List of The Tudors characters
The main cast are listed in credits order.
|Character name||Portrayed by||Historical basis||First appearance||Last appearance|
|King Henry VIII||Jonathan Rhys Meyers (2007–2010)||Henry VIII of England||Episode 1.01||Episode 4.10|
|As the young and virile king of one of the most powerful nations in the world, King Henry VIII seems to have it all. However, he is troubled by religious unrest in his own kingdom, as well as by political struggles and changing allegiances with other countries. Weighing most on his mind is his failure thus far to produce a male heir with his Queen, Katherine of Aragon, a pious and dutiful Queen who is popular with the people. He does, however, dote on his daughter Mary, whom he hopes to marry off to a European ruler. The difficult pursuit of a divorce approved by the Pope begins when Henry meets, falls in love with, and later seduces Anne Boleyn. Determined that Anne will be his wife and will provide him with a legitimate son, Henry separates himself from his wife and the Catholic faith causing friction with the pope and a clash of religious opinions. The series portrays Henry as having a major turning point in his marriage to Katherine after a near-death experience in the early 1520s, after which he becomes obsessed with trying to produce a male heir.
When he fails in his attempts to have a son with her, he is quick to lay the blame at Anne's door and then by chance meets Jane Seymour, a sweet, shy girl, and falls in love with her. Convinced that his future lies with Jane, Henry takes the chance to be rid of Anne when his longtime friend Charles Brandon tells him of rumors suggesting that she has been unfaithful. Anne is quickly brought to trial, found guilty and executed.
Although Henry's personal life improves with his marriage to Jane Seymour, who helps reunite him with his daughters, his position is threatened when Catholics in the north start to rebel against him. He crushes the rebellion and brutally punishes those involved. Finally Henry's wish comes true when Jane gives him the one thing that his last two wives could not: a son. But Jane falls sick and dies from childbed fever a few days later, leaving Henry in a deep state of depression.
He remains a widower for three years until Thomas Cromwell pushes him into a fourth marriage with the German Anne of Cleves. He agrees to wed her but is disgusted by her when he finally meets her. Unable to escape the betrothal, he marries Anne but starts divorce proceedings soon after. He then notices the extremely young Katherine Howard and decides to marry her because she makes him feel young again. Katherine Howard is executed once her hidden past relations with Francis Dereham and her adulterous affair with Thomas Culpeper came to light. Henry later marries his sixth and final wife, Catherine Parr, a wealthy widow closer to Henry's age. She is a loving wife and stepmother to all three of Henry's children and is made Queen Regent during Henry's absence at Boulogne. Bishop Gardiner and others suspect Catherine Parr of heresy and nearly have her arrested for it, but she is able to convince Henry of her devotion to him.
In 1536, while participating in a joust, Henry suffered a grievous leg wound that never healed properly and gave him pain the rest of his life. It also prevented him from being as active as he had been, and he became morbidly obese in the last years of his life. His increasing pain and approaching infirmity makes it doubtful the King can participate in the invasion of France in alliance with the Holy Roman Emperor. However, he rouses himself and leads the successful siege of Boulogne in 1544. In the fall of that year, he returns to England, where his health declines until his death in January 1547.
|Cardinal Wolsey||Sam Neill (2007)||Thomas Wolsey||Episode 1.01||Episode 1.10|
|Cardinal Thomas Wolsey of York is King Henry VIII's primary and most trusted adviser, but the Cardinal's personal power (and influence over the King) has aroused the ire of several noblemen in Henry's court, and even of Queen Katherine herself. He desperately tries to find a way for Henry to free himself of his marriage, but fails and his enemies pounce. He is subsequently arrested for treason against the King and commits suicide by slashing his neck during prayer. His name is mentioned again in the seventh episode of season two by Anne, alluding to his charitable work when she reprimands Cromwell for being greedy with assets taken from dissolved abbeys.|
|Sir Anthony Knivet||Callum Blue (2007)||Thomas Knyvett||Episode 1.01||Episode 1.10|
|Longtime friend to King Henry VIII; he only appears in the first season.|
|Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk||Henry Cavill (2007–2010)||Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk||Episode 1.01||Episode 4.10|
|A longtime friend to King Henry VIII, Brandon briefly falls out of favour when he secretly married Henry's widowed sister, Princess Margaret, after her brief term as Queen of Portugal. Brandon's infidelity makes the marriage an unhappy one. He becomes an ally of the Duke of Norfolk and Thomas Boleyn, to bring about the downfall of Cardinal Wolsey and to ensure his own return to court. After the removal of Cardinal Wolsey as Lord Chancellor, Brandon is appointed to the presidency of the Privy Council by Henry. After his promotion he shows little interest in the work of government leaving this responsibility to the Duke of Norfolk with whom he jointly shares the duties as president. Brandon is seen as a playboy in the show's first season, but as Duke of Suffolk becomes a mature courtier and magnate after marrying Catherine Willoughby in the second season. He hates the new queen and eventually quarrels with the Boleyn family, mainly directing his rage at his onetime ally, Thomas Boleyn. In the third season, Brandon is a reluctant but efficient leader of the King's forces, sent to ruthlessly repress a Catholic uprising. He is jealous of Thomas Cromwell, working to ensure his fall from office. In the third and fourth seasons, Brandon senses the increasing disdain that his second wife feels for his flawed character. In the final season he falls in love with Brigitte Rousselot, a young French woman he captured during the siege of Boulogne and takes her back to England.|
