The English monarchy is in a state of crisis, as the nobles and Cardinal Wolsey become locked in a fierce power struggle. Unbeknownst to the King, the ambitious Wolsey has taxed the populace to the point of rebellion and amassed a huge fortune by taking advantage of his position. When he meddles with the King's plans for divorce he brings ruin upon himself. Against all opposition the King proceeds to divorce Queen Katherine and marries one of her ladies-in-waiting Anne Bullen, throwing off centuries of obedience to Rome and declaring himself head of the church. A play with a rich theatrical history, Henry VIII features in Katherine and Wolsey two of Shakespeare's most memorable and vivid characters. The roots of the crisis are explored from many subtle political and personal angles. Written late in his career the play shines with depth and power.