King Henry is married to Katherine of Aragon, but he has been smitten by the charms of the queen's maid of honor, Anne Bullen, and is tempted to divorce his dignified and noble wife.
Meanwhile, the lords of England resent the influence of Henry's trusted advisor, Cardinal Wolsey, who is gradually drawing power into his own hands. As Katherine and Wolsey suffer their tragic falls, new figures rise to fill their places, but they, too, will be brought low by the inexorable sweep of time and fortune.
This colorful history play, possibly written in collaboration with John Fletcher, comes from the very end of Shakespeare's dramatic career.
Paul Jesson plays Henry VIII, and Jane Lapotaire plays Queen Katherine. Timothy West is Cardinal Wolsey.
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Shakespeare the diplomatic historian
- Nicholas O'Brien