The Tudors Recap – Season 4 Episode 5: Bottom of the Pot (Part 1)

The One Where they think it might be Dereham

To Whitehall, where Henry and Katherine and the court got back so quickly it’s still summer.

Haven’t seen this view in a while.

While Actually Historically I think we’re at Wednesday 2nd November 1541. Henry’s got the note and Hertford, delighted by still having a living nephew-heir to the throne, has a moment of breathtaking confidence before getting slapped back into his place by Henry as the first shoe drops for Katherine Howard.

The Hell did you just say Hertford? Get yourself a titanium collar during the episode break, did you?

Hertford then goes into the contents of the letter, which is and was the details of Katherine’s pre marital sex life, of Manox the music master, followed by her relationship with Dereham. It’s an anonymous letter in The Tudors, where it was known to be written by Archbishop Cranmer in Actual History.

Henry’s reaction is pretty historically solid.

That, on first examination, he ‘considered the matter forged’ is recorded (1). As was the fact that, nevertheless, he wanted the whole thing investigated as thoroughly and quietly as possible (2).

Although, while it chimes in spirit, I haven’t been able to find the origin of the titular line, which appears to have been a later spin put on Henry’s instruction.

You could say I haven’t been able to get to the bottom of the pot about the bottom of the pot. Maybe it’s further down the pot.

Henry orders Katherine confined to her apartments with only Lady Rochford to attend her for drama reasons.

No one dances to the Anne Boleyn Remix

There is a pretty famous description of Katherine Howard’s confinement during the first part of the investigation from Marillac:

“…The way taken is the same as with Queen Anne who was beheaded; she has taken no kind of pastime but kept in her chamber, whereas, before, she did nothing but dance and rejoice, and now when the musicians come they are told that it is no more the time to dance.”(3)

The Tudors doesn’t quote this, but uses it as scene inspiration, as Katherine’s house arrest actually interrupts her and her ladies dancing.

While Katherine pleads confusion and finds the limits of her golden cage have rapidly shrunk to this door right here, it seems like Lady Rochford is little ahead of her in the descent into horror.

Thomas Seymour arrests Dereham in the main hall, and Dereham manages to sound outraged. Dereham was taken into custody probably either late on the 2nd or early on the 3rd, and the story was put about that they were investigating old claims of his piracy in Ireland (4).

While we are taken to the Tower, for Joan Bulmer’s interrogation by Richard Rich.

It’s very much an Anne Boleyn Redux, but while Marillac might have reckoned the treatment of the Queen was similar in both cases, the investigation of Katherine Howard was a very different animal. Anne Boleyn’s early investigation had a lot of pulling in her ladies in waiting to see what they could get out of them, but the only people from Katherine’s current court life questioned in the early stages were Francis Dereham, Katherine’s aunt Lady Margaret Howard, and Katherine Tilney. Joan Bulmer, as has been mentioned before, was not here.

In the first 72 hours of the Howard investigation Henry’s councilors were sent out undercover to track down three main witnesses that could show them if the matter was worth investigating, John Lascelles, Mary Lascelles (now Hall) and Henry Manox.

The first thing was to find out if the Lascelles, knowing that the matter had now come to the King’s attention would stand by their story, or whether they would admit to lying and throw themselves onto the King’s mercy, having got in far deeper than they realised with unfounded tales.

William Fitzwilliam, the Earl of Southampton got the Lascelles. He went first to John in London, to find out if he’d stand by what he said, which John did. The day after that Mary and her husband’s quiet home life in Sussex was interrupted by a group of hunters who asked to rest briefly in their home. The leader of the hunters got Mary alone at one point, to reveal who he was (Southampton) and his mission. Would she stand by what she had said? Yes, Mary too was ready to be officially questioned about it (5).

Wriothesley and Cranmer went to the London Parish of Lambeth on Saturday the 5th to speak to the man Joan Bulmer is about to be questioned about in The Tudors– Henry Manox, who still worked and lived in the parish.

