The Duke of Norfolk tells Buckingham of the meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I of France at the field of the Cloth of Gold. On the instigation of Cardinal Wolsey, Buckingham is arrested. The Queen interrupts the indictment of Buckingham to demand the King rescind a tax imposed by Wolsey to finance the French War. At a party held by Wolsey, Henry meets Anne Bullen - and falls in love with her. Buckingham is tried and executed. The Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk fail to turn the King against Wolsey. Henry doubting the legality of his marriage to Katherine, sets up a tribunal, presided over by Wolsey and Cardinal Campeius of Rome. Anne Bullen is made Marchioness of Pembroke. Katherine walks out of the tribunal, and demands that the case be decided in Rome. Wolsey and Campeius fail to convince the Queen to throw herself on the King's mercy. Anne secretly marries Henry. A conspiracy by the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk to disgrace Wolsey is successful, and Wolsey falls. Cranmer is appointed Archbishop of Canterbury. Katherine is divorced, Anne is crowned Queen. Katherine is told of Wolsey's death, and she herself dies. Anne gives birth to Elizabeth. Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, attempts to indict Cranmer for heresy. He fails through Henry's intervention. Elizabeth is christened and Cranmer predicts the glory of her reign.
The historical Shakespearean plays were the product of de Vere's arrangement with Queen Elizabeth in which she paid de Vere an annuity of £1,000 and in return de Vere writes propaganda plays for the masses to promote the virtues of and loyalty to the regime.