|Duke of Norfolk||Henry Czerny (2007)||Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk||Episode 1.01||Episode 1.10|
|Uncle of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII's fifth wife, Katherine Howard. Norfolk is represented as an arrogant intriguer, conscious of his noble rank and arch-enemy of Cardinal Wolsey. He and his brother-in-law Thomas Boleyn conspire to maneuver his niece, Anne Boleyn, into Henry's bed in order to gain influence over him and to advance their own interests. Together with Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, they engineer Wolsey's overthrow and then his arrest (and indirectly, his subsequent death). Norfolk is subsequently jointly appointed with Suffolk to the presidency of the Privy Council. Norfolk does not appear in seasons 2, 3 or 4, although, in actual history, he was still alive and played a significant role in the events which transpired in those series; Katherine Howard was a closer relation to him than portrayed in season 3.|
|Anne Boleyn||Natalie Dormer (2007–2008)||Anne Boleyn||Episode 1.01||Episode 2.10(4.10 Dream Sequence)|
|Daughter of Thomas Boleyn, and sister of George and Mary Boleyn. Anne was sent to be a lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine, as a pawn of her father's and her uncle's schemes to ruin Cardinal Wolsey. She attracted Henry VIII's attention at the masquerade where she, along with Henry's sister Margaret, played two of the Graces. By her father's orders, she continually put herself in Henry's way, till Henry was so enamoured of her that he vowed he would take her as his only mistress if she would give herself to him. Anne, remembering how her sister was thrown aside after Henry tired of her, refused him, saying that she was saving her virginity for her eventual husband, causing Henry, already at odds with Queen Katherine for failing to produce a living son, to consider annulment or divorce. She admits to her father that while she did not like the role of sacrificial lamb at first, she was growing to love Henry. At first the relationship was a secret, but more and more Henry honored her as his consort rather than Katherine. The delay of the annulment proceedings frustrated Henry, and Anne used this opportunity to blame Wolsey for the delay, leaving him when she felt that the proceedings will never come to fruition. She also gradually turned him in favor of Protestantism so that, as head of the church in his realm, he could finally divorce Katherine without referring to the Roman Church.
The second season sees Anne reach the peak of her power. She is created as Marquess of Pembroke and is taken to France to meet the French King, Francis, as the future Queen and sleeps with Henry and thus conceives a child who she is confident will be a boy. Soon afterwards, Henry marries Anne and crowns her as Queen, his marriage to Catherine annulled by Cranmer; however, Anne and Henry's hopes are dashed when she gives birth to a daughter, Elizabeth, which sets in motion the Act of Succession. She is more or less manipulated by her father to do everything to win Henry's love (which becomes evident after her miscarriage of her second child). She allows Henry to disinherit his daughter Mary but tries to establish ties with her on the condition that Mary accept her as queen – Mary rebuffs this offer.
Anne becomes desperate to conceive a son, but miscarries twice after Elizabeth and is eventually accused of witchcraft and adultery. Henry removes Elizabeth from the line of succession, convinced she is not his daughter, and sentences Anne to execution by beheading, which she goes to with dignity and surprising admiration from the people. Anne re-appears in the final episode of Season 4 in the dream sequence alongside Elizabeth, expressing pride for her daughter, proclaiming her innocence that the crimes she was killed for, and showing sympathy for her deceased cousin Katherine Howard.
|Katherine of Aragon||Maria Doyle Kennedy (2007–2008)||Catherine of Aragon||Episode 1.01||Episode 2.07(4.10 Dream Sequence)|
|Youngest child of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, Katherine is the first wife and queen consort of Henry VIII. She was once married to Henry's older brother, Arthur, but claims that that marriage was never consummated. Most of her children with Henry VIII were either miscarried or died in infancy; her one surviving child was her daughter, Princess Mary.
Because of her seeming inability to give him a son, along with the onset of menopause, Henry worries that England might face a reversion to civil war in the event of his death. With the Wars of the Roses still a recent memory, he was determined to have a legitimate son to whom to pass his throne. He therefore preferred to believe that Katherine lied when she swore that her previous marriage was never consummated and that therefore his marriage to her was incestuous and illegal. Katherine was very lonely at court, her only friend was the ambassador of Spain, as Cardinal Wolsey dismissed her Spanish ladies-in-waiting for fear that they were spies for the Holy Roman Emperor. Nevertheless, she always does her duty as Queen of England admirably, even mingling with and donating to the common people after church services, and she is loved by the English people despite her Spanish background. She is banished to spend her final days at the house "The More", without any contact from the king's staff or her daughter Mary. She is last seen dictating her will on her deathbed, read both aloud and, intercutting with, by a mournful Henry VIII; Anne smiles upon hearing the news and states that "Now, I am indeed queen." Katherine re-appears in the final episode of Season 4 in the dream sequence alongside Mary, confronting Henry about his treatment of her daughter and her own status as his 'true wife'.