Other than a bit of a editing and cleanup for a modern ear, and the c bomb line that has been moved out of Manox’s mouth and given to Dereham, The Tudors’ Joan Bulmer speaks Mary Lascelles actual historical evidence against Manox.

When she became aware of his affair with Katherine, Mary had told Manox that he would not be able to marry Katherine “…she is come of a noble house and if thou should marry her some of her blood would kill thee” to which Manox said

“Hold thy peace woman, I know her well enough. I have had her by the c*nt, and she hath said to me that I shall have her maidenhead though it be painful to her, not doubting I will be good to her hereafter” (6)

One of the incredible things to the modern audience is the fact that, of all the people involved in this, the one that got away scot free was the 18-20 year old teacher of a young girl of around 14, who used his position in the household to get into a relationship with her, pressured her into foreplay, including the disturbing detail that she finally permitted this on condition he would stop trying to pressure her into full sex (q2), which he didn’t. He continued to try very hard to pressure her into sex while planning to marry (and then marrying) someone else, and yet Manox was the one that walked away from all this.

Well, he didn’t put his dick in her so according to Tudor morality that was all kind of OK.

It also didn’t hurt that, when questioned, Manox was very forthcoming. Dates, locations, the details of that attempt to alert the Dowager Duchess that backfired, and witness names, lots and lots of witness names. From the maids that used to deliver love tokens from him to Katherine, to Edward Waldgrave being Dereham’s wingman, to Mary Lascelles who helped engineer Katherine’s breakup with him, there were many names, sympathetic and unsympathetic that could corroborate his evidence and he delivered them all (7). This gave them a lot more leeway and a lot of leads when investigating what had gone on with Dereham later.

His inclusion of Mary reflects well on his investigators, and the evidence they uncovered, as they apparently knew enough to not tell Manox about her being the source.

During his interview, when they got onto the sex part, Manox became, like Francis Dereham is about to be with Hertford, a bit evasive. Just wanting to say he had ‘felt more than was convenient’ (7). A bit of pressure was applied, and he got more specific, but they believed him when he said it never went beyond foreplay. Apart from anything else, as time went on, all the other testimony that came in confirmed what he said.

Francis, meet consequences

Francis gets a very different interview tone. He gets Lord ’empathy is for other people’ Hertford, and a guy in the back writing all of this down. Hertford is down to ‘Did you have carnal knowledge of Katherine Howard?’ pretty damn quickly and gets long pauses and evasive answers back, although the seriousness of it all seems to be starting to sink in for Francis.

This is right, but a little early in the timeline. They got corroboration of Francis and Katherine’s relationship from a lot of the Dowager Duchesses’ household, but that was in the following few weeks(8).

We don’t get to hear Francis’ answer to Hertford’s question but we know it didn’t satisfy Hertford, because we go down to the torture storage chamber where “Gettin’ things to be more spiky” is apparently one of the team’s hobbies.

And they’ve been making time for their hobbies

And finally, to Hertford’s satisfaction, a tour of the torture storage chamber knocks the last remnants of cockiness right out of Dereham.

What is the guys’ deal?

In the next scene, Henry and Brandon are playing cards, and Henry decides he should tell his friend what is going on.

Henry opens by taking a good, long, appraising look at his best friend. That’s interesting.

Brandon, the Henry Whisperer, is super cautious this scene. He grey rocks like he’s granite, and has no comment, whatsoever, about any part of this situation, no matter how Henry prods. Clever Brandon.

Really? The young woman who swiped your ring across her vagina 10 minutes after meeting you, provided a strip tease at your request an evening or two later, then had pre marital sex with you before she swung on a swing naked in the moonlight for a couple hours….had had some sexual experience before you met? Goodness me, I am very surprised. Let me clutch these pearls a minute.

Henry warns Brandon against saying anything of this to others – he doesn’t want any ‘spark of scandal’ about the Queen’s name… while it’s being investigated.

Henry is surprisingly chipper at the moment, even ending the scene with a chirpy grin.

