Wolf Hall (2015) Episode4

In 1533, Anne Boleyn has given birth to a daughter, much to King Henry VIII’s disdain. As Anne’s paranoia over her inability to produce a son grows, Thomas Cromwell tries to convince Sir Thomas More to sanctify the royal marriage.

Wolf Hall Episode4 characters

Wolf Hall episode4 characters

Episode4 Plot (1533-1535)

In 1533, Anne Boleyn has given birth to a daughter, much to King Henry VIII’s disdain. As Anne’s paranoia over her inability to produce a son grows, Thomas Cromwell tries to convince Sir Thomas More to sanctify the royal marriage.

Historical background

  • Henry Courtenay, Marquess of Exeter
Lady Exeter

Henry Courtenay, 1st Marquess of Exeter, 2nd Earl of Devon (c. 1498 – 1538), was the son of Henry VIII’s aunt, Katherine of York. Courtenay grew close to his cousin, the King, and he received the title of Marquis of Exeter in 1525.

He was also a political rival of Thomas Cromwell. Following the Reformation, Courtenay’s second wife, Gertrude Blount, remained a Roman Catholic. She had supported Elizabeth Barton to her downfall and continued to maintain correspondence with the Catholic former queen Catherine to her death. Cromwell used these connections to point suspicion at Courtenay’s loyalties.

In 1538, Exeter was accused of conspiring with his cousins, Reginald Pole and Henry Pole, Lord Montague, to restore Papal authority, and possibly replace Henry himself. Exeter were tried and executed in 1539.

  • Lady Margaret Pole


Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury (1473 – 1541), was the daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, the brother of kings Edward IV and Richard III. She was one of the few surviving members of the Plantagenet dynasty after the Wars of the Roses.

In the 1520s and 30s, Margaret’s relationship with the crown became strained because of Margaret’s support of Catherine of Aragon and the Princess Mary, as well as her sons’ relationship with the Duke of Buckingham, who was executed for treason. Margaret’s son Reginald spoke out against the Royal Supremacy – an act of treason, although from the safety of Italy. Some of the members of the family closer to the King’s wrath weren’t so lucky. Geoffrey Pole was arrested and Margaret was Geoffrey Pole was arrested and Margaret was kept in custody, first at her interrogator William Fitzwilliam’s residence, but was later transferred to the Tower of London. In May 1539, an act of attainder was passed against her for aiding and abetting her sons Henry and Reginald and having ‘committed and perpetrated diverse and sundry other detestable and abominable treasons’. Margaret was executed in 1541. In 1886 she was beatified as a martyr for the Catholic Church by Pope Leo XIII. —Tudorhistory

  • Bishop Fisher

wolf-hall-ep4 4

John Fisher (1469 – 1535), venerated by Roman Catholics as Saint John Fisher, was an English Catholic bishop, cardinal, and theologian. Fisher studied at Cambridge and was ordained in 1491. Fisher had preached against abuses in the Church and was keen for reform, but he was firmly opposed to Lutheranism, and any encroachment on Papal authority. He preached against the annulment in 1532, and in 1534 was imprisoned for involvement in the Elizabeth Barton affair.

He refused to sign the Oath of Succession, conferring the Crown on the children of Anne Boleyn and was again imprisoned, without the benefit of a Priest. In 1535, the newly elected Pope Paul III, hoping to alleviate his treatment, appointed him a Cardinal, an act which infuriated the King. Fisher was executed for treason.

  • Hans Holbein the Younger


Hans Holbein the Younger (c. 1497 – 1543), was a German artist and printmaker who worked in a Northern Renaissance style. He is best known as one of the greatest portraitists of the 16th century. He came to the attention of the English Court, through his friendship with Erasmus, who recommended him to Sir Thomas More when Holbein travelled to England in 1526. After returning to Basel for four years, he resumed his career in England in 1532. He was patronised by Cromwell, and received many commissions from Henry VIII and his courtiers.

In 1538, Holbein was commissioned to paint princesses of Europe, so that Henry could choose a new bride. His portrait of Anne of Cleves (who was Cromwell’s preferred candidate) so entranced the King that she was selected as his fourth wife. Unfortunately, although it was never claimed that the likeness of Anne was not true, in the flesh, Henry did not find her attractive. This disastrous marriage led directly to Cromwell’s downfall.–Tudor Times