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This week’s episode begins with discussion about how much the King dotes on his new bride, Queen Catherine, and how his relationship with her has made the King a new man, more energetic and vigorous. Though the King is still unaware of Catherine’s past sexual relationship with a man from when she lived at Lambeth under the care of the Dowager Duchess, Catherine’s head Lady in Waiting, Lady Rochford, has uncovered the truth.
Former Lambeth resident and Catherine’s childhood friend Joan Bolmer is now also a Lady in Waiting sworn to secrecy by Queen Catherine. Catherine knows how deadly the truth about her past may be and has begged Joan not to tell anyone. Despite promising she wouldn’t, Joan tells Lady Rochford the information Catherine so desires to keep private.
Thomas Seymour’s wife, Lady Hartford, recently begun an affair with Lord Surrey intended to help her husband’s position at Court. Though Lady Hartford was initially very willing and eager with Lord Surrey, she is now playing hard to get. Surrey does not like this change and cools toward her immediately. He feels his family, the Howards, is more noble than the Seymours and now it looks like he will become the family’s adversary. The King is protective of Surrey and prevents his councilmen from investigating allegations that Surrey may be a heretic.
The King is upset with the amount of responsibility he has while the other members of the Court appear to be able to dance and have fun all day long. He decides to give Thomas Seymour an additional duty and makes him General to the North. He wants Seymour to deal with the King of Scots and the Scottish aggression against England. He encourages Seymour to use force, if necessary, so the Scots cease their “impertinence.”
It is the Christmas holidays and the King is showering Queen Catherine with lavish gifts. He also invites his daughter, the Lady Mary, and his most recent ex-wife, Anne of Cleves, to Court for the New Year. Lady Mary continues to be icy toward her new stepmother and Queen Catherine is upset by this. In contrast, Anne of Cleves is friendly and warm toward both the King and the new Queen. While Anne and Catherine become friends, Catherine decides the Lady Mary must be spoken to about her lack of respect toward Catherine.
The Queen visits Mary at her home and attempts to chasten Mary. Mary refuses to apologize for her attitude and tells Catherine that she thinks Catherine is “frivolous” and that the King will soon tire of his new wife. Catherine, feeling more angered than before, mocks Mary for her age and lack of a husband. She also takes away two of her maids as punishment for Mary’s rude behavior. Spanish Ambassador Chapuis tries to offer the Lady Mary advice about how to rectify this situation but Mary is deeply upset and unwilling to apologize; Catherine’s comment about Mary’s potentially permanent status as a maid felt to her terrifyingly accurate.
The King’s leg wound is acting up again and this time seems worse than before. There is talk among the King’s advisors and physicians that the King’s life may be in danger though the King is determined to prove them wrong. He limps into a meeting of his inner circle where he yells at the men and lets it be known that he believes they are all liars and only out for their own personal gain. He admits that he regrets being talked into putting Cromwell to death and refers to Cromwell as “the most faithful servant I ever had.”
Meanwhile, Lady Rochford and Joan Bolmer are working together to bring Queen Catherine and Mr. Culpepper together. Culpepper has made no secret of his desire for the Queen and it also appears that the Queen is attracted to him. Lady Rochford mentions to Catherine the possibility of having a secret relationship with Culpepper and also admits to Catherine that she knows the sordid details of her past. Catherine seems intrigued by the prospect of having an illicit romance with Culpepper and begins to spend quite a bit of time thinking and dreaming about such an affair. At the end of the episode Joan Bolmer leads Culpepper to Queen Catherine’s chamber at night.