Efforts to legalize the Henry's marriage and further advance his authority and power come to steadfast obstructions. Sir Thomas More and Bishop Fisher demand that only God can govern the church. Arrested and confined to the Tower of London, both men are confronted with charges of high treason and a possible beheading unless they receive the Oath of Allegiance. In the mean time, Henry's adventurous eye endures to stray.
Archbishop Cranmer advises the King that Bishop Fisher and Sir Thomas More are among the few who still refuse to take the oath recognizing him as head of the English Church. The King refuses to compromise. Sir Thomas' wife and daughter, who have taken the oath as has his other children, try to change his mind but he refuses to abandon his faith. Bishop Fisher is found guilty or treason and his executed. More soon follows. Queen Anne loses the child she was carrying but the King is strangely unmoved. Her father, Sir Thomas Boleyn, sees danger ahead and warns the Queen not to lose the King's love. After the Queen's sister, Lady Mary, marries in secret, Anne banishes her from court.
Even the prospect of his family suffering poverty through confiscation can't make Thomas More take the Oath. Anne's latest stillbirth is kept quiet, but while she still loves Henry he takes yet another mistress, commoner Bess, while she enjoys artistic courtier Mark Smeaton's company. Anne's sister, Mary, announces she wed a simple soldier to escape her status of 'royal whore', only to be banished from court while father George Boleyn cuts her allowance. In the Tower Bishop Fisher is told he's created a Cardinal but shown the letter he wrote to ask the emperor to invade, and therefore beheaded. the pope calls his martyrdom enviable while worrying more about moody Michelangelo. Surprise witness Richard ultimately ruins More's clever defense that 'silence is agreement'; secretly doubting Henry only commutes the torturous sentence to decapitation.
Fisher and More continue to resist the coercion to take the oath and pay with their lives as Henry's ardor toward Anne subsides after her miscarriage.
- Anne's miscarriage and her sister's impetuous marriage threaten the Boleyn family's power at court, while a reluctant Henry orders the execution of his old friend, adviser and mentor Sir Thomas More.