Doesn’t time fly? One minute you are waiting for what seems like an eternity to meet your soon-to-be spouse, then you get married and, when you least expect it, you are already almost at death’s door after your very first childbirth. Life, am I right?
I didn’t know where to set these scenes, because even though they take place in the Vatican, they are mostly about France and England. So to set things straight: France wants to get the Vatican and England as its allies for the inevitable war against Spain, but England will only contribute if the Pope grants Henry the annulment of his marriage with the Spaniard Catalina. Of course, the Pope is having none of Henry’s shit, and declares that he is not going to annul a marriage of more than two decades with children and everything. Obviously. We’ll get back to that in the England section. Henry is finally starting to go mad!
Spanish court (from Seville to Granada to Valladolid)
Wasn’t that wedding pretty? Isabel has been waiting for this moment literally her entire life, and she didn’t waste a minute to tell Carlos how ridiculously happy she is (bleh) and kept mentioning how great their grandparents were and such. But you know that Carlos’s life isn’t allowed to take a minute’s break. Seriously. Right before he gets married, he is informed of the death of his never-seen sister, Isabel (of course), former queen of Denmark who died at age 24. Of course she did, she had spent her life since she was 17 just giving birth.
But anyway, even though Carlos tells Isabel that the mourning period will mean they have to make some cuts in their honeymoon, it doesn’t really feel like it. I mean, they go to the Alhambra and they spend a year there! To be honest, I wasn’t even paying attention to what was going on during those scenes. The backgrounds of the Alhambra were so captivating that I got lost in them.
But I did catch some things, don’t worry. Like Leonor being a kind sister again. She has received a letter from my pal François revoking the peace treaty, so she runs to her brother to tell him. See? Not a moment’s rest. This gave us some heart-breaking scenes between the emperor and his older sister, who claimed she rather enter a convent that keep living such a miserable life of pain. God, that was painful. At least Leonor decided to spend her time doing a good deed, by taking care of the French monarch’s sons, who were living in way worse conditions than their father did when he was the captive.
Carlos gets some good news, though! First one is that the Italian troops led by the Duke of Bourbon have claimed the Duchy of Milan, and also, Isabel is already pregnant! Honestly, that was fast. But there is a bit of a problem: since there is no money to pay the Italian soldiers, as Bourbon keeps telling Carlos, the emperor needs to move to Valladolid to deal with all of this. But a very pregnant Isabel follows behind, even collecting money in every place she stops to rest!
Don’t worry, things don’t end there. They never do.
The Duke of Bourbon, already in Italy, writes to Carlos to let him know that the soldiers are getting angry and are even considering heading to Rome and plunder it, seeing that they still haven’t been paid. So of course things end up going bad.
But something good happens! Isabel gives birth to a son, the future Felipe II, but she almost dies in the process –premonitory much? She ends up surviving, of course, but right in the middle of the child’s baptism, Fernando Álvarez informs him that their Italian troops had caused havoc in Rome and the Duke of Bourbon has been killed. Oops. Well, mate, you shouldn’t have spent a year in Granada idling your life away and spending their money!
Don’t you just love the fact that every time we go back to Flanders, Fernando’s stubble seems to have grown a bit more into a grown-up beard?
These moments in Flanders allowed us to finally meet the remaining child of Juana and Felipe, María of Hungary, whose husband has just died in the hands of the Turks. Don’t worry, we will be seeing more of her.
Every time we see Hernán Cortés, he is more and more full of himself, to the point when he is just going to explode. He is simply minding his own business, which unfortunately clash with those of the crown –not surprising. Even though Carlos keeps writing to claim that he has to send a certain amount of gold and report to him, Cortés doesn’t really care, so he seizes his opportunity when a new governor arrives. Cortés makes a deal with him: he will help the governor if this doesn’t denounce him to the emperor. But there is more to it, and it was quite a low thing to do, even from Cortés. The conqueror, knowing that the governor is sick, doesn’t move a finger and doesn’t call a medic to help him out. When the governor finds out (almost before his death), he lets Cortés know that he has written to the king naming a successor that is clearly not going to be him. Cortés, though angry, fully understands that he deserves it, so he has only one choice left: go back to Spain and explain himself before Carlos. Confrontation guaranteed in next week’s episode!
François is another monarch who doesn’t waste a minute. As soon as he is back in France, he announces that his peace treaty with Carlos is broken, since he did it under duress. This means, by the way, that he has just left his two sons abandoned in Madrid, but I want to think that he has a plan for that.
But François is a changed man. After discovering that his mother has kicked his mistress out of court without his permission, he decides that a war is the last thing he wants, seeing that it would just mean another defeat and he is not up for it. Strangely enough, it is now his mother who wants to fight back –by the way, have I ever mentioned how brilliant I think the actress playing Louise is? She does an amazing job, I think she is one of the best in the show. Did you know that she played queen Isabel of Castile in the film Mad Love? Not a great movie in my opinion, though. They portray Juana as a nymphomaniac just because.
Nevertheless, there is something that upsets François and puts him in the mood for battle: Carlos has stolen the Duchy of Milan from him, which had been the very first accomplishment of François’s reign. So, obviously, he is not too happy.
I am so dreading what’s about to happen. Henry is already mad at Wolsey, because the cardinal hasn’t succeeded in his quest to convince the Pope to approve an annulment. Of course, Wolsey’s solution is to make himself the new Pope, but even Henry has a moment of lucidity and asks him: is it really more difficult to convince the Pope than to have him killed so that you can take his place? We all know what is going to happen to Wolsey eventually. But I am scared about the next episode, in which we will see Catalina put through a trial. Oh no, divorce is coming.
Don’t miss this week’s El Mundo de Carlos. So many things to learn from history!