|Thomas Boleyn||Nick Dunning (2007–2008)||Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire||Episode 1.01||Episode 2.10|
|Father of George, Mary, and Anne Boleyn, and brother-in-law to the Duke of Norfolk. Thomas Boleyn appears initially as the English ambassador to France, who sees his daughters primarily as a means to advance family interests. To this end, he encourages Mary to become Henry's mistress and, subsequently, Anne to aim for the higher status of a royal marriage. Together with Norfolk and Suffolk, Boleyn engineers Cardinal Wolsey's downfall. He then becomes a leading member of the Royal Council, although somewhat subordinate to his two fellow plotters in jointly handling the country's affairs. In the second season, Boleyn starts to worry that Anne is losing the king's love and urges her to keep him at her side, even telling her to 'offer him a gift', one of her ladies-in-waiting as a mistress. He is later faced with Anne's fear of the Seymour family but this only catches his attention when his ally, Thomas Cromwell, offers his quarters to them at the King's request. Following Cromwell's investigation of rumors of treason committed by Anne, Boleyn is arrested along with others, but is reprieved by the King and exiled from court. He is berated by Charles Brandon in the last episode of Season 2 for his selfishness and his evident relief that he will live while his son and daughter will die. In the Season 4 episode "A Moment of Nostalgia" Brandon mentions that Boleyn has died recently with only the ghosts of his children in attendance at the funeral.|
|Thomas More||Jeremy Northam (2007–2008)||Thomas More||Episode 1.01||Episode 2.05|
|Longtime friend of Henry VIII, Sir Thomas is a pious Christian who abhors war and tried to advise Henry against it. He nevertheless believes that stern action is required to combat the rise of Lutheranism. During his time as Lord Chancellor after Wolsey, More burns to death six people found guilty of heresy, although he offers them the chance to recant. After it becomes apparent that the king was also changing his attitude towards Catholicism, he becomes worried, finally recalling that Wolsey once told him that he should have told the king what he ought to do, not what he can do, for "if the lion knows his own strength, no man could control him". More is married with four children. In the second season More avoids taking any public position over the king's "great matter" of divorce from Catherine, but is finally condemned and executed after refusing to take an oath recognizing Henry as supreme head of the English Church. He is condemned to be hanged, drawn and quartered but Henry, out of respect, reduces the execution to a quick beheading. Henry shows deep regret over More's death.|
|Thomas Cromwell||James Frain (2007–2009)||Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex||Episode 1.04||Episode 3.08|
|Although Thomas Cromwell was elevated by Cardinal Wolsey after the king's secretary was removed (see Richard Pace, below), he was secretly the ally of the Boleyn family. He is also represented as the man who introduces Anne Boleyn to Lutheranism, which she subsequently introduced to Henry VIII. In the second season, Cromwell rises to the position of chief minister after the fall of Thomas More. Although More is later beheaded for refusing to acknowledge Henry as supreme head of the Church in England, Cromwell takes a sympathetic approach towards him, as he deeply admires More; he also orders swift and necessary action when allegations arise regarding Queen Anne Boleyn (which leads to her ultimate downfall). A characteristic of Cromwell is that, although he is untrustworthy to anyone but the King and is no-one's true friend, he always gives potential opponents a fair warning and a neutral, unbiased viewpoint; while guarded about his own opinions, he is not hesitant to show genuine admiration when he feels it. In this, he is very like Thomas More (though Cromwell is a Protestant reformer and More was a devout Catholic) but is much more unscrupulous with his actions.
Cromwell is depicted as being ruthless and calculating, but also as a hard-working and extremely able minister; he is Wolsey's true successor as the King's right hand. His historic role as a talented administrator and reformer eventually comes into conflict with Henry's ambiguous commitment to the Reformation; the series portrays Cromwell as a committed Protestant who sees the Reformation slipping away, with the Church of England, despite its break from Rome, retaining Catholic tradition and ritual. An attempt to strengthen the King's ties to Protestantism through a German marriage to Anne of Cleves (though couched as a political alliance) backfires. Because of his commoner origins Cromwell is resented by nobles such as the Duke of Suffolk and frequently abused even by Henry. His beheading is a botched affair because the executioner is drunk.
|Thomas Wyatt||Jamie King (2007–2008)||Thomas Wyatt||Episode 1.03||Episode 2.10|
|The former love of Anne Boleyn, poet Thomas Wyatt befriends and collaborates with composer Thomas Tallis while both are on a trip to France with Cardinal Wolsey. He claims to have had carnal relations with Anne, although this is at odds with Anne saying that her maidenhead was only for her husband to claim. He makes few appearances in the first season, but appears frequently in the second. He still holds and proclaims his feelings for Anne even though she has married the King. Wyatt is arrested and charged with betraying Henry, but is released in time to see Anne's execution. He notes the irony that of the accused lovers, he is the only one who is actually guilty and the only one who survived.|
|Thomas Cranmer||Hans Matheson (2008)||Thomas Cranmer||Episode 2.01||Episode 2.10|
|The Archbishop of Canterbury who was involved in handing the dispute over Henry's marriage of Katherine of Aragon as being "null and void" and recognize Anne Boleyn as the new queen, having everybody swear an oath to recognize their new queen. He was introduced as a nervous man when Thomas Cromwell introduced him to the king. When he became the new Archbishop, he gained more confidence and took decisions to move against Katherine and reform the Church in England. He was portrayed from then on as cold and harsh but devoted. A determined Protestant reformer, he resented traditionalist men like Thomas More and Bishop Fisher and, despite their years of loyal service to the king, he branded them as traitors.
He is deeply loyal and devoted to Anne Boleyn but, despite his devotion to her, he is forced to relinquish the mutual desire for a reformed faith when Anne falls from favour. He takes her last confession in the Tower and breaks the news to her that Elizabeth is to be declared illegitimate but promises her that he will endeavour to keep her in the King's "good and kind graces".
