Armchairing's Blog

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Episode VIII begins with King Henry and Queen Katherine sitting for a painstaking portrait which probably took hours of standing in the same pose to achieve.  What a contradiction.  The King is aggressively seeking a divorce from his Queen so that he could marry Anne Boleyn and yet they pose for a family portrait.  Similarly to many families today, they save face for the public while their lives are unraveling behind the scenes. 

In this episode, a newfound respect and admiration for Queen Katherine grows in me.  She stands, perfectly lady-like but with a fighting spirit as she is attacked from all angles.  The King and the ‘men of the cloth’ who are scared out of their wits by the King, try everything in the book to get the Queen to leave the King ‘willfully’ since it looks as though the Pope will not grant the King his divorce.  I don’t know how I would have acted amidst the intense pressure.

The King asks the Queen to retire to a Nunnery with grace and leave him to the occupation of marrying Anne Boleyn.  She refuses stating that that is not God’s will for her.  It is God’s will for her to be Queen of England and she continues to stand behind her claim that her marriage to King Henry’s brother was never consummated; therefore it is not wrong for him to be married to her.  This is King Henry’s only argument for having his marriage voided. 

Cardinal Wolsey’s life hangs in the balance as he is well aware of as everyone else is, that the King must always have his own way or there would be dire consequences.  So he resorts to sending other lawyers who resemble ‘men of the cloth’  to threaten the Queen by stating that if the King is assassinated, she and her daughter would be prime suspects.  I even thought that was a new low for Wolsey.  It is obvious that he would do whatever it takes, even threatening a woman and her innocent child, to ensure that his career and riches stay in tact. 

Lastly, the King himself threatens to take the Queen’s daughter away from her permanently if she doesn’t grant him a divorce.  I loved and admired the way the Queen stood up to the menacing figure of King Henry and reprimanding him for thinking of taking their daughter from her.  She then refused to bend to his whim.  As my respect for her grew, I noticed my respect for her adversary, Anne Boleyn waning.  Although it was intriguing to watch Anne Boleyn’s cunning catch the eye and heart of the King, the reality is that she is nothing but a woman, employed by her father and uncle, to use the King to bring down Cardinal Wolsey.  Even though she has apparently fallen in love with the King, he is still a married man and this is wrong.  So her end could never be a favorable one. 

Anyway, a court trial commences with the Queen vs. the King.  The Queen uses her craftiness to portray herself as a humble woman (as she respectfully kneels before the King) who only loves and wants more than anything to be loved by her husband who is, as she emphasizes, was her first and only lover.  The King and the Cardinal are mortified because they know that this humble display can only work in her favor.  She then makes a dignified exit out of the courtroom, against the Cardinals orders, to a throng of subjects cheering for her.  She definitely had the hearts of the public and rightfully so.  I am in awe of this woman played brilliantly I might add, by Maria Doyle Kennedy.  I can’t wait to see the end of this case, even if I already know that the Pope will never grant the King his divorce.

My rating: 5 out of 5 gold pounds


March 29, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Awesome! Its actually remarkable piece of writing, I have got much clear
    idea regarding from this article.

    Comment by kleines wohnzimmer einrichten ideen | April 28, 2015 | Reply

    • Thank you. I am glad the article helped you. I thoroughly enjoyed this episode.

      Comment by N.A. Sharpe | April 29, 2015 | Reply

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