fter the murder by Frenchmen of his uncle, the English ambassador in Urbino, one of the Itamian states being invaded by France, young Tudor king Henry VIII orders his council to prepare war on France. His de facto prime minister, cardinal Wolsey, obeys but actually prepares an alternative, a pan-European institutionalized peace, to Thomas More's humanist liking, and plots to be rewarded with the papacy. Meanwhile Henry, whose major sorrow is the lack of a son, enjoys life, especially jousting, hunting and games with duke Charles Brandon and adulterous love, which only adds to the hatred of men around the duke of Buckingham, who believes to be the true pretender to the throne.

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