Henry VIII

Cardinal Wolsey, a close advisor to Henry VIII’s father, Henry VII, has framed the Duke of Buckingham for treason, who is executed. The Queen, Katherine, hates Wolsey and he is also hated by the people because of the plot against Buckingham and the harsh, unfair taxes he is imposing in the King’s name. The King goes to a party hosted by Wolsely and falls in love with Anne Bullen, a lady-in-waiting to the Queen.

Henry, married to Katherine for twenty years, decides that the marriage is not legal because she is the widow of his brother, and it is therefore incest. He asks Wolsey for his advice. Because of that Wolsey becomes even more hated, both by Katherine and the people so he can’t agree to Henry’s solution of a divorce, but he agrees to put it the Pope, who will send someone to investigate and make a ruling. Katherine regards the marriage as sacred but she has to submit to the proceedings.

Wolsey’s enemies are active and, the situation compounded by some bad luck, he begins to lose the confidence of Henry. Also, Henry sees him as a stumbling block to the divorce. Wolsey knows that Henry is determined to marry Anne Bullen so he advises the Pope to postpone a decision. With Wolsey in disgrace Henry goes ahead with the divorce and the remarriage with out any regard to the Pope’s opinion. Wolsey then dies, followed soon after by Katherine.

The new Archbishop of Canterbury has a plot hatched against him by Wolsey’s secretary, Gardiner, who is tried and executed for treason. Henry has a daughter, Elizabeth, by Anne Bullen. Cranmer christens her and makes a speech foretelling a noble rule for Elizabeth and a glorious period of history during her reign.


King Henry, the Eighth
Cardinal Wolsey
Cardinal Campeius
Capucius, ambassador from the Emperor Charles V
Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury
Duke of Norfolk
Duke of Buckingham
Duke of Suffolk
Earl of Surrey
Lord Chamberlain
Lord Chancellor
Gardiner, bishop of Winchester
Bishop of Lincoln
Lord Abergavenny
Lord Sands
Sir Henry Guildford
Sir Thomas Lovell
Sir Anthony Denny
Sir Nicholas Vaux
Secretaries to Wolsey
Cromwell, servant to Wolsey
Griffith, gentleman-usher to Queen Katharine
Three gentlemen
Doctor Butts, physician to the King
Garter king-at-arms
Surveyor to the Duke of Buckingham
A sergeant-at-arms
Door-keeper of the Council-chamber
Porter, and his man
Page to Gardiner
A crier
Queen Katharine, Wife to King Henry, afterwards divorced
Anne Bullen, her maid of Honour, afterwards queen
An old lady, friend to Anne Bullen
Patience, woman to Queen Katharine

Several lords and ladies in the dumb shows;
women attending upon the queen; scribes,
officers, guards, and other attendants.