After we saw Cromwell begining to grow in the King’s favour in episode two, this week’s showing of Wolf Hall sees Henry VIII rely more and more on the lawyer for the administering of courtly affairs.
This episode, titled Anna Regina, sees Cromwell’s attempt to write and push through a bill in Parliament to acknowledge The King as the Head of the Church of England, and abandon any connections with Rome.
Anna Regina sees Henry’s plans to marry Anne Boleyn come under attack as Harry Percy’s wife announces her marriage as unlawful, owing to her husband’s supposed betrothal to Anne years ago. With Cromwell’s position growing stronger at court, the Boleyn family now look to Thomas to find a resolution to the problem of Percy. This is a job that Cromwell is only too happy to oblige in, for he now has the chance to bring Percy down, just like Percy did to Cardinal Wolsey.
During this episode, after a frosty start to their relationship, Anne begins to favour Cromwell more, finding him a permanent position in the household of the King. With this, Cromwell follows the Royal Court to Calais to meet with the French King, Francis I.
The meeting in France becomes a tempestuous one among the English courtiers. During a court dance Anne is seen to flirt with a member of the French nobility right under the nose of Henry, much to his anger. This situation is reconciled by Cromwell, who finds the opportunity to stop Anne from disobeying the King further. Although this public flirtation leads to an argument between Anne and Henry, the couple finally reconcile, and Henry pledges his loyalty and devotion to Anne in front of witnesses.
Keeping to his word, Henry marries Anne soon after the court returns to England, and Anne is crowned Queen consort. Although she has achieved her goal after years of waiting, Anne is all too aware of the noble families at court and members of the public who refuse to accept her as their legitimate Queen.
Now pregnant, Anne knows all too well she must produce a male heir in order to secure her position on the throne, or risk facing her rivals’ opposition further.
Anna Regina will be broadcast on Wednesday 4th 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.
Photo credit: BBC/Company Productions Ltd