For The Tudors’ Henry, I think we can suppose that the shine is off the Katherine Howard marriage, she has conspicuously failed to get pregnant, and now he’s got a good reason for another annulment, that can be all his new wife’s fault. Like he said, he has a good hand.

What is the girls’ Deal?

Not so great. All the current imprisonment, impending doom, fear and hysteria is definitely souring the mood at the girls’ sleepover.

Yeah, but the little people worry about losing their lives, too, Katherine, that’s the thing.

She wasn’t kept with just Lady Rochford. While she would have noticed her aunt and Katherine Tilney go missing, and would have known something had happened (perhaps she even heard about Dereham getting arrested), Katherine was kept, with most of her household in her apartments and was not confronted by anyone until after the first report to the King.

The Tudors‘ Katherine, having gone around in circles for a bit, decides on her plan of action.

In this moment, she’s a craftsperson, looking at a favoured and reliable tool and hoping it will do the job for her one more time. Pushing down those sniffles, getting ready to put on a smile, as the world endlessly advises traumatised women to do. But her plan relies on finding the Henry that loved and favoured and was absolutely captivated by her, in place and at home when she gets to see him. And that sunny and generous demi God is an unreliable house guest in the house of Henry at best. The actual householder is kind of a paranoid Russian mafia Don with anger management issues, an untamed, unrealistic and dangerous romantic streak, and illnesses that affect his mental stability.

That guy’s been moving back in for a while, and Queen Katherine’s secrets are spilling out of a guy in a cell in the tower.

Dereham Confesses

In that cell, Hertford is asking about gifts given and received by Dereham and Katherine. Gift giving was an important and significant part of courtship in the era – Henry’s opening gift to Katherine was some land with two houses on it. Gifts were tangible evidence of a relationship that could be used to determine how serious the relationship was, which is why there are so many examples of ‘who got who what present’ in the evidence, and why I’m slightly annoyed that The Tudors gets it wrong.

The gold chain and rich cap was the indulgent gift of a Queen, and she gave it to Culpeper, not Dereham (9). Her gifts with Dereham from that earlier year were more numerous and humble. Ornamental flowers replicated in silk were all the rage for young lovers, apparently, and Dereham gave her a french fennel, she gave him a heart’s ease (a type of viola) (10). There were items of clothing she got him but she denied any exchange of rings. They were, however, clearly dealing with each other’s money, paying off shopping debts and when he went to Ireland he left Katherine with the sizable sum of £100 to keep for him, which is something that would be considered a ‘wifely duty’.

All of which made Dereham’s claim of the following pretty plausible.

It certainly seems that they were being allowed to act (or ‘play’) at being husband and wife, and as long as Francis might still make good, and Katherine remained an obscure member of the house of Howard, their marriage could be winked at as a possibility. Katherine in her confession would say she did not recall saying “I promise you I do love you with all my heart” but actively denied

“…that I should promise him by my faith and troth, that I would never other husband but him, I am sure I never spake them”(10).

But while Katherine might have been easy to move in on for a young man, she was also a girl who easily moved on herself, and by the time Francis came back from Ireland she was already infatuated with Culpeper.

The Tudors’ Francis Dereham, like actual historical Francis Dereham, gives up the salient details of his time with Katherine pretty quickly, and for pretty good reason. What they did was barely illegal, never prosecuted if it was, and had she made any marriage other than the one she did, no one would have found out about her and Francis Dereham, or cared that much if they did. I mean, her future husband might’ve, but there would be nothing to do about it unless he suspected she had been pregnant when they married. This kind of thing happened.

One of the big problems the councillors and Henry would have towards the end of this process was finding something they could actually charge Dereham with. Of course, what made them so certain of Katherine’s wantonness and his wickedness is the one thing he lies about here.

But maybe, a little bit, all the blackmailing, too, perhaps?

