King Henry marries for the third time. A blonde, shy noblewoman by the name of Jane Seymour. The king's decision to abandon the Catholic Church causes an uproar.
The Northern Uprising
The uproar caused by the King's decision to break with the Catholic Church turns into a full-blown rebellion that comes to be known as "The Pilgrimage of Grace". Because the king is hampered by an old jousting injury, he sends Charles Brandon to deal with the uprising.
However, the injury does not interfere with his love life because the newly-wed king finds a new mistress, the Lady Ursula Misseldon.
Dissension and Punishment
It's almost Christmas time again and after having been estranged for years, Henry reunites with his daughters Mary and Elizabeth. Despite attempts at reconciliation with the leaders of the rebellion, there is betrayal and brutality.
The Death of a Queen
The leaders of the uprising meet their fate but Charles Brandon is disturbed by the cruelty involved. King Henry finally gets his wish, a male heir. However, the consequences of this birth are considerable.
Problems in the Reformation
After the death of his wife, Henry mourns in solitude. His enemies use this opportunity to murder members of the royal entourage. Cromwell is upset that the Church of England still closely resembles the Catholic Church.
Search for a New Queen
In another bid to rid the kingdom of Catholicism, Cromwell arranges for the king to marry a protestant. The king's leg wound takes a turn for the worse and actually threatens the king's life.
Protestant Anne of Cleves
England is threatened by an alliance between France and Spain, backed by Rome, so Henry agrees to marry Anne of Cleves, a German protestant, without even meeting her beforehand.
The Undoing of Cromwell
Henry annuls his marriage and finds a teenage mistress instead. Princess Mary falls in love with a foreign duke, Duke Philip of Bavaria. Cromwell loses the king's favour.
Showtime’s period drama continues to mix sex, politics and power as King Henry VIII continues to rule over the small screen.
When Michael Hurst decided to tell to the story of one of the most famous Royal heads of state in history after gaining critical acclaim for telling the story of his daughter Elizabeth in two motion pictures, he was granted a big canvas by Showtime to tell the story of Henry VIII. With the first and second seasons dealing with his marriages to Queen Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, the show moves into his third, four and leads into his fifth marriage, setting up the final fourth season.
With the Boleyn family removed from Court, Thomas Cromwell, played again with great gusto by James Frain, sees this as his chance to steer the English monarchy completely away from the Catholic Church and setting up the Church of England with Henry as God’s vessel on Earth. With Henry finally finding true love with third wife Jane Seymour, all seemed well in England but the Catholics of the North were planning an uprising to protest the move away from their beloved church and destruction of the Abbeys by the King’s army.
As with the previous season, the drama doesn’t let up, even though the most famous of his wives has now lost her head. This eight episode season is all about the rise and dramatic fall of Thomas Cromwell as events come about that will lead to him loosing the favour of his beloved King. While the story of Henry’s marriages has always been the main story points for Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ commanding performance, this season is Cromwell’s and he, just as Sir Thomas More and Cardinal Wolsey before him, was about to discover the darker side of their monarch.
The performances are as exceptional as ever, with the supporting actors really coming into their own and, in some cases, seeing their character develop. None more so than Henry Cavill’s Charles Brandon, who is asked to act against his faith and his own morals in the service of his king. Blathnaid McKeown is given more to do as Henry’s daughter Princess Mary, as the young woman comes of age. Max von Sydow brings some class as Cardinal Von Waldburg and Anita Briem is beautiful as Jane Seymour.
The third season of ‘The Tudors’ may be shorter than previous ones but it is as captivating as ever. With stella performances throughout and solid writing from show creator Michael Hirst, this continues to be one of the best historical dramas to ever grace television.
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