"I will be called a 'she-wolf' by no man!" -Lady Anne Stanhope

Lady Anne "Anna" Stanhope is the Countess of Hertford and the second wife of Edward Seymour, the Earl of Hertford.  She and her husband are both are strong supporters of the Protestant Reformation in England. Anna appears in Seasons Three and Four of The Tudors as a recurring character.

Season ThreeEdit

Anna makes her entrance having sex with Sir Francis Bryan, having consented to being his new mistress. Anna admits that her husband, Edward, would likely torture Bryan to death if he found out. She and her husband do not have a loving relationship - Anna goes out of her way to cheat on him due to his cold and indifferent personality - though they value each others' advice.

Contrary to her husband, Anna seems to enjoy her relationship with the Lothario-like Bryan, who is apt at reading her personality:  when they are having sex behind a large tapestry at a party (with Edward being mere yards away) he correctly deduces that Anna doesn't actually care about the risks and that she is just as much of a voyeur as he is.  Anna dislikes her husband's harsh treatment of his sister Queen Jane Seymour (despite Jane being a Catholic and Anne a Reformist); when Edward and Jane's father John Seymour dies, she tells him that he should be kinder to her.

Edward eventually figures out the connection between Anna and Bryan and warns Bryan off, but neither of them takes him seriously; Anna coldly remarks to her husband that, given that he shows her no affection (despite her having born him many children) he should not expect her to be faithful to him.  Edward subsequently relents, and Anna resumes her relationship with Bryan, though they part ways at the end of Season Three.

Season FourEdit

Early in Season Four, Anna is pursued by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, a rival of her husband.  Although she is flattered by Surrey's attentions and encouraged by Edward to make an association with him (since he carries the King's favor), Anna refuses the Earl's presumptuous offer to become his mistress.  Surrey subsequently treats her with as much contempt as her husband, derisively referring to her as a 'she-wolf' (as her husband's crest is a wolf) in one of his poems; this angers Anna, who tells her husband to humiliate Surrey if he gets the chance. Edward admits it is more advantageous to work with Surrey now, despite his arrogance, but he would take such an opportunity if it comes.

Anna later flirts with her brother-in-law, Thomas Seymour, while Edward is conducting military raids in Scotland on the King's behalf. She eventually coerces him into an affair by saying he should be more like his brother, who 'takes what he wants'. By episode 4.05, Anna is pregnant, and implies to Thomas that he is probably the father (though Edward, who has now returned, doesn't seem perturbed). She gives birth to a boy at the end of the episode, whom she names Thomas, much to her husband's chagrin. Anna shows little surprise when Katherine Howard is found guilty of adultery, remarking to Edward, "You knew she wasn't innocent when you brought her to the King."

Anna with her newborn son

Later in the Season, Anna and her husband disassociate themselves with several Protestants among the King's musicians, who are being charged with heresy by the ruthless Catholic Bishop Gardiner. Edward refuses to shelter one of them when he pleads for sanctuary, since it condemns him and Anna by association; Anna, knowing he will likely be tortured for the names of fellow Protestants, threatens his wife and children if he implicates her or her husband.  Her threat is apparently sufficient; despite Gardiner angrily offering the musician freedom if he implicates Edward, he remains silent under torture.

Gardiner later arrests and tortures the outspoken Calvinist preacher Anne Askew (who is secretly Anna's friend) in 4.09.  Although Anne bravely refuses to give the names of any of her fellow Protestants, she admitted in her preliminary questioning that she was given financial support by 'a woman in a blue coat' who turns out to be Anne Stanhope's handmaiden. Anna later tearfully attends Anne's execution by burning.  She gives the executioner a bag to tie around her neck which will 'end her pain quickly'; the bag turns out to contain gunpowder, which explodes as soon as the bag catches fire, killing Anne instantly.  Anna is then approached by her enemy, the pro-Catholic Lord Chancellor Thomas Wriothesley, who tells her Bishop Gardiner would like to see her.

Anna and her enemy Chancellor Wriothesley

Later in the episode, Anna confronts the Bishop in his office at night; Gardiner, having decided to investigate her simply for association, presents her with a warrant for her arrest, but Anna smugly replies that he will never serve it.  She reveals that she knows he has not renounced worldly goods, and that he secretly embezzled the contents of two wealthy closed-down monasteries that should have gone to the royal exchequer - making him guilty of stealing directly from the Crown.  Anna smugly tells Gardiner to tear up his warrant or she will tell the King. She then sweeps out, leaving Gardiner furious.