Where others have failed, Thomas Cromwell, the son of a humble blacksmith, delivers Henry VIII’s fervent desire to marry Anne Boleyn. But if Anne disappoints Henry, will Cromwell retain the King’s favour?
Desperate for a male heir, Henry VIII wishes to have his marriage to Katherine of Aragon annulled. When Cardinal Wolsey fails to deliver this annulment, he is dismissed as Lord Chancellor and forced to flee his palace at York Place. The Cardinal’s sole hope of returning to the King’s favour lies in the ever-loyal Thomas Cromwell.
As he departs for the north, the Cardinal urges Cromwell to find a way to get close to Anne Boleyn for she is the key to persuading the King to restore him. The King starts to take notice of Cromwell, appreciating his loyalty to the Cardinal and the honest and open way Cromwell talks to him. But then news from the north - the Cardinal has been arrested for treason and has died on the journey back to London. Cromwell swears vengeance on those that brought down the Cardinal.
Cromwell becomes relied on more and more in the running of the King’s affairs. He manoeuvres a Bill through Parliament acknowledging Henry rather than the Pope as head of the Church of England, the first step in enabling Henry to marry Anne Boleyn. But when Anne gives birth to a baby girl, Elizabeth, Henry does little to hide his disappointment.
Until Henry has a male heir, the Tudor line remains vulnerable. When Anne miscarries, Henry fears that he will never have a son with her, convinced that she is cursed and that he was tricked into marriage by her. Sensing her loss of favour, the Queen’s enemies gather and rumours of her infidelity spread. As Cromwell sets the judicial wheels in motion, he thinks back to Cardinal Wolsey’s demise and extracts the ultimate revenge.