|Pope Paul III||Peter O'Toole (2008)||Pope Paul III||Episode 2.01||Episode 2.07|
|The Pope of the Roman Catholic Church who declares Henry's marriage to Anne Boleyn invalid and with ex-communicates Henry. Portrayed as a skilled politician with a dry sense of humour, Pope Paul sends a "Soldier in Christ" to assassinate the new queen, with the promise that he will gain access into heaven no matter if it succeeds or fails. Paul is outraged by and denounces the executions of both Bishop Fisher and Thomas More. He has no qualms about using force when necessary but is also portrayed as a loving man who considers the Catholics his children and wants to protect them like a father would protect his child. This is shown, for example, when Paul signs a document prohibiting the enslavement of the peoples of the New World. He remarks - rather pompously- that he must act as the conscience of the Kings of Europe.|
|Jane Seymour||Anita Briem (2008)Annabelle Wallis (2009)||Jane Seymour||Episode 2.07 (Briem)Episode 3.01 (Wallis)||Episode 2.10 (Briem)Episode 3.04 (Wallis)(4.10 Dream Sequence)|
|Becoming less interested in his new wife Anne Boleyn with her failure to produce a male heir, King Henry VIII has Jane Seymour made one of Anne's ladies-in-waiting in an attempt to seduce her. Jane, mindful of her reputation and following her brother's advice, refuses Henry's gifts and advances, impressing the king with her modesty. A romance develops between Henry and Jane as his marriage to Anne further deteriorates; when Anne catches Henry kissing Jane, she flies into a rage and miscarries a son. Henry orchestrates Anne's arrest for adultery, moving Jane into her quarters and unofficially proposing marriage. Henry and Jane become engaged on the same day as Anne's execution and get married just 10 days later. As an increasingly popular Queen, Jane promotes Mary's interests and secures her position back at court. She also appeals to Henry to restore the monasteries on behalf of the Catholics but she is quickly rebuked by him for meddling in his affairs. Unlike the doomed Anne, she heeds his warning and pursues her agendas within the restrictions of her gender and position. Jane reunites Henry with both his daughters over Christmastide to everybody's delight. Her position as Queen is cemented when she gives birth to Henry's son, Edward. However the birth is long and difficult and she dies twelve days after from childbed fever, leaving Henry devastated as he falls into a deep depression from his grief. Henry regards Jane as his true love because of her kind nature and the fact that she gave him a son. She is given a Queen's burial and Henry promises that one day they will be with each other again when he is buried beside her. Jane re-appears in the final episode of Season 4 in the dream sequence alongside Edward, furious that Edward has been treated badly and will die at a very young age, frightening Henry. When Wallis took over the role for the third season, most of Briem's scenes were re-filmed for the recap in the season opener.|
|Sir Francis Bryan||Alan van Sprang (2009)||Francis Bryan||Episode 3.01||Episode 3.08|
|Bryan is a spy, agent, reputed assassin, and an accomplished cryptographer. He is appointed to the privy chamber. With a reputation as a rake and a libertine without principles or morals, Bryan is known as "The Vicar of Hell", and is an accomplice in several of the king's extramarital affairs. Bryan takes an instant attraction to the fictional character Lady Ursula Misseldon and quickly becomes her lover. Although initially ready to act as an agent for Thomas Cromwell in attempting to intimidate Princess Mary, Bryan turns against the disgraced Minister and by getting his executioner drunk is able to ensure that Cromwell's death is a cruel one. He is sent by Henry to France and Italy to murder Cardinal Reginald Pole but fails in this mission.|
|Robert Aske||Gerard McSorley (2009)||Robert Aske||Episode 3.01||Episode 3.04|
|Aske is a Yorkshire lawyer who opposes the dissolution of the monasteries and becomes the leader of the Pilgrimage of Grace - a rising in northern England. He is persuaded to disband his forces after receiving pledges of pardon and policy change from Henry, through the Duke of Suffolk. However, the momentum the rebellion achieved goes beyond Aske's control, and a further uprising occurs, sealing his fate.|
|Cardinal von Waldburg||Max von Sydow (2009)||Otto Truchsess von Waldburg||Episode 3.01||Episode 3.06|
|A mentor to Reginald Pole.|
|Anne of Cleves||Joss Stone (2009–2010)||Anne of Cleves||Episode 3.06||Episode 4.03|
|A German princess and Henry's fourth wife. The king marries Anne to make a political alliance on the advice of Thomas Cromwell. However the king is not attracted to her, famously saying "I like her not!", and the marriage is annulled less than a year later. Having the benefit of Katherine's, Anne's and Jane's experiences to study, or perhaps simply as eager for an escape route as Henry, she wisely accepts the king's decision, and is rewarded with a pension and lands. She was referred to as "the King's Beloved Sister" and remained well liked by the King's daughters, who continued to visit her after the annulment.|
|Katherine Howard||Tamzin Merchant (2009–2010)||Katherine Howard||Episode 3.08||Episode 4.05|
|Henry's fifth wife, Katherine came to court to serve as lady-in-waiting to Anne of Cleves before catching the King's eye. During her tenure as Queen, Katherine is known for her beauty and youth and butts heads with Mary, her stepdaughter, over the lack of respect she shows her. Disillusioned with her marriage, Katherine enters into an affair with Thomas Culpeper. She is later found guilty of adultery and executed. Katherine was a cousin of Henry's second wife, Anne.|
|Ambassador Charles de Marillac||Lothaire Bluteau (2010)||Charles de Marillac||Episode 4.01||Episode 4.09|
|The French ambassador to England in the final years of Henry's reign.|
|Princess/Lady Mary Tudor||Blathnaid McKeown (2007)
Sarah Bolger (2008–2010)
|Mary I of England||Episode 1.01 (McKeown)
Episode 2.03 (Bolger)
|Episode 1.07 (McKeown) |
Episode 4.10 (Bolger)
