The baby girl that was born to King James V, was Mary, Queen of Scots, who became Queen 6 days after her birth on December 14, 1542. At 26 she was imprisoned by Queen Elizabeth I until her death in 1587.
Holbein, the painter, is Hans Holbein the Younger (circa 1497 - 1543). His patrons included Sir Thomas More, Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cromwell. He is considered one of the greatest portraitists of the 16th century. Several of his portraits have become iconic and his portrait of King Henry VIII has become the standard image.
Goof: A serving platter filled with star fruit (or carambola) can be seen during a close-up of a table. However, this type of fruit that is cultivated in tropical countries was first imported to Europe during the 18th century.
The "biretta", the cap given to Reginal Pole, is a traditional square cap with three or four ridges often worn by clergymen. The ones worn by cardinals are scarlet red and made of silk.
All along the episode, the swans in the lake that King Henry keeps looking at (the ones that are a symbol of his love for Anne) are Trumpeter Swans (black beak), but the stuffed one that he eats at the end (supposedly taken from the lake) is a Mute Swan (yellow beak).
Despite the fact that in the series, Anne was looking at the sky when she was beheaded, in reality Anne was blindfolded.
Goof: Even though the executioner needs several strokes to chop Brereton's head off, during the second attempt no head or blood can be seen on the block.
Goof: Mark Smeaton is the last man to be executioned but even though the executioner has chopped off several other heads before, the blade of the axe is bloodless as Smeaton is placed on the block. Then, when the executioner raises the axe, the blade is stained with blood.
The poem composed by Thomas Wyatt while he is imprisoned in The Tower, is an adaptation of the third stanza of his poem with the latin title Innocentia Veritas Viat Fides Circumdederunt me inimici mei, which in itself is an adaptation of Psalm 16, verse 9: "My enemies surround my soul".
The original stanza reads as follow:
These bloody days have broken my heart.
My lust, my youth did them depart,
And blind desire of estate.
Who hastes to climb seeks to revert.
Of truth, circa Regna tonat.
The scene in which Anne hands out alms to the poor, mirrors an identical scene in episode 5 of season 1. In that episode, Katherine was the one handing out the alms.
The King's brush with death.
In reality the king's recovery was much slower and he never recovered fully. His mobility was impaired which added to his growing weight.
Anne Boleyn's baby was thought to be lost upon hearing news of the king's brush with death, and not due to a dramatic sight.
King Henry and Queen Anne dance to a volta. Ironically, the song is Como Poden Per Sas Culpaswhich was composed by King Alfonso X of Spain and written in honour of the Virgin Mary. The reformer king and queen of England are dancing to a song that praises one of the biggest Catholic saints.
Goof: Thomas Cranmer is wearing an Easter Orthodox Cross (cross with three bars) when he is introduced to King Henry, but that's a symbol that wouldn't be worn by an English cleric.
Goof: The action takes place in 1532, but an image of St. Peter's cathedral is seen in its modern shape. It was built throughout the 1500s so by 1532 it was merely a construction site, very far away from its final look. Gianlorenzo Bernini, who was born in 1598, designed the colonnade and the avenue that runs straight from the Vatican to Castel Sant'Angelo was built in the 1930s by Mussolini.
The scene of Thomas Cromwell tearing up a letter from Cardinal Wolsey is used in the opening credits.
The song King Henry is heard playing is called Greensleeves and according to a popular yet unproven legend, he actually composed the song. However, Scholars think this is unlikely, since its style was not known in England until after Henry's death.
The quote attributed to Prince Arthur (Henry's older brother and Catherine's first husband) by Sir Anthony Willoughby: "I have been this night in the midst of Spain" is allegedly a verbatim quote from 1501.
The letters Henry writes to the Pope are repeatedly referred to as "bulls" even by a learned churchman like Wolsey. Bulls are only issued by the Pope, in his own hand, not by persons writing to him.
Rather than living to the age of seventeen as in reality, the character called Henry Fitzroy dies at about the age of 3 from the sweating sickness.