The Act of Succession

Questions of faith dominate the court. As the infant Princess Elizabeth is baptised, Thomas Cromwell unveils the 'Act of Succession', declaring that only children of Henry and Anne are legitimate successors to the English throne. A law is passed where every royal subject must take an oath, on pain of death, recognising the validity of the King's new marriage and the supremacy of Henry VIII in all matters. Although Charles Brandon reluctantly does so – thus restoring him to the King's favor again – Bishop Fisher and Sir Thomas More refuse and are imprisoned in the Tower. Catherine of Aragon lives now in total seclusion, and Lady Mary is sent to be a maid to the baby Princess Elizabeth, her half-sister. Anne soon discovers the identity of the King's new mistress and secretly has her brother George banish her. Pregnant again to Henry's delight, Anne, at her father's prompting, tacitly approves of the king's infidelity while she is with child, albeit those of her own choosing and posing no political threat to her.

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