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Death of a Monarchy is the 10th episode of Season 4 and the finale of The Tudors series.

SummaryEdit

King Henry is forced to surrender Boulogne, his great prize, as part of a peace treaty with France. But where, in the past, he might have felt anger, his feelings now turn melancholic with the news that King Francis, his long-time friend and sometimes foe, is dying. There is a slow, quiet and nonetheless inevitable shifting of allegiances as Henry’s own health begins to fade. Factions are forming at court as thoughts turn towards a successor. Some see Prince Edward, Henry’s son by Jane Seymour, as his natural heir while others, notably Bishop Gardiner, are determined to restore a Catholic to the throne in the person of Lady Mary. Under the orders of Gardiner, an arrest warrant for Queen Catherine is issued on the grounds of heresy. However, when Wriothesley and his men come to arrest the Queen –- believing that they are carrying out the King’s orders –- they are brutally rebuffed by Henry in a complex psychological game that leaves everyone uncertain of his allegiances and beliefs. For his overreaching ambition, Bishop Gardiner is expelled from court, leaving the Lutheran factions –- led by Prince Edward's uncle, Edward Seymour –- suddenly dominant, prompting Wriothesley to switch his allegiance to Seymour. Hearing that Charles Brandon is ill, the King summons his old friend to court. It is to be their last encounter. Brandon dies soon after and Henry is greatly shaken: his longest and most loyal ally is now gone. Henry also commissions artist Hans Holbein to do a portrait of him, but soon rejects the realistically sickly depiction and demands that Holbein repaint it. He sees the ghosts of his past wives with his children: Catherine of Aragon, who tells him that Mary should have been married and have children of her own by now; Anne Boleyn, who proclaims her innocence of the crimes she was beheaded for, the ill-fated death of her cousin Katherine Howard, and her pride in their daughter Elizabeth; finally Jane Seymour, who tells him that she is upset at young Edward's being shut away, and that he will die young. Realizing that his own death is now imminent, Henry retreats more and more into himself and sends Queen Catherine and his beloved daughters Mary and Elizabeth away from Whitehall Palace, telling them that he will not see them again. Queen Catherine and Lady Mary weep outside Henry's chamber, but Elizabeth bravely strides away, ready to face her destiny. As Henry sits alone in his room reflecting on his momentous reign, he is called back to see his new portrait, of which he approves. As he turns and leaves the room, the fates of Henry's children are briefly explained, with a final note that the Tudor dynasty ultimately produced the two most famous monarchs in English history: Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.