|Mary is the daughter and only surviving child of King Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon. Mary's early years were full of happiness, receiving love and adoration from both her parents, and was once betrothed to the Dauphin of France, her cousin, Charles V of Spain, and Francis I's youngest son, the Duke of Orléans. Initially, Mary remained unaware of her parents failing marriage, though gradually she became increasingly aware of the situation; starting when her illegitimate half-brother received titles and his own household, and she too received a household of her own, but far away in the Welsh Marches and under the care of her governess; Lady Salisbury. Mary's place in succession was lost when her parents' marriage was annulled, and so Mary was referred to as "Lady Mary", and any and all contact with her mother was forbidden (much to her pain; as she was not present when she died of illness). Ultimately, her father severed all ties with her when her half-sister Elizabeth was born, and so Mary was formally expelled from court, her servants dismissed from her service, and she was forced to serve as a lady-in-waiting, while Elizabeth received Mary's place in the succession. Mary is relieved not only when her future stepmother, Jane Seymour, made efforts to befriend with her and revealed her hopes to restore her to the succession, but also to hear of Anne Boleyn's execution. Mary was allowed back to court when she (very reluctantly) signed a document that formally declared her allegiance to her father and acknowledgement as him being the Head of the Church; relinquishing her own Catholic faith in the process (something she agonized over). Henry had threatened to put her to death if she had refused, but upon seeing Mary for the first time in years, immediately regretted all his actions and welcomed her back. Mary was initially furious over the Lutheran Anne of Cleves becoming the new queen, but warmed to her considerably upon meeting Katherine Howard, her frivolous, immature replacement. Following Katherine's execution, Mary renewed her friendship with Catherine, the Lady Latimer (historically, Parr was Catherine of Aragon's goddaughter, though this was not mentioned in the series), and was initially pleased at her father's interest and subsequent marriage to her. Mary's attitude hardened upon realizing that Parr was Protestant, however. This discovery, which coincides with the departure of her friend and father-figure Eustace Chapuys, the Imperial Ambassador, causes Mary to finally snap and reveal the true depths of her fanaticism.|
|Edward Seymour||Max Brown (2008–2010)||Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford||Episode 2.08||Episode 4.10|
|Brother of Jane Seymour, he is quickly elevated as Jane gained the King's favour. His behaviour suggests that he cares more about the family's status than Jane's happiness. He acts as gaoler for Lady Salisbury and her family, taking each in turn to their execution.|
|Thomas Culpepper||Torrance Coombs (2010)||Thomas Culpepper||Episode 4.01||Episode 4.05|
|A courtier and friend of Henry VIII, he is ultimately executed for adultery with Katherine Howard.|
|Earl of Surrey||David O'Hara (2010)||Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey||Episode 4.01||Episode 4.09|
|An eminent poet with a reputation for debauchery, the Earl grew up with Henry VIII's illegitimate son Henry Fitzroy. Henry Howard is also portrayed as an aggressive and fearless soldier. As the son of the Duke of Norfolk and the cousin of both Katherine Howard and Anne Boleyn, he considers the Seymour family to be his enemy. He also has an intense hatred for the members of court who come from commoner level families.|
|Catherine Parr||Joely Richardson (2010)||Catherine Parr||Episode 4.06||Episode 4.10|
|Catherine Parr is introduced as the wife of an ailing old man, in love with Thomas Seymour when she catches the King's eye. After the death of her husband, Seymour is sent overseas and the King asks for her hand in marriage, leaving Catherine with no other option than to accept the proposal. Their marriage is a happy one and Catherine even serves as regent for Henry during his Boulogne campaign. Catherine is a Protestant reformer and is later suspected of heresy by Bishop Gardiner. However, after an appeal to Henry's ego, she manages to escape the charges being brought against her. Catherine is shown to be close to all three of the King's children. After Henry's death, she married Thomas Seymour. She later died of childbed fever.|
|Character name||Portrayed by||Historical basis||First appearance||Last appearance|
|Duke of Buckingham||Steven Waddington (2007)||Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham||Episode 1.01||Episode 1.02|
|A direct descendant of Edward III, Buckingham was openly resentful of the "new men" such as Cardinal Wolsey who have risen by ability rather than birth. Described by Thomas More as stupid but powerful, Buckingham confides in Norfolk that he aspires to the crown. After being reprimanded by Henry for attempting to humiliate Wolsey, Buckingham recklessly plans to assassinate the King. However, this plan is reported to the Cardinal by Thomas Boleyn, whom Buckingham had tried to recruit. Buckingham is subsequently convicted of treason and beheaded. He leaves behind a daughter, who had a brief relationship with Charles Brandon (also one of the reasons he was at odds with Henry since the latter refused to punish Brandon).|
|Anna Buckingham Hastings||Anna Brewster (2007)||Anne Hastings née Stafford, Countess of Huntingdon||Episode 1.01||Episode 1.07|
|The Duke of Buckingham's daughter was the former lover of Charles Brandon, and a catalyst for her father's attempted assassination of the King of England. She later becomes the common law wife of William Compton, and dies in the dreaded sweating sickness epidemic along with him.|
|William Compton||Kristen Holden-Ried (2007)||William Compton||Episode 1.01||Episode 1.07|
|A longtime friend to King Henry VIII, "common-born" William Compton (along with similarly-ranked Charles Brandon and Anthony Knivert) attracts the ire of the noble-born Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, due to Henry's favouritism toward the trio. In Episode 1.04, Compton is knighted Sir William Compton, alongside Knivert, for no more apparent reason than having amused the King by substituting a small log for a lance while jousting. The new Sir William is portrayed throughout the series as a witty and elegant courtier who avoids the occasional blunders of his two friends Brandon and Knivert. Compton, though married, soon shows a romantic homosexual interest in the young composer Thomas Tallis in Episode 1.05. At first Tallis refuses Compton's advances, but does not pull away when Compton kisses him; later they are shown in bed together. Compton is the second to die (after Henry Fitzroy) from the devastating "sweating sickness" in Episode 1.07.|
