The Tudors presents the rarely dramatized, tumultuous early years of King Henry VIII's nearly 40-year omnipotent reign (1509-1547) of England. In addition to his famous female consorts, a 20+ year marriage to Catherine of Aragon and the infamous dalliance with Anne Boleyn, the series delves into Henry's most notable political relationship and the deconstruction of the Roman Catholic Church in England.
In episode 401, the fourth season premiere, King Henry 8 marries his fifth queen, a lusty teenager whose beauty and checkered past inflame the passions of a trusted courtier, Thomas Culpepper.
Henry's age catches up to him during Christmas celebrations, but his youthful and randy court continues the party without him; the arrogant Lord Surrey takes aim at the powerful Seymour clan.
A more benevolent Henry 8 forgives the citizens of the North for their rebellion against him, while the youthful wife he dotes upon begins a passionate affair with Culpepper.
The king's warm welcome in the North reinvigorates him, but his queen's past catches up to her when a former lover appears with threats of blackmail.
The king, devastated to learn of his beloved queen's ribald past and present affairs, banishes her from court as the investigation rounds up and tortures suspects.
The newly single Henry surprises his countrymen by restoring his daughters to the royal succession, forging an unexpected political alliance, and manipulating events to marry an attractive, mature, and recent widow (Joely Richardson).
As war looms with France, Henry marries the widow Catherine Parr (Joely Richardson), who proves to be an able and respected queen and stepmother, finally giving England's king the stable, happy household he has long desired.
While Henry has been rejuvenated by the siege of Boulogne, given a taste once more of the vigor and vitality of his youth, he may have pushed his already weakened body too far.
Powerful accusations of heresy are made against the queen but the ailing Henry has little interest; a chastened Lord Surrey faces the ultimate penalty for losing 600 men in an ill-advised action that nearly reignites war with France.
In the Series Finale, Henry defeats one final political foe but faces his mortality after the deaths of both his best friend Charles Brandon and King Francis of France, and the ghosts of his former queens appear for a final confrontation.