Shows R

The three royal children, 9-year-old Edward, an adolescent Elizabeth and a now mature Mary, wait to enter the court. The Herald announces them. Christmas at Hampton Court Will Somers appears: he has been designated Master of the Revels, and the three children embrace him. When Henry enters, Mary kisses him. Elizabeth does the same and presents him with a book, a Bible she has translated into Latin, French, and Italian. Henry's main concern is Edward. He asks him about all the things he's learned, he also has gifts for him. Norfolk announces the arrival of King Francis of France, who will join His Majesty shortly. Will shouts, "Let the revels begin! The Wee Golden Warrior During the masque Will helps Edward act the part of the hero, freeing the two captive princesses. The Arthurian romance culminates in a dance between the masked Henry and Elizabeth. She innocently steals attention from her brother by her graceful and enthusiastic dancing. Henry admires her verve but is annoyed by her superiority. He cheers the antics of his son. The King is suddenly serious. He insists that Mary sign her oath of allegiance and end the possibility of a Catholic plot that would use her against Edward. Finally, she scribbles her name. Now the king's only annoyance seems to be Elizabeth. It is her sense of authority and self-confidence that upset him. Francis I is heralded in. By now he is a stooped, haggard man. He talks of peace. Henry recounts his old grievances, boasting how he will take Paris as a toy for Edward. Francis, who is enamoured with Elizabeth, offers to marry her. It would bring peace, but she rejects the idea. He also questions young Edward about his wishes: if his father dies in battle, is he prepared to rule? When the boy opts for no war, Henry is mortified and furious. He promises to get even with Francis the next time they meet. As Henry berates Edward for being meek, Elizabeth stands up to her father. He threatens her. She haughtily shows no fear of the king's wrath. They all rail back and forth at each other. She tosses insults. Finally Henry has had enough. He banishes her from the court and condemns all who will speak to her with death. Go, he commands, leave her to God's mercy, She shall have none from me. But privately he loves her spunk. From Afar Will meets Elizabeth in a court corridor. In pantomime he begs her to ask her father for forgiveness. She knows it is futile, Henry does not want her in line for his throne. Ladylike, she craves flattery, wanting to be told she is beautiful. When Will indicates that she is a carbon copy of her father, she is enraged, kicks the jester, then says how sorry she is - and wonders about her future. He plays a charade, miming a ticking clock, to indicate where she will find the answer. In Time Comus is in his laboratory, preparing a chart. Will comes in and is shown two horoscopes. One, for E.R. (Edward Rex), points to a brief reign. The other, for E.R.(Elizabeth Regina), predicts a 50-year rule. (In Edward's case the royal physician concurs). Comus hasn't told the king of his findings, for it is treason to predict the death of a prince. Henry enters and demands to see Edward's horoscope. Lying, Comus says it is not finished yet. Henry needs answers, he doesn't want to sail for France to fight until he knows that Edward will survive his latest illness. Also, to insure victory, the king asks Comus to mix one of his best brews. The wizard digs out an ancient potion that can be used only once every five years. It is a horrible concoction, which sounds so awful Will is convulsed with laughter. Henry doesn't want to swallow such an unappetising mess. And Comus tells him that is not necessary, only that someone close to the king drink it - such as his Fool. Will gulps it down, begins a wild, frenetic dance of death. The king roars, then appears to join in the dance. It is anything but that - Henry is having a heart seizure. Will finally realises what is happening and shouts for help. The king is carried to his bedroom. He is sick, deathly sick. All the family is present. Henry talks to Edward, telling him he is England's hope and to make his noise in the world. His majesty asks for ER's horoscope. Comus tries to read it but can't get the words out. Henry grabs it, sees the prediction that his heir will reign for 50 years "the chief ornament of a glorious age." He looks from Edward to Elizabeth, disturbed, musing that he might have been reading her horoscope. He calls Bess close, restores title of princess to her (and to Mary), then begs that she watch out for her brother. He also confesses to Mary that he needs final rites from his old church, that he can't trust his immortal soul to the Church of England.