|Thomas Tallis||Joe Van Moyland (2007)||Thomas Tallis||Episode 1.01||Episode 1.10|
|Young composer Thomas Tallis comes to London with good references and secures a position with the Chapel Royal. He soon attracts the attention of Sir William Compton, a close friend of King Henry VIII, and the two become lovers. After Compton's death, Tallis courts two sisters. After his first choice dies he marries the second. In a rare supernatural element in the series the dead sister watches Tallis and his new wife in bed together. Though he does not appear in subsequent seasons, Tallis continued to prosper throughout the period, and received the favor of Elizabeth I.|
|Mary Boleyn||Perdita Weeks (2007–2008)||Mary Boleyn||Episode 1.01||Episode 2.05|
|Daughter of Thomas Boleyn and sister to George and Anne Boleyn. Also the onetime mistress to King Henry VIII. Seen more as a recurring character in the show's second season, although she is banished from court after revealing her secret marriage to William Stafford who was of a lower rank.|
|Lady Elizabeth Blount||Ruta Gedmintas (2007)||Elizabeth Blount||Episode 1.01||Episode 1.05|
|Married mistress to King Henry VIII, and mother to his first (though illegitimate) son who survived infancy (historically she did not marry until after the birth). He dies in the fifth episode at the young age of four, as both she and the King weep over the loss. (Her son's death contradicts history, as her son survived into his teenage years.)|
|Richard Pace||Matt Ryan (2007)||Richard Pace||Episode 1.01||Episode 1.04|
|A widower who was the secretary of Henry VIII. He was framed by Cardinal Wolsey of spying for the French, and sentenced to the London Tower. He lost his mental faculties before he was released from the Tower.|
|King Francis of France||Emmanuel Leconte (2007–2008)||Francis I of France||Episode 1.02||Episode 2.08|
|Some time adversary and some time ally of King Henry VIII. He is later ordered by Pope Paul III to wage war on England after Henry's excommunication.|
|Queen Claude of France||Gabriella Wright (2007)||Claude of France||Episode 1.02||Episode 1.08|
|Queen consort of Francis I of France. She rejects the Duke of Suffolk's advances because she believed that making love for revenge (at her husband, who flaunts his mistresses much like Henry VIII) kills the soul.|
|Princess Margaret Tudor||Gabrielle Anwar (2007)||Mary Tudor, Queen of France; Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots||Episode 1.03||Episode 1.09|
|Engaged to the elderly King of Portugal, feisty Margaret begs her brother, King Henry VIII of England, to reconsider the match. He refuses, and she is further irritated that he has chosen his common-born friend Charles Brandon to accompany her to Portugal and present her to her future husband. Margaret pressures Henry to agree that, once her husband is dead, she may marry whomever she chooses; he seems to concede. Margaret is at first dismissive of court lothario Brandon, but they soon have passionate sex on the long sea voyage to Portugal. Margaret marries the decrepit Portuguese king, who lives only a few days until she smothers him in his sleep. Henry is angry to lose the political alliance, but even more furious when he discovers that Margaret and Brandon have married without his consent. With accusations of treason, they are exiled from court; the Duke of Norfolk soon promises to intervene on Brandon's behalf in exchange for Brandon's assistance in ruining Norfolk's political rival, Cardinal Wolsey. Margaret's relationship with Brandon eventually collapses; she argues that he only "loved her for an hour", as he continues to have affairs with other women. As Brandon returns to favor at court, Margaret displays an obvious dislike for Anne Boleyn and her allies. Margaret falls ill with pulmonary tuberculosis, and dies as Charles is engaging in sex with another woman. Henry is furious at Brandon for his lack of attention to his wife, and Brandon shows remorse as he buries Margaret.|
|Ambassador Mendoza||Declan Conlon (2007–2009)||Íñigo López de Mendoza y Zúñiga||Episode 1.03||Episode 3.02|
|The Spanish ambassador to England, Mendoza serves as a link between Queen Katherine and her nephew, Charles V, as her letters are being opened by Cardinal Wolsey. He is also the one friend Katherine has at court, since her Spanish ladies-in-waiting were dismissed by Wolsey, and her English ladies-in-waiting were either bribed or seduced by the Cardinal, to say nothing of being seduced by the king himself. He bore the brunt of Henry VIII's anger and when Charles V broke the treaty between England and Spain by setting free Francis I of France without consulting Henry, as Charles's ally, and also marrying Isabella of Portugal when he is betrothed to Princess Mary. He is promoted by Charles and sent home to Spain, leaving the issue of Queen Katherine and King Henry's divorce to be handled by Eustace Chapuys (the Imperial Ambassador, who remained to represent all of Charles V's territory).|
|Eustace Chapuys||Anthony Brophy (2007–2010)||Eustace Chapuys||Episode 1.03||Episode 4.08|
|Holy Roman Emperor Charles V's ambassador to the court of Henry VIII, initially serving alongside Mendoza (the Spanish Ambassador), but later representing all of Charles V's territory on his own. As the Emperor is the nephew to Katherine of Aragon, his ambassador acts as her ally and plots against Anne Boleyn but achieves little. Chapuys attempts to use the devoutly Catholic courtier William Brereton to assassinate Anne but the conspiracy fails. Brereton is subsequently executed for (falsely) admitting that he had an affair with Queen Anne. While presented as a skilled and cunning diplomat and courtier, Chapuys appears genuinely devoted to Lady Mary, advising and reassuring her during the period that she is out of favour with the King. Towards the end of the series, Chapuys, now elderly and suffering from bad gout, resigns his post and returns to Spain. Although furious with Chapuys and the Emperor for their recent treaty with France, Henry appears somewhat put out that he is to leave and wishes him a happy retirement. Before he leaves, Chapuys gives Mary a ring that had been given to him by the Emperor, which he in turn had received from Katherine of Aragon. Mary vows to restore England to Catholicism no matter the cost; Chapuys is visibly shaken by Mary's fanaticism. Shortly after his return to Spain, Chapuys dies, news that devastates Mary.
