List iconHenry VIII:
Characters in the Play
List icon

Henry VIII
Characters in the Play


Characters in the Play

Entire Play

Two stories dominate Henry VIII: the fall of Cardinal Wolsey, Henry’s powerful advisor, and Henry’s quest to divorce Queen Katherine, who…


Act 1, scene 1

The Duke of Buckingham, learning the details of the costly and ultimately fruitless meeting of French and English at the…

Act 1, scene 2

Queen Katherine reveals that Wolsey is heavily taxing the English in the king’s name, and Henry pronounces a pardon to…

Act 1, scene 3

Three courtiers discuss the royal proclamation against young fops who have adopted French manners and dress after returning from France….

Act 1, scene 4

At the supper, Wolsey and his guests are visited by Henry and his courtiers, all disguised as shepherds. Henry dances…

Act 2, scene 1

Buckingham, convicted of treason, is led to execution. He declares his innocence, forgives his enemies, and vows his loyalty to…

Act 2, scene 2

Norfolk, Suffolk, and the Lord Chamberlain join in denouncing Wolsey. They hold him responsible for dividing Henry from Katherine, and…

Act 2, scene 3

Anne Bullen pities Katherine, now threatened with divorce. The Lord Chamberlain enters to announce that Henry has created Anne marchioness…

Act 2, scene 4

At the trial, Katherine refuses to have the validity of her marriage judged by the church court, given Wolsey’s malice…

Act 3, scene 1

Wolsey and Campeius visit Katherine to persuade her to contest the divorce no longer.

Act 3, scene 2

Courtiers assemble to discuss Wolsey’s sudden fall from Henry’s favor, Henry’s marriage to Anne Bullen, and plans for her coronation….

Act 4, scene 1

The procession returns from Anne’s coronation, which is then described by a gentleman who was in attendance.

Act 4, scene 2

The dying Princess Dowager Katherine and her attendant Griffith provide contrasting accounts of the character of the newly dead Wolsey….

Act 5, scene 1

The new archbishop of Canterbury, Cranmer, is under attack because his religious beliefs seem heretical. The king, after receiving news…

Act 5, scene 2

Cranmer suffers the public humiliation of being locked out of a Privy Council meeting. Allowed in, he is then threatened…

Act 5, scene 3

A porter and his assistant fight to control the crowd determined to view the royal daughter’s christening.

Act 5, scene 4

At Princess Elizabeth’s christening, Cranmer prophesies a magnificent reign for the future Queen Elizabeth I and an equally successful one…

Act 5, epilogue

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Characters in the Play
King Henry the Eighth
Duke of Norfolk
Duke of Suffolk
Cardinal Wolsey, Archbishop of Canterbury
Secretaries to Wolsey
Cromwell, servant to Wolsey, later secretary to the Privy Council
Cardinal Campeius, Papal Legate
Gardiner, secretary to the king, later Bishop of Winchester
Page to Gardiner
Queen Katherine, Henry’s first wife, later Princess Dowager
Griffith, attendant on Katherine
Patience, woman to Katherine
Queen’s Gentleman Usher
Capuchius, ambassador from the Emperor Charles
Duke of Buckingham
Lord Abergavenny, Buckingham’s son-in-law
Earl of Surrey, Buckingham’s son-in-law
Sir Nicholas Vaux
Knevet, former Surveyor to Buckingham
Sergeant at Arms
First Gentleman
Second Gentleman
Anne Bullen, Katherine’s lady-in-waiting, later Henry’s
 second wife and queen

Old Lady, with Anne Bullen
Lord Chamberlain
Lord Sands (also Sir Walter Sands)
Sir Thomas Lovell
Sir Henry Guilford
Bishop of Lincoln
Cranmer, later Archbishop of Canterbury
Lord Chancellor
Garter King of Arms
Third Gentleman
Sir Anthony Denny
Doctor Butts
Porter and his Man
Spirits, Princess Elizabeth as an infant, Duchess of Norfolk, Marquess and Marchioness of Dorset, Lords, Nobles, Countesses, Bishops, Judges, Priests, Ladies, Gentlemen, Gentlemen Ushers, Lord Mayor, Four Representatives of the Cinque Ports, Aldermen, Women, Musicians, Choristers, Guards, Tipstaves, Halberds, Vergers, Attendants, Servants, Messenger, Pages, Footboys, Grooms