Lord Privy Seal is a senior position upon the Privy Council of the King of England, as shown in The Tudors during the reign of King Henry VIII. The Lord Privy Seal is subordinate to the President of the Privy Council and the Lord Chancellor, and his role is mainly ceremonial, but nonetheless, the position has great advantage; as the bearer of the King's personal Seal, he has almost unlimited access to the King and his council's documents, and enormous personal access to the monarch himself, allowing him to give the King influential advice.
Three Lord Privy Seals are shown to be appointed over the course of Henry's reign, all of whom were supporters (to varying degrees) of the English Reformation:Sir Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire - previously Comptroller of the Royal Household, Ambassador to France and Lord of Rochford. Thomas Boleyn received increasing royal favor from the King due to the King's infatuation with his daughter Anne Boleyn (who later became Queen of England) and was made Lord Privy Seal in the Season One finale. Boleyn was also later made Lord Protector in the event of Henry's death. Although intelligent and ruthless, Boleyn cared far more about his and his family's personal prestige than he did about the Reformation. When the Boleyns fell from power at the end of Season Two, Thomas Boleyn was stripped of all his political offices and expelled from court, in permanent disgrace.
Sir Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex and Baron of Wimbleton- the common-born, Protestant Cromwell was already serving as Henry's Royal Secretary during Season One, and also became Lord Chancellor early in Season Two. He was initially an ally of the Boleyns, but later turned against them without hesitation. Cromwell's appointment as Lord Privy Seal at the start of Season Three, accompanied by a knighthood and ennoblement, was the peak of his meteoric rise in power. Cromwell was a brilliant minister and loyal to the King, but he made many enemies (partly out of resentment, since as both Chancellor and Lord Privy Seal he could dominate the Privy Council unchecked) and when Henry's ambiguous commitment to the Reformation clashed with Cromwell's hopes for a Protestant England, his downfall was assured. Cromwell was beheaded at the end of Season Three, though Henry later deeply regretted executing "the most faithful servant I ever had".
Edward Seymour, Earl of Hartford - Henry appointed Edward Seymour (the elder brother of his third wife Jane Seymour) Lord Privy Seal between Seasons Three and Four, in the aftermath of Cromwell's death. Seymour was even more ruthless and ambitious than his former rival Boleyn, and had played a role in Cromwell's destruction. Seymour used this position to check the power of Henry's privy Council, which was now dominated by pro-Catholic conservatives. Historically, however, though he was favored by King Henry, Edward Seymour was not Lord Privy Seal but Lord Protector of England during the reign of his nephew, King Edward VI.
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