Henry VIII's divorce of Katherine of Aragon and execution of Anne Boleyn mark the beginning of the English Reformation and a substantial alteration of the queen consort role. Early modern plays that feature Henry VIII's queens, such as Samuel Rowley's When You See Me, You Know Me and William Shakespeare and John Fletcher's King Henry VIII, focus on the transition from a medieval to an early modern notion of queenship and represent the dismantled position of the queen consort in early sixteenth-century England. They also highlight the unstable and reduced position that future English queens would inherit.

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