"Simply Henry" is the second episode of the first season of The Tudors, and the second episode overall. It continues the story of King Henry VIII, the young, ambitious, sexy and womanizing King of England.
Henry contemplates an alliance with the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, King of Spain, despite recently claiming loyalty to the Emperor's hated rival- the King of France. This course of action threatens Wolsey's chance to become Pope since he is depending on the support of the French Cardinals. After receiving Machiavelli's "The Prince" as a gift, Henry wonders if it is better for a King to be loved or feared
The episode begins recapping the events of the previous episode, and Henry's voice is heard saying, "You think you know a story, but you only know how it ends. To get to the heart of the story, you have to go back to the beginning." The theme song plays with a series of clips and credits introducing the main cast of the show, before the actual episode begins.
The setting of the episode is 'Val d'Or' in English Occupied France. Henry approaches the summit between the King of France and himself. Henry is to ride down alone and meet with Francis I (the French King). He warns his regiment, "All of you, upon pain of death, stay!" During the summit, Henry declares that he is simply Henry, King of England. Francis complies, even stating that he himself is just Francis, King of France. Wolsey has both Kings swear on the Bible they will be true, virtuous and loving. They both swear of it. Henry's daughter Princess Mary is brought before the crowd, and introduced to her future husband Prince Henri Phillipe. Knights duel with swords for sport and entertainment and gifts are exchanged between the Kings. Mary Boleyn is told that the King noticed her and wants to see her. She tells her sister Anne the good news. The festivities of the next day at the summit include wrestling, and Francis tries to goad Henry with how much better France is than England. Henry becomes angered, and challenges Francis to a wrestling match. When Francis refuses at first, Henry eggs him on, telling him he is a coward. At this statement, Francis leaps up and accepts the challenge. After a suspenseful and nail biting match, Henry loses, and demands a rematch. He annoyedly, heatedly tells Thomas More he will not sign the peace treaty with France, and Thomas takes Henry's face in his hands, telling him, "Alright! If you want the world to know that the King of England is easily changeable, shallow, intemperate, incapable of keeping his word! Then of course I will go tell them. After all, I am merely your majesty's humble servant!"Mary Boleyn is brought to Henry's chambers. Since she has spent the previous two years in the palace of France, Henry asks Mary what she has learned from the French, meaning what she has learned sexually. Mary asks Henry's permission, and he replies, "Granted." She undoes Henry's pants and we see clearly that she is cock-sucking. Henry throws his head back and moans, clearly aroused. The next morning, they wake up next to each other in Henry's bed. Mary kisses Henry's chest and begins working her hands down his body, ready to suck his cock again, but we see Henry has tired of her and he simply tells her to leave. Mary doesn't say a word but simply dresses herself and leaves Henry's chambers. It seems her time as his mistress is now over.
Wolsey discovers Buckingham's plot to bring about Henry's downfall and informs the King, something which will cause Buckingham's execution. Lady Blount is nearly full term with Henry's child, and Wolsey tells her it's the King's decision whether the child will be recognized. However, her husband will be made an Earl and given estates.
At Buckingham's Penshurst Estate, he is gathering a legion of people loyal to him. More and Wolsey visit and Wolsey reveals he's being sent to meet with the New Holy Roman Emperor to draw up the new treaty, uniting England against the French. Buckingham comes to the Palace for the New Year's celebration. Lady Blount goes into labor. Her child is born. Tension is clearly in the air as Buckingham greets Henry for the New Year. Buckingham is arrested on suspicion of treason. Henry prepares Buckingham's trial. Buckingham would be heavily fined and banished from the court, which Henry agrees to, when Wolsey suggests Buckingham be convicted of more than treason. While Henry is playing tennis, Thomas Boleyn discovers Mary and Henry don't visit each other's chambers anymore. Buckingham's trial begins, and Norfolk sentences Buckingham to death, convicting him of treason. Buckingham publicly blames Wolsey, who is clearly startled by the verdict. Buckingham is brought to the crowds for his beheading while a very excited Henry races to see the child born of himself and Lady Blount. He realizes it's a son, and estatically shouts out, "I have a son! Do you hear me? I have a son!" Buckingham is executed.
Much celebration occurs after the birth of Henry's son, Henry Fitzroy, and Henry chooses to recognize his son. Queen Catherine enters the celebration, forced to keep up a cool facade, though she is clearly pained by Henry having slept with another woman and having had a child he loves more than their daughter Mary. Catherine silently toasts Henry and then departs.
At St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, the Pope Alexander lies ill, dying. Bishop Bonnivet discusses the deal he made with Wolsey, and decides Wolsey is being to sent to meet the Emperor, Henry must be making plans to the treaty. Catherine goes to the church to pray, and begs for Jesus to give her a child, a son. The court prepares for the departure of Whitehall, as they are moving to Hampton.
Boleyn tells his daughter Anne that Henry has gotten tired of Mary and Boleyn wants Anne to catch the King's attention. He says that Anne must find a way to keep Henry's interest prolonged. Wolsey returns from the meeting with the Emperor, who's agreed to the treaty. Henry will once more be King of England, France and Ireland when he wins the invasion.
- "Will you tell the King of my love for him?" Elizabeth Blount to Cardinal Wolsey.
- "I have a son! God, do you hear me? I have a son!" Henry estatically shouting when he discovers Lady Blount had a son.
- "What have you learned from the French?" Henry talks sexually to Mary.
- "He no longer invites her to his bed." Thomas Boleyn to his daughter Anne.
- "Perhaps you could find a way to keep his interest more...prolonged?" Thomas Boleyn to Anne about Henry.
- "Do you see that young woman over there?" Francis I to Henry. "Yes."- Henry. "Her name is Mary Boleyn, the daughter of your ambassador, with her sister Anne. I call Mary my English mare because I ride her so often."- Francis I to Henry.