Chapuys has the distinction of being the only character to feature prominently in all four seasons without ever being a starring cast member. His origin and ultimate fate were changed for the series: historically, he was a Savoyard (not a Spaniard as suggested in the series) and retired to the Low Countries, where he set up a small college in 1548. He died in 1556, meaning that he in fact lived into Mary's reign.
|Emperor Charles||Sebastian Armesto (2007)||Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor||Episode 1.03||Episode 1.03|
|Alternately the ally and adversary of King Henry VIII, Charles begins the series as the King of Spain and is the nephew of Henry's first wife, Queen Katherine of Aragon. He swiftly becomes Holy Roman Emperor as well, making him the single most powerful man in Christendom, and thus the perfect ally for Henry to lay aside his alliance with France for. He was betrothed to Princess Mary, although he later broke the betrothal in order to marry Isabella of Portugal. Charles only appears in a single episode of the first season, but is mentioned in almost every episode of the series thereafter, usually referred to simply as "the Emperor." He is initially represented in England by Ambassadors Mendoza (of Spain) and Chapuys (of the Holy Roman Empire), although he eventually recalls Mendoza and authorizes Chapuys to represent him alone.|
|George Boleyn||Pádraic Delaney (2007–2008)||George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford||Episode 1.04||Episode 2.09|
|Son of Thomas Boleyn and brother to Mary and Anne Boleyn. George benefits greatly from Anne's rise, and revels in his newfound power. Despite his womanizing, George has a clandestine affair with the male court musician Mark Smeaton. Upon his sister Anne's fall, George is caught in the storm and accused of incest with Anne, which is later corroborated by his abused and neglected wife, Jane. He is beheaded for treason in Episode 2.09.|
|Lady Salisbury||Kate O'Toole (2007–2009)||Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury||Episode 1.05||Episode 3.06|
|A middle-aged noblewoman who is charged to act as governess and guardian to Princess Mary, daughter of King Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon, when the princess is awarded her own household in the Welsh marches. Lady Salisbury later earns the King's enmity as the mother of Reginald Pole, who declines his offer of an appointment to a senior position in the Church of England but reluctantly accepts the rank of cardinal from the Pope. With Cardinal Pole beyond his reach Henry takes vengeance against his family by having Lady Salisbury, another of her sons and her young grandson executed. Historically this was widely seen as an atrocious act by Henry against an elderly woman who was innocent of any crime.|
|Bishop John Fisher||Bosco Hogan (2007–2008)||Bishop John Fisher||Episode 1.05||Episode 2.05|
|Bishop of Rochester and legal counsel to Katherine. Historically, he was confessor and good friend to Henry's mother, and one of the few men who was not afraid of him. He suffered terribly for his convictions. He was created Cardinal for his steadfastness and was later canonized in the Roman Catholic Church. His feast day is the same as Saint Thomas More.|
|Catherine Willoughby Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk||Rebekah Wainwright (2007–2009)
Marcella Plunkett (2010)
|Catherine Willoughby, 12th Baroness Willoughby de Eresby||Episode 1.10 (Wainwright)
Episode 4.10 (Plunkett)
|Episode 3.08 (Wainwright) |
Episode 4.10 (Plunkett)
|Charles Brandon's seventeen-year-old ward, Catherine becomes his second wife and Duchess of Suffolk. With her sharp-tongued wit, she motivates Brandon to "keep his pretty head" despite his hatred for Anne Boleyn, now Queen. When Catherine learns that Brandon has had a brief affair with the French ambassador's mistress she forgives him, saying that he was the only one who made her cry. In Season 3 their marriage suffers from her contempt for Brandon's willingness to enforce the King's orders in ruthlessly putting down Catholic unrest in northern England. In season 4, she is not present and is estranged from her husband.|
|William Brereton||James Gilbert (2008)||William Brereton||Episode 2.01||Episode 2.09|
|Seeming to be commissioned by Pope Paul III and Ambassador Chapuys to assassinate Anne Boleyn for the good of King Henry VIII and the Catholic Church. He was accused of having carnal knowledge of the Queen Anne, unlike the others in his position, who either denied (George Boleyn and Henry Norris) or were tortured into admitting it (Mark Smeaton), Brereton falsely admitted his guilt to Thomas Cromwell. He is beheaded in episode 9 of series 2 along with the others accused.|
|Lady Jane Rochford||Joanne King (2008–2010)||Jane Boleyn, Viscountess Rochford||Episode 2.07||Episode 4.05|
|Wife of George Boleyn and thus sister in law of Queen Anne and King Henry. She has an arranged marriage (through her and George's families), is sexually abused by George, who shows no affection for her at all. She tries to win his love but is frustrated by his affairs and disgusted when she learns of his relationship with Mark Smeaton. She avoids sharing in the fall of the Boleyns by giving evidence against her husband and agreeing to the allegation that he committed incest with his sister.
Despite her unhappy marriage and the scandal of her in-laws, Jane is asked back to court by Queen Jane and is appointed her principal lady in waiting. Jane secretly helps the Queen to get funds to the Lady Elizabeth's governess when Henry refuses to pay and arranges the public return of Lady Mary to court. Lady Rochford is a keen supporter of the Reformation and abhors the Catholic faith, although she is so moved by Jane's actions that she puts aside her opinions. She is later seen as a lady in waiting to Katherine Howard, whom she despises, and manipulates her into a clandestine affair with Thomas Culpepper, one of Henry's grooms who is pathologically obsessed with the young queen. Once the affair came to light, she was interrogated and arrested for treason (as well as aiding and abetting) and had a nervous breakdown. Despite Lady Rochford being declared legally insane, King Henry VIII passed a law to make it legal to execute her by beheading. She was executed the same day as Katherine Howard.
|Princess/Lady Elizabeth Tudor||Kate Duggan (2008)
Claire MacCauley (2009)
Laoise Murray (2010)
|Elizabeth I of England||Episode 2.07 (Duggan)
Episode 3.03 (MacCauley)
Episode 4.01 (Murray)
|Episode 2.10 (Duggan) |
Episode 3.07 (MacCauley)
Episode 4.10 (Murray)
|The daughter of Henry and Anne Boleyn. During Elizabeth's infancy, she is proclaimed Princess of England and the Act of Succession nominates her as the heir to the throne, supplanting her older half-sister, Mary, who is sent to Elizabeth's establishment at Hatfield to wait on her. Shortly before Anne's execution, her marriage to Henry is annulled, making Elizabeth a bastard. She is removed from the line of succession and referred to as Lady Elizabeth.
