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Buckingham complains to Norfolk of Cardinal Wolsey's controlling hand in recent peace negotiations with France. Abergavenny (Buckingham's son-in-law), accompanying them, agrees with Buckingham. Shortly later, Buckingham and Abergavenny are arrested for high treason and taken to the Tower of London. At the royal court, Queen Katherine informed King Henry VIII that a 1/6th tax had been levied on the subjects, without his approval, but with Cardinal Wolsey's approval. Henry VIII instructed the Cardinal to revoke the tax and pardon non- paying subjects. The cardinal does, but takes credit himself for informing the king of the tax. Duke Buckingham's ex-surveyor testifies to Henry VIII that Buckingham (who's father, Henry, opposed Richard III), wants to be king, either by Henry dying of sickness or murder; either way, since Henry VIII has no son, Buckingham would take the crown. Outside the palace, three nobles complain of the sly whoresons (Frenchmen) recently inhabitating England's court. At a gala held by Wolsey, Lord Sands is wooing the ladies when the King and others, disguised as foreign travelers, crash the banquet. Henry VIII dances with Anne Bullen, daughter of Thomas Bullen and lady-in-waiting to the queen. Two gentleman discuss how Buckingham was found guilty and conjecture that the Cardinal, whom many commoners hate, is behind the false accusations. Buckingham is led to his death and the gentleman discuss how the Cardinal is now plotting to get rid of Queen Katherine. Norfolk tells Suffolk and lord Chamberlain that Wolsey is trying to convince Henry VIII to end his 20 year marriage to Katherine. Cardinal Campeius arrives from Rome as Gardiner (loyal to Wolsey) is appointed Henry's new secretary. Anne Bullen laments on the virtuous Queen Katherine's imminent divorce, and vows to herself to never be Henry's queen. (Katherine is daughter of Ferdinand, king of Spain and was initially Henry VIII's brothers wife.) Chamberlain informs Bullen that he has made her Marcioness of Pembroke, but she fears this may lead to her marriage to Henry VIII.
At Blackfriars, the divorce trial is begun, but Katherine derides Wolsey and walks out. Henry VIII explains that he wants divorce since Katherine has given him no male children. Wolsey and Campeius visit Katherine and warn her to beg forgiveness of the King; she obeys. Norfolk, Surrey, Suffolk, and Chamberlain discuss that King Henry now suspects Wolsey of wrongdoing, yet plants to marry Anne Bullen. Wolsey wants Henry VIII to marry Mary the French King's sister. Henry VIII discovers incriminating evidence of disloyalty against Wolsey and confronts him with it. Norfolk and others arrive to reclaim the Great Seal from Wolsey for his illegal activities, but he refuses to hand it over. Cromwell visits Wolsey at a monastery and informs of recent news, most importantly that Henry VIII has revealed his secret marriage to Anne Bullen. Cromwell pledges his allegiance to Wolsey. Anne Bullen is crowned queen, while Katherine grows sick while under house arrest. Griffith informs her of Wolsey's recent death. Katherine, on her death bed, is comforted by Lord Capucius, with whom she sends a letter to the king. Lovell informs Gardiner that Anne Bullen is in labor and failing in health, to which Gardiner replies that only after Anne Bullen, Cranmer (Archbishop of Canterbury), and Cromwell are dead will all be well. Henry VIII warns Cranmer that the council will try to imprison him, but that he (Henry) will try to support him. Bullen has a baby girl while Gardiner (Lord of Winchester) convinces the council to send Cranmer to the Tower; however, Henry VIII intercedes, revoking all charges. Henry VIII's new daughter, Elizabeth, is baptized by Cranmer. Cranmer predicts (correctly) that Elizabeth will be a great Queen, though will die a virgin, afterwhich all will mourn her.
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