Coming to work for Katherine and her allowing it – the councilor’s and Henry’s mind ran to just the one possibility, that she was moving her boyfriend back in. The only Francis Dereham that was going to survive this was a Francis Dereham that stayed in Ireland and ran from there to Spain or something.

Francis vehemently denies Hertford’s suggestion that he slept with the Queen, on his honour, which Hertford is kind of unnecessarily snippy about.

You… man that has had pre marital sex, you.

Mary’s Take

To Hunsdon House,

Chapuys is visiting because he has heard rumours of the Queen’s misconduct, and she is confined to her apartments, but no one knows why. It is time Princess Mary knows what he knows, and I was hoping for a spontaneous up-beat musical number, but she keeps it tamped down to chilly satisfaction and ‘I Told you so’ ing

When Chapuys points out that this loss of a Catholic Queen is bad news for the Catholic faction, Mary, for once, rises above her Catholic factionalism to say “No, screw that bitch. She’s awful“.

So, someone’s having a good week.

See More Retrospectively

This scene is, like most things containing the Seymours, all for the drama. Also it’s dealing with a court problem really invented for the drama, that the young harlot thrown at Henry for harloting purposes Henry married and subsequently declared a virgin. And now it’s been discovered she was actually a bit of a harlot. Everyone’s reality is now having to take a spin to account for that, and Edward Seymour is having a fret.

Anne is a good 6 months or more pregnant at the moment, and of course they have the morality base that looks at a 14-15 year old rapidly seduced in succession by two older men and blames the 14-15 year old.

Which is problematic, but gives Anne a set up for her great ‘Huh… yeah.‘ when asked by her husband “Well who is innocent?” And suddenly brother Tom has nervous energy to displace.

Edward explains the current state of play with Dereham, that he’s admitted only to sleeping with the Queen before she was married, and when Thomas asks if he believes that, Edward heavily implies the possibility of future torture.

Anne prods at her husband, reminding him that he was one of the ones that introduced Katherine to Henry, in a a way that looks like she might be enjoying it a bit, and causing her husband to snap and be a bit over dramatic.

Still, that is the take on reality that’s going to get him through this. Shocked and scandalised, how could Katherine Howard not be a virgin when she met the King?

Edward says goodnight, and once he’s gone Anne takes a moment, relaxes in her chair a bit, and turns to Thomas, archly saying:

“So Thomas, what shall we call your child?”

Oh, Anne.

No News is Good News

Back in the Queen’s apartments, the machinery that provided for her needs has broken down. There’s only two people left, and they’re terrified and not allowed out of the room. No one’s taking the plates away, the flowers are left to wilt,

and everyone’s head is in ‘lockdown without hairdresser’ mode. Katherine ambushes Sir Edward when he comes in with breakfast, overloading him with urgency and getting the good hearted guy to give up some news.

Katherine has gone from internally screaming for information to being terrified in the face of it in about 3 seconds, and just stands there, trying to breathe.

Telling Henry, and others find out

We get to the meeting where Henry is informed of the results of the preliminary investigation, which happened November 6th 1541.

Henry is announced by Risley and flanked by Culpeper as he enters the meeting, leading to this little moment.

One of the things I love about the Tudors is the way characters not in the centre of the action still get their own arcs. Brandon is playing his cards very close to his chest because of that lingering look he caught between Katherine and Culpeper. The way Culpeper looks he’s got an idea of Brandon’s suspicions as well. The story of Brandon’s long silences this episode along with the little looks builds to the statement he’ll make at the end of this recap.

On to the meeting, where Bishop Gardiner basically takes Archbishop Cranmer’s place, as he will for most of the investigation. He intro’s Hertford who gives Henry a report on the state of his wife’s virginity.

Yeah, Henry’s self belief in his ability to detect virginity really should be taking a knock and everyone is watching for his reaction. And that’s before the most damning evidence they have right now comes in.

And that action Katherine took, of employing Dereham, really was the smoking gun for them. That she did it for licentious reasons was all that occurred to them, and once it occurred to them, all they were willing to hear. The likely truth, that he blackmailed her into it, was not a possibility anyone really saw.