In the aftermath of Anne's execution, Henry is initially unwilling to have anything to do with Elizabeth, claiming not to believe that she is his child, but when Elizabeth's half-sister, Mary, and stepmother, Jane Seymour, arrange for her to be brought to court and presented to her father for Christmas 1536, she is welcomed. She attends the christening of her half-brother, Edward, and later goes to live at Hundson with Mary. In episode 3.07, Elizabeth and Mary are present at court to greet their newest stepmother, Anne of Cleves. During Henry's marriage to Katherine Howard, Elizabeth is much warmer to her than Mary, but makes no secret of her preference for Anne of Cleves, and spends most of her free time at Hever Castle (Anne's residence and Elizabeth's ancestral home). In episode 4.06, Elizabeth treats her restoration to the succession with dread, and declares to Mary, with God as her witness, that she will never marry.
Elizabeth develops a closeness to her sister and brother. She is seen to be good friends with Anne of Cleves and, in the fourth season, grows close to Catherine Parr, who vows to raise Elizabeth in the faith of her mother. However, throughout all of this, she and her father remain somewhat distant. By the end Henry acknowledges, while conversing with the spirit of Anne Boleyn, that he has always been proud of his daughter and does recognise that she is very intelligent. He also reveals that he wishes that he could have shown her more affection but that her resemblance to her mother (Elizabeth looked like her father, but had her mother's eyes and personality) made him keep her at arm's length.
|Lady Ursula Misseldon||Charlotte Salt (2009)||Mary Shelton or Margaret Skipwith||Episode 3.01||Episode 3.05|
|A lady in waiting to Queen Jane though not a historical figure. She is the mistress of Sir Francis Bryan and subsequently King Henry who finds her bravery arousing. She arrives at court during the King and new Queen's wedding celebrations. She is engaged to be married but does not think twice of using her body for advancement and rewards. Before she returns home she has passionate sex with a depressed Henry after Queen Jane's death. Mary Shelton and Margaret Skipwith were ladies of the court who were linked romantically to Henry VIII (but not to Francis Bryan) in court gossip during the period following Queen Jane's death.|
|Cardinal Reginald Pole||Mark Hildreth (2009)||Reginald Pole||Episode 3.01||Episode 3.07|
|A Catholic priest studying in Italy, Pole is also an heir of the deposed House of Plantagenet via his mother, Margaret Pole, the Countess of Salisbury. Reginald is created a Cardinal, and with the guidance of his mentor, Cardinal von Waldburg, seeks to undermine Henry VIII's throne by taking advantage of the civil unrest in Yorkshire to encourage the King's foreign enemies to support the rebellion. Henry's outrage over this is visited on Pole's family.|
|Anne Seymour, Viscountess Beauchamp||Emma Hamilton (2007)||Anne Seymour, Duchess of Somerset||Episode 3.03||Episode 4.10|
|Anne is the wife of Edward Seymour, but she feels no passion for her aloof husband, and has an affair with Sir Francis Bryan. Later she has dalliances with the Earl of Surrey, but grows to despise him after he writes unflattering prose about her, and Edward's brother Thomas Seymour for whom she claims to bear a child. She provides gunpowder to the executioner so that Anne Askew would die quickly when burned at the stake for being a heretic.|
|Prince Edward Tudor||? (2009)
Eoin Murtagh (2010)
Jake Hathaway (2010)
|Edward VI||Episode 3.04 (?)
Episode 4.01 (Murtagh)
Episode 4.10 (Hathaway)
|Episode 3.08 (?) |
Episode 4.08 (Murtagh)
Episode 4.10 (Hathaway)
|Henry's only son; born to Jane Seymour. As the long-awaited male heir Edward is shown to the people in his father's arms. Close to both his sisters Mary and Elizabeth, Edward succeeds Henry as King of England; albeit only briefly as he died aged 15 from tuberculosis.|
|Thomas Seymour||Andrew McNair (2009–2010)||Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley||Episode 3.04||Episode 4.10|
|Younger brother to Edward Seymour, older brother to Queen Jane Seymour, and uncle to Prince Edward Tudor. Thomas appears as an associate of Sir Francis Bryan, in their search to find and kill Cardinal Pole.|
|Joan Bulmer||Catherine Steadman (2010)||Joan Bulmer||Episode 4.01||Episode 4.05|
|Joan Bulmer is a former acquaintance of Katherine Howard, from their time in the household of the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, who wishes to be placed in the new Queen's household. Later she is called upon to testify against Katherine Howard.|
- As established by the series credits and character list on the official website Archived 2009-06-28 at the Portuguese Web Archive, the character's name is spelled Katherine with a "K" in contrast to the English language spelling "Catherine" usually used for the actual historical figure.
- George Throckmorton
- Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich
- Margaret (Madge) Shelton
- Philippe de Chabot
- William Kingston
- Hans Holbein the Younger
- Elizabeth Boleyn, Countess of Wiltshire, wife of Thomas Boleyn
- Stephen Gardiner
- John Lambert (martyr)
- Henry Pole, 1st Baron Montagu
- Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton (Lord Risley)
- Anne Parr, Countess of Pembroke (Lady Herbert)