In the final episode of the series, after the shock of Henry VIII’s jousting accident and Anne’s miscarriage, Anne is all too aware that her position at court is diminishing quickly.
Anne accuses Cromwell of going against her and siding with Princess Mary and her supporters after Henry’s nearly fatal accident. Yet, Cromwell openly states that he could not have held the throne for Anne and her unborn child, and so sent for Princess Mary instead.
In Masters of Phantoms, whilst in a rage with her sister-in-law, Jane Rochford, Anne dangerously confesses that the nobles Francis Weston and Harry Norris, along with musician Mark Smeaton, have all professed that they are in love with the Queen Consort. This is treason and Jane soaks this information up to use to what she believes to be her advantage.
Jane quickly reports this information to Cromwell, taking great pleasure in gossiping about the Queen, and even makes hints that her own husband, George Boleyn, has demonstrated his incestuous interest in his sister.
Cromwell is astonished by Jane’s accusations, yet is compelled to question Mark Smeaton thoroughly to find out if there is any truth in this matter. Smeaton very quickly confidently boasts about his involvements with Anne and, whilst under threat, he begins to reveal more names of people involved in exploits with the Queen, including that of Weston, Norris and William Brereton. With this information at hand, Cromwell now has enough evidence to arrest these men, along with Anne and her brother, and imprison them in the Tower of London and put them on trial.
Cromwell individually visits each man in his cells and questions their relations with the Queen. When interrogating these supposed gentlemen, Cromwell recalls how Brereton, Weston and George Boleyn all previously treated Cardinal Wolsey with such cruelty, and Cromwell sees this as an opportunity to avenge them.
Masters of Phantoms demonstrates how quickly Anne and the men around her fell from power, and how soon their fate rested not with The King, but with the executioner instead.
Masters of Phantoms will be broadcast on Wednesday 25th February at 9pm on BBC Two. It will be available to watch online shortly after.
This episode was adapted by Peter Straughan, directed by Peter Kosminsky and produced by Mark Pybus.
You can read more about Wolf Hall and take a look at the behind the scenes action on the set of the series here.
Photo credit: BBC/Company Productions Ltd