King Henry VIII is aging rapidly: the recent siege of Boulogne has taken its toll, his ulcerous leg is constantly in pain and he now requires glasses to read. Political events continue to be tumultuous and exhausting. The rising influence of Bishop Gardiner is signaled by the appointment of a Catholic, Risley, to the important position of Lord Chancellor. Nonetheless, the Lutherans continue with their radical reforms, the latest of which is women preachers. Sensing their rise in authority, Gardiner and his allies are determined to trap Queen Catherine. The Earl of Surrey, defiant on his return to court, Henry’s Privy Council is unconvinced by his explanations about how so many men were lost under his command in France.