Twenty-seven years into his reign, Henry VIII is at the height of his powers. Not long after the execution of Anne Boleyn he takes a third wife — Jane Seymour, a woman with inner beauty and noble character whom he clearly loves and who has a calming effect on the King. Soon there is wonderful news for King Henry: after some months of nervous waiting, his beloved Jane is expecting a child. Henry is convinced it will be his long-awaited male heir; when he is proven right, the country goes into a convulsion of celebration — a Tudor prince named Edward — but this gaiety is short-lived: soon after delivering the child, Jane falls into a fever and dies. Henry is heartbroken and becomes a recluse. Cromwell, however, encourages him remarry as soon as possible to the dowdy sister of the Duke of Cleves, Anne. When the monarch meets his young bride-to-be he realizes he has made a mistake, but it is too late to withdraw. They marry in underwhelming circumstances and the marriage remains unconsummated, despite Henry’s best efforts. Ultimately, the failed marriage reflects badly on Cromwell and his enemies — among them the King’s best friend Brandon. On a clever technicality, Cromwell is arrested on grounds of treason and is sent to the Tower — where he has sentenced so many before him.