And so it begins...the downfall of yet another of Henry's queens. Last night Katherine Howard was forced to hire Francis Derham as her personal secretary and gentleman usher. I say forced because he blackmailed her into it by threatening to reveal his carnal knowledge of her. Poor man, he doesn't realize that this will lead him to the block. One does not simply waltz into Henry's court and say "Dude, I slept with your wife way back when." Derham really is an idiot or a rash drunken fool because he brags about his exploits openly to the rest of Katherine's household, going so far as to say to her other gentlemen ushers that he "has had the queen by the cunt!" What an idiot. All those around him are begging him to keep quiet, they like their cush jobs, but he won't. What an idiot.
Prince Edward became very ill in this episode and Henry rushed to his bedside only moments after finding out that he would not be meeting the King of Scots, his nephew James, who he keeps referring to as his cousin. He manages to ride from the north of England to Windsor in one day on horseback and sleeps at his son's bedside. The next morning when the prince wakes from his feverish sleep and plays with his father's hair to awaken him we see for a second, maybe two, Henry as a worried and relieved father. He looks just like any other man who loves his child and is greatly relieved that they are returned to health. Then the king comes out in him again and he calls for a celebratory mass for his son to be said in the chapel royal. Rhys Myers does a wonderful job displaying these little flashes of humanity in his otherwise monstrous character. We see them at other times when he looks at Elisabeth and pauses, in his mind seeing Anne Boleyn. We saw it when he comforted Anne after her fist miscarriage, and for a brief moment when he gladly welcomed Anne of Cleves to his court for New Years.
At the end of the episode a letter is dropped on Henry's chair by an unknown person. This is the letter that will lead to Queen Katherine's downfall. Poor Katherine, young, foolish, graceless girl. She will meet a bad end for her foolishness. I was speaking to a friend this morning about the difference in Katherine Howard's arrest and Anne Boleyn's. Henry had Anne arrested and taken to the tower immediately because she had a powerful faction at court, and she was very intelligent and I think he knew that if he did not remove her from his sphere completely she would plot a way out of her fate. With Katherine, he has her placed under house arrest. She had not enough friends or supporters at court to cause him any trouble, she was only a silly girl. He knows Norfolk will not dare cross him twice, so he worries not. Katherine is nothing to anyone except Culpepper, she never was. Henry is the only man who ever loved her, and even he looked down on her. Everyone else in her life abandoned her, tolerated her, or used her to their own ends. It is sad to see that Katherine is learning some grace here, at the end of her life and reign. She had the good sense to remove her ladies a few times from Derham's undesirable company. She behaved in a queenly manner in church and on progress. Too little, too late. Henry has already realised that she does not possess the dignity of her predecessors. She bores him outside of the bedroom and is unable to bare children, a huge mistake in his eyes.
There are two more things I want to talk about in this episode. The first is the disconnectedness of the arguing between Katherine and Culpepper. Why is she angry with him? Why did she react so strongly when he touched her and asked her to rid herself of Derham? I didn't get it, it was like in season 2 when Anne suddenly turned on Henry Norris. It took me a while to get that too, it just seemed out of place where it was, with not enough leading up to it.
The other thing I wanted to talk about is Charles Brandon and his growing regret for his past actions. At the beginning of the season he was waxing nostalgic for Thomas Boleyn, his old enemy. I think he enjoyed the sparring and genuinely missed him and his argumentative ways. Now he is seeing Lord Darcy's ghost. Lord Darcy who he was forced to turn on during the Pilgrimage of Grace. The court has stopped at Pontefract castle, Darcy's former home, during their progress and Brandon is now seeing, and talking to ghosts. I think he is a kind man forced into being a monster and it is catching up with him. His wife no longer loves him, he has killed and betrayed many and he realizes his soul needs saving. It might be too late...