kathryn suits him pretty well.

And in his own funny way, he loves her.

He doesn't have the energy now to go hunting for yet another wife.

Harmony is restored to the royal household, and Kathryn wisely keeps her faith to herself.

But Henry's health is rapidly declining.

He's spending more and more time apart from Kathryn and his children, closeted away with only his most trusted advisers.

It's almost as if he's ashamed of his impending mortality.

Henry VIII died in the small hours of the 28th of January, 1547, and his nine-year-old son, Edward, was crowned king.

Kathryn was charged with bringing up the young Princess Elizabeth, and four months later Kathryn married Thomas Seymour, the man she'd been in love with before she became Queen.

Finally, at the age of 36, everything came together for Kathryn Parr.

She got pregnant.

She had the life she wanted, she had the man she wanted.

But then, like so many Tudor women, it was childbirth that got her in the end.

Her daughter was born, and a week later Kathryn died.

But that's not the end of the story.

After all the efforts that Henry's six wives made to give him a son, young King Edward would only rule for six years, and he too died.

And so Henry's daughters became Queen --

Mary, born to Catherine of Aragon, and Elizabeth, born to Anne Boleyn.

Queen Elizabeth I would rule England for 44 years, and you've got to agree that she was our greatest monarch ever.

Isn't it ironic that despite the infidelities, and despite the miscarriages, and the divorces, and the beheadings, despite all that drama that the six queens endured to try to give Henry a male heir, that, in the end, the Tudor dynasty was secured by a woman?