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THE TUDORS returns for Season Three on CBC Television. Twenty seven years into his reign, Henry VIII (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is at the height of his powers. Not long after the execution of Anne Boleyn he takes a third wife - Jane Seymour (Annabelle Wallis), a woman with inner beauty and noble character whom he clearly loves and who has a calming effect on the King. But, while her influence is welcomed by her new husband, her Catholic background causes disquiet and discomfort for Thomas Cromwell (James Frain), Henry’s most senior courtier and the ruthless driving force behind the English Reformation. Cromwell has one aim: to confiscate the moral authority and worldly goods of the Catholic Church.

Soon there is wonderful news for King Henry: after some months of nervous waiting, his beloved Jane is expecting a child. Henry is convinced it will be his long-awaited male heir; when he is proven right, the country goes into a convulsion of celebration - a Tudor prince named Edward - but this gaiety is short-lived: soon after delivering the child, Jane falls into a fever and dies. Henry is heartbroken and becomes a recluse.

The manipulative Cromwell however, encourages Henry back into public view and hopes to have him remarry as soon as possible. Seeing a possibility to correct the Catholic influences of Jane and increase his own powerbase, Cromwell pursues one candidate in particular - the dowdy sister of the Duke of Cleves, Anne (Joss Stone making her acting debut), who has the defining virtue of coming from the heartland of the Protestant League.

When the monarch meets his young bride-to-be he realizes he has made a mistake, but it is too late to withdraw. They marry in underwhelming circumstances and the marriage remains unconsummated, despite Henry’s best efforts. Ultimately, the failed marriage reflects badly on Cromwell and his enemies - among them the King’s best friend Brandon (Henry Cavill). On a clever technicality, Cromwell is arrested on grounds of treason and is sent to the Tower - where he has sentenced so many before him.