Henry’s reaction to this first bit of news is recorded in a letter from the council to William Paget, Ambassador to France. He was described as suddenly becoming very quiet on the news, and finally speaking “with many tears (which was strange) in his courage”(11)

Which is hard to translate but I think could either be saying “Our King is just so manly he almost never cries” or it’s describing tears of rage.

Here, Henry’s clearly hurt and angry but he stays pretty calm.

After this meeting Cranmer would question Katherine for the first time, and council meetings happened at various members houses, and at odd hours as they moved the investigation forward, but desperately tried to keep things quiet (12). They were reasonably successful. It didn’t become common knowledge, but the ambassadors, like Chapuys and Marillac had an idea of what was going on early, and got better informed as the investigation progressed.

The Dowager Duchess must have heard something. The Duke of Norfolk, who had been recalled along with Brandon on the 2nd, was suddenly approached by Robert Damport, when he was leaving one of these late night council meetings, which had happened at the Archbishop’s Palace in Lambeth. Damport was a friend of Francis Dereham and a servant of the Dowager Duchess. And the Dowager Duchess was apparently just offering a room for the night at Norfolk house in Lambeth rather than him traveling back into the city (13).

Norfolk demurred, with polite regrets, already steering clear of the sinking wing of the family. Robert Damport returned to a household right on the edge of panic (13). And at that point, the old lady decided to take some action. She took a couple of her servants to the chest where Dereham’s papers were stashed, and a man called Dunn to break the locks(14). Once they were broken, she took all the papers and went to her bedroom. No one was allowed to see the papers and it was a few days later that she sent them to the Duke of Norfolk, who, she could be assured would hand them on to the investigators like a hot potato. She had just given herself the chance to curate them first.

The Dowager Duchess told Robert Damport on several occasions that no matter what happened, Dereham and Katherine would not be executed, because pre marital sex was not a death penalty crime. Katherine would lose her title, she would be disgraced, but the Dowager was clinging to hope and wondered aloud if Katherine might not be divorced and then ‘shall become to me home again'(15).

You often get the idea in adaptations that with Katherine Howard no one really cared about her demise, but at least the woman that raised her was desperate to save her.

Katherine’s Run

It’s a legend. There’s no evidence for it, and pretty much everyone that writes about Katherine Howard calls it a legend, or outright dismisses it (16). The legend is that Katherine Howard made a break from her house arrest and ran to get to Henry as he was at or leaving Mass that Sunday the 6th November. That she did not make it, and, screaming, she was caught and dragged away.

But The Tudors loves a good story and this one is just too dramatic to pass up.

You can imagine that the hours are long in the Queen’s chambers now.

Katherine has given up on anything but ‘long flowing locks’ and is sat at the table, staring at nothing, when Thomas Seymour comes in. But the fear and neuroses are just beneath the surface, taking only a slight disturbance to release them. She runs to the door, asking for news, and as he tells her that her jewels and goods are being inventoried and taken, that she no longer has the title of Queen and she’s being moved to Syon Abbey, it’s like she’s barely hearing him. She’s focused on one thing only . She has to speak to Henry.

In her desperation her one possibility at fixing this has become a probability at fixing this, has become the thing that will fix this and she is desperate for what she is now sure is her one chance. Fortunately for her, this weeping, terrified young woman is not something her guards are expecting much from and for a moment, they’re not watching her, or the door.

It’s brilliant. No historical basis, but a beautifully done dramatic piece, that’s a retelling of a story that’s been going around for centuries.In The Tudors It’s an echo of what she did when she ran through the guards to tell him she was pregnant. The Tudors has also been building to this more recently with their Katherine’s increasing insistence that if she just sees Henry she can fix this. And when she gets there she just keeps repeating her name, over and over, trying to get Henry to just see her as he used to. But her Henry is now gone and even her lover stood behind him is just keeping his head down.

