A twice married woman, Catherine Parr returns to the court for the first time since the Pilgrimage of Grace. She is close to becoming a widow for the second time, but has husband number three already waiting, in the form of Sir Thomas Seymour. Despite her love for Seymour, she is a devoted companion to her ailing husband and tenderly cares for him. She unwittingly attracts the attentions of King Henry and is horrified upon receiving his presents and is left heartbroken when Seymour is sent abroad for the King, leaving herself unprotected from the Kings advances.
When her husband succumbs to his illness and passes awa,y Henry dispatches envoys to secure Catherines hand in marriage. Knowing she cannot refuse her King, Catherine reluctantly bows to the inevitable and marries Henry.
Her first major engagement as Queen is to host a welcome celebration for the Duke of Najera, an envoy of the Emperor who visits England to finalise the arrangements for the English and Imperial war against the French.
In spite of her reluctance to become Queen, Catherine treats Henry with a tender heart. He is mortified at her having to see his severely ulcerated leg, but she makes light of it and orders her bed be moved to his chambers so that she might care for him and soothe him. Her younger stepchildren also benefit from their new stepmother, Lady Elizabeth is brought to court more often to keep the new Queen and Lady Mary company whilst Prince Edward receives costly clothing materials since the King insists he kept away from the contagion of the Court.
Though for all her attention, Henry is soon keen to lead his army against the French and appoints Catherine as Regent of England in his absence. She takes the opportunity of the Kings absence to appoint a new Chaplin to her household, a radical cleric of the reformed faith, a faith she is secretly and dangerously in support of. However, ever concious of the need for discretion, Catherine hides her beliefs from the staunchly catholic Lady Mary, knowing that she would lose the love and affection of her eldest stepdaughter if her opposing religious beliefs should come to light.
But despite her caution, she knows her secret has been discovered when her stepdaughter candidly reveals there are rumours that the King is looking for another wife. Though she makes light of the conversation, Catherine knows for definite that she has lost Mary's love.
She does not give up in her quest to continue the reformation started by Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cromwell, and publicly urges the King to continue the reformations, even going so far as to slander the Popes clergy in her own book, and insulting the Roman Faith.
Her actions are soon regretted when a loyal maid of her brings her a copy of her arrest warrant which sends her into a state of shock. Knowing she must save herself from the notorious fate of his former wives Catherine humbles herself and assures the King that although her words may have been extreme she felt it necessary to profit from the Kings great wisdom and to take his mind of the pain in his leg.
Although her flattery seems to work, she is shaken when the Lord Chancellor, Risley still tries to execute the warrant for her arrest the next day. Until the King launches himself at him and sends him away in disgrace.
Having saved herself and friends Catherine resolves to devote her time to being a loving wife and stepmother, until she is sent away with Ladies Mary and Elizabeth by the increasingly close to death King.