The character of Princess Margaret is actually a composite of Henry's older sister, Margaret Tudor, and his younger sister, Mary Tudor. The events in the series are from Mary's life; using Margaret's name helps avoid confusion with Henry's daughter with Katherine of Aragon.
SPOILER: Bessie Blount was not married when Henry FitzRoy was born. Henry FitzRoy died in 1536, shortly after Anne Boleyn was executed. He was 17.
There is no historical evidence suggesting that Thomas Tallis was bisexual.
Steven Waddington's character, Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, lays claim to the English Crown by being the descent of Edward II. In 1991 Steven Waddington played Edward II in Derek Jarman's film version of Christopher Marlowe's play Edward II (1991). Each of their claims to the English Crown were brought to a horrible end.
'Peter OToole's scenes were all filmed in a week.
The first season of the show was filmed between June and September of 2006.
Actress Anna Brewster who portrayed Anna Buckingham in the first two episodes of the first season has been included (through a scene clip) in the first three season's opening credits. Before Henry Cavill's credit rolls, a distinct scene that both actors shared in the first episode of season 1 appears. The scene was not included in the opening credits for season 4.
James Frain also played a prominent role as the Spanish ambassador in Elizabeth, a movie that chronologically takes place after this series.
While plotting against the king, the Duke of Buckingham claims that he is a direct descendant of Edward II. Steven Waddington, the actor portraying Buckingham, played Edward II in the film, Edward II.
King Henry tells Sir Thomas More that he is "not a saint." Sir Thomas More does, in fact, go on to become a saint. He was canonized in 1935 for his allegiance to the Pope during the English Reformation.
When George walks into his bedchamber to find Joan and Jane in his bed, they are posing in reference to a painting attributed to Schule von Fontainebleau, actually done circa 1594, "Gabrielle d'Estrées et une de ses soeurs," portraying the mistress of French King Henri IV and her sister in a similar position.
Just before the credits there are several flashes of images. They include two different period portraits of Henry VIII, one of Anne Boleyn shown twice, and a half-second of modern film of the Campanile of San Marco filmed in the Piazza of Venice, Italy (always shown right after Anne's portrait). The significance of a tower in Venice is never explained in the episode, although it may be an analogy to the Tower of London where Anne was eventually sent to.
SPOILER: Of the five men accused of adultery with Anne Boleyn, all but one protested their innocence (and hers), even from the scaffold. William Brereton never confessed. Mark Smeaton was the only one to plead guilty, and it was believed that the confession was tortured out of him.
The royal apartment in the Tower, where Anne stayed awaiting her coronation, was the same one she stayed in just prior to her execution three years later.
Henry's inclusion of the doxology on the Lord's Prayer, "For Thine is the Kingdom..." is ambiguous. Cromwell had earlier said that the King was rewriting the Lord's Prayer. Henry did not write it. A doxology is a short hymn-like verse exalting the glory of God used to conclude a prayer. This doxology was not part of the original Lord's Prayer but was common in the Eastern part of the Roman Empire. After the Great Schism the Eatern half of Christendom became the Greek Orthodox Church based in Constantinople while the Roman Catholic Western half based in Rome never included the doxology. When Tyndale's English version of the Bible did not include it in 1525, Henry was still in communion with the Catholic Church, but the scene shown here reflects his edict of 1541.
Lady Salisbury is condemned because she is a member of the Plantagenent Family, and a family flag is found at her castle. 'Kate OToole is the daughter of actor 'Peter OToole who portrayed King Henry Plantagenet in "Beckett" and "The Lion in Winter."
Historically, Lady Salisbury would suffer one of the worst be-headings in history in which it took 11 strokes of the ax to finally do the job.
Catherine Howard may have been as young as 15 when Henry first met her.
Catherine Howard's name is alternately spelled as both Katherine and Katheryne. her birthdate has been alternately cited as both 1521 or 1525, which means she was either fifteen or nineteen, not seventeen, when she married Henry.
SPOILER: In the show, Lady Rochford is executed first. In real life, Catherine Howard was executed first.
Henry actually conducted three wars against the French: 1512-14, 1522-23, and the one depicted here, 1543-46.
The Earl of Surrey was not only related to Catherine Howard, but he was a first cousin to Anne Boleyn. He was raised with Henry Fitzroy, the King's illegitimate son, who died at seventeen. Surrey was a founder of the English Renaissance poetry movement and with his translation of "Virgil's Aeniad" became the first person to publish blank verse in English.
Bishop Gardiner was imprisoned for five years during the reign of Edward VI.