In ‘The Tudors’ Season 4 Episode 3, Her Majesty Queen Katherine is behaving as if she doesn’t want to live much longer. How else to explain her reckless trysts with Thomas Culpepper right under the nose of King Henry VIII?
Spoilers surely follow.
Things are beginning to sour just a bit in that September/May marriage between the middle aged King Henry and the teenage Katherine Howard. For one thing, Queen Katherine persists in not getting pregnant, always a sure thing to get the King in a foul mood. True, Henry has his heir in Prince Edward, but like every prudent monarch in the 16th century when disease can carry even the most seemingly healthy person just like that, a spare would be nice.
What’s more, King Henry has suddenly discovered that wife number four, Ann of Cleves, is not quite the ugly chew your arm off and run gal that he thought she was. She is not only pretty, but engaging, kind, and eager to please the King’s Majesty in every way. Indeed, the lady whom he rejected as a wife, he takes on as a mistress, something not exactly recorded by history, but it does make a kind of dramatic sense for the story.
Meanwhile the Earl of Surrey, Katherine’s uncle, is made a Knight of the Garter, a singular honor, but one that Surrey, coming from one of the oldest families in England, regards as his birthright. Indiscreetly, Surrey celebrates his investiture in a sleazy tavern, filled with trollops and low lifes. This and other things come to the attention of the Seymour brothers, who are as put out by Surrey as he detests them.
The King and a large escort, including not only Queen Catherine, but also Lady Mary, the King’s oldest daughter, go forth on progress to the north of England. There has recently been a rebellion there put down with the usual Tudor savagery. But the King, showing just a little bit of intelligence, is of a mind to forgive, if not forget. The good people of places like Lincoln and York respond to the King’s not coming to kill, rape, and pillage them with good cheer and tokens of their eternal devotion.
There is a scene of the King laying on hands upon a group of sick commoners. It was a superstition back in Tudor times that the touch of a King, who was second only to God, could cure disease. The King seems positively compassionate as he touches his subjects and prays for their recovery.
Queen Catherine also needs a laying on of hands, but very smartly on the backside. She has yet another assignation with Culpepper, this time in a place artfully called “The Stool Room.” If Henry ever gets a spare son, whose will it be one wonders?
Source, The Tudors, Season 4, Episode 3, TV.Com