I think one of the best parts for me is the “Oh shit” reaction of the ambassadors. Another young wife, until recently a celebrated jewel of womanhood, dragged, all wild hair and terrified screaming, from the presence of her husband to who knows what fate.

And you know what? In The Tudors, I think Katherine’s run worked, and pierced through Henry’s emotional armour. The next thing that happens is a thoughtful, very tamped down Henry calls for Risley pretty sharply, and tells him to go and get Bishop Gardiner.

Brief Torture Interlude

We skip, briefly, to The Tower, where an experienced hand is moving over an expertly designed wooden case that we last saw in the torture storage chamber.

That one just looks like a key. What does that one do?

He picks up a pair of pincers as Francis Dereham yelling ‘No’ and ‘I’ve already told you everything’ is dragged into the room.

Yes, this is the bit where they start making sure of that.

There’s some great teamwork and respectful workplace dynamics going on at the Tower’s torture team, but Dereham’s not really able to appreciate that. The two guys get his hand of the table and pincer dude just whips his fingernail right out. It’s only on screen for a second or two (very efficiently done, they’re just a well oiled fingernail removing machine down at the Tower), but I am still feeling it. As I’m sure is Francis Dereham.

The Confessions of Katherine Howard

Gardiner arrives at Syon Abbey.

And all three people in the following scene, Bishop Gardiner, Sir Edward and even, to an extent Katherine Howard herself will be taking the historical part of Archbishop Cranmer.

Another year, another Queen’s confession to take.

There were several interviews, not one, and they happened at Hampton Court, before she was removed to Syon. The first happened on the 6th November, and Queen Katherine just flat out denied everything. Cranmer was part of a deputation at that point, with Suffolk, Norfolk, and Bishop Gardiner and it all happened in front of her attendants. Cranmer accurately thought the Queen (who was so focused on formal correctness, unlike her Tudors depiction) would never confess in front of everyone, so he visited again, several times over the next day or so. (q)

When Cranmer returned he found her in a very different state of mind, she had, apparently, just been holding it together for the first interview, and her attendants very worried about her. He had a plan, to try to overstate what she’d done to try and get her to tell him the truth, but from the moment he saw her again he saw she was in no fit state for that, and that it would simply be cruel. At times, he could barely get a coherent response from her.

Sir Edward is also playing the role of her attendants, but the line “I found her in such lamentation and heaviness that I never saw no creature” (17) is pretty much Sir Edward’s opening line and comes straight from Cranmer’s report to Henry. He also told Henry that Katherine ‘interred towards a frenzy’ an in a ‘dangerous ecstasy’. (17). Cranmer felt the culmination of this was only averted when the King’s messenger arrived with Henry’s message of mercy if she would tell the truth.

Which was pretty clever. It threw Henry into the role of the saviour, a shining knight who had saved Cranmer’s interrogation and Katherine’s sanity with his gracious offer of mercy. Not a bad way to approach Henry. It was also the best chance Cranmer could give Katherine, a kindness not unexpected from the one man that spoke up for Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cromwell when everyone else had run a mile and their fates were near certain, and who had risen to high office with his own secret marriage to cover up.

Gardiner is, obviously, playing the part of the interrogator that Cranmer was (although you get the impression Cranmer would have been a bit gentler about everything), and Katherine takes a bit of his historical role too, because most of her dialogue (which comes across as a little too coherent and mannered considering the state she is in) comes from her confessions, which Cranmer certainly helped her to write.

The reason I think, in The Tudors, that Katherine’s run really did work is the last thing we see before the interrogation is a disconcerted Henry demanding to see Bishop Gardiner, and the first thing Bishop Gardiner says to Katherine Howard is this:

After a brief panic attack and another round of weeping, Katherine gets herself together for that strangely coherent and well tailored speech of subjugation:

And the reason it’s seems a little out of place is that it comes almost direct from Cranmer’s record of what Katherine said to that offer of mercy:

“Alas my Lord, that I am alive, the fear of death grieved me not so much before, as doth know the remembrance of the king’s goodness, for when I remember how gracious and loving a Prince I had, I can not but sorrow: but this sudden mercy, and more than I could have looked for, showed unto me, so unworthy, at this time, maketh mine offences to appear before mine eyes much more heinous than they did before…” (18)

Which Cranmer almost certainly helped her craft and polished before it went into his report, hence Katherine’s shit being way too together for the state she is in.

