Charles de Marillac is the French Ambassador to England during Season Four of The Tudors, having replaced Bishop Castellan. He is a comparative newcomer at the English court next to his experienced counterpart, Ambassador Eustace Chapuys of Spain. Marillac is played by French-Canadian actor Lothaire Bluteau, and appears as a recurring character, although during the Series Finale episode, he has apparently been replaced.
Marillac is introduced as the new French ambassador in episode 4.01 when Henry is busy showing off his new bride, Katherine Howard. Talking with Chapuys later on, Marillac mentions how his master King Francis simply sighed when he heard Henry was married again; the two ambassadors chuckle, musing on how their respective monarchs are getting exasperated with Henry's antics. Henry later talks with Marillac about the terms of their alliance, and Marillac naively tells him Francis has no intention whatsoever of breaking it; Henry, knowing Marillac is a newcomer to the game of diplomacy, changes the subject to Katherine, asking the French ambassador if Francis is jealous of him. However, to Henry's personal dissapointment, his show of force at Calais does not provoke a French response (as Marillac told him).
During the second half of the fourth series, Marillac initially competes with Chapuys for Henry's support in alliance, as France and Spain are once again at war. Marillac makes a poor case compared to Chapuys (offering the certainty of France paying its' subsidies to England which it already owes them, whereas Spain offers to let England have all its' lost territories in France) and Henry, despite his deep mistrust of the Holy Roman Empire, eventually signs an alliance against France. Afterwards, Marillac angrily confronts Chapuys, wondering why Emperor Charles V would ally with the man who treated his aunt Catherine of Aragon so poorly; Chapuys calmly replies that "those insults are long forgotten." Marillac suggests the Emperor simply wants to usurp and dominate all of Europe; Chapuys bristles angrly in response, saying those ambitions are held by France's ally, the Ottoman Turks. At this point, Charles Brandon hands Marillac a formal declaration of war.
During episode 4.09, with a tentative ceasefire arranged, Marillac is back at court and speaking to Edward Seymour, Earl of Hartford. Marillac knows Seymour attempted to prevent war with France because England was not ready for it, and his point has been proven; Spain and England have both been exhausted and bankrupt by siege warfare against French fortresses (though they have captured them) and the Emperor has reneged on Henry yet again by signing a peace treaty with France. France, meanwhile, has been similarly damaged, but is still intent on fighting back. Marillac urges Hartford to convince Henry to accept his offer; England's war prize, the port of Boulogne , will be returned to France after a certain period, in return for a huge ransom payment in installments. Henry reluctantly accepts these terms.
- "You lost the argument for war, my Lord Hartford; perhaps you can win it for peace."