Katherine retreats into the chair to calm down a bit as we briefly pop to the Tower.

To see Francis Dereham thrown into his cell, in agony and fingernail free.

Back to Syon and Katherine is more composed. The next part is taken from her confession (19), where we may presume, along with The Tudors, that Katherine was at this point

perhaps bouncing past the admission that they had had sex,

and then spending a lot of time answering questions that were unasked,

about exactly how naked Francis Dereham was when they were fucking.

OK. I’m glad we got that cleared up.

In the scene, as in history, Katherine was being nudged to admit she had been pre-contracted to Dereham. At this point, I think Katherine was expected to survive and it was largely down to that pre-contract, there was a lot of evidence, including now her own confession that she had had sex with Dereham, so she would be easy for Henry to get rid of, Anne of Cleves had proved you could have an no longer wife living in the country and the world didn’t end, and a pre-contract was a nice ‘no blame for Henry’ cause of annulment.

It was her way out, but she just refused to take it, consistently maintaining, despite all the evidence, that she had not been pre contracted. She probably was. Marriage law at the time said that the clear intention to marry could become a marriage if you consummated it. She and Dereham had done both. In The Tudors, Gardiner spells it right out for her, but poor, foolish Katherine just will not go for it.

Gardiner just asks once if Dereham had carnal knowledge of her after she became Queen, and she just gives a straight denial, that he appears to accept. Gardiner says he’s going back to London to draft her plea of forgiveness, when something occurs to Katherine. In history this happened in another visit of Cranmer’s. After she made her surviving confession, then according to her keeper (who was also her brother in law – an Edward Baynton, Isabella’s husband) she started moderating and adjusting what she had said. (20)

By the time Cranmer returned, she was claiming that Dereham had raped her. Some of her modern biographers accept this as credible, and suggest this as the reason she refused to acknowledge existence of the pre contract- consummation couldn’t be forced(21). On the other hand, accepting this accusation means disregarding the evidence of absolutely everyone else, including her own up to that point, including direct witnesses to their sexual activities and attitudes to each other.

The wording she uses is, again, straight from Cranmer’s report.

I don’t think The Tudors intends the viewer to believe it – it is played as an idea that occurs to her as Gardiner is leaving, a desperate gambit from a terrified young woman and a final attempt to make this all go away.

The One where they think it might not be Dereham

One of the council members has something on his mind as they wait for Gardiner to come back.

Gardiner comes in, confirms that the Queen has confessed to pre marital sex. He doesn’t believe the rape accusation, thinks she’s probably not been 100% honest about other things, and he’s pretty sure there was a valid pre-contract between her and Dereham but he’s apparently not been considering the possibility of adultery.

And that’s when there’s finally enough exterior evidence for Brandon to voice the concern that’s been growing in him for a couple of episodes now.

Unfortunately Henry comes striding in at that moment, asking if Gardiner has the Queen’s confession. The wording Gardiner uses in the plea for mercy is actual historical(22), and was Katherine assisted by Cranmer. Henry is not exactly entirely engaged with that pleas for mercy but he lets Gardiner get to the end of it before asking for his annulment.

And we’ve come a very long way from when it took nearly a decade, a papal trial, and a religious revolution to get his marriage to his first Katherine annulled.

Yeah, let’s do it.

Meanwhile, in the dungeon

Dereham didn’t start out being tortured, but he was tortured, and they never could get him to admit to sleeping with Katherine after her marriage. But somewhere in there, they got the reason why. Someone else had succeeded him in Katherine’s affections.

And suddenly it was a whole different thing.

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