The Tudors of the English monarchy is so chaotic in love, life and war that they deserved a show. Showtime heeded this call with “The Tudors,” a historical fiction TV series that focuses on the reign of King Henry the VIII.
The success of the show is attributed to the storylines derived from history, as well as the stellar acting of “The Tudors” cast. The cast was composed of fresh faces and established actors who all started in the box-office hit movies and popular TV shows after the end of “The Tudors.” Over the show’s four-year run, it attracted popular actors like Henry Cavill, Sam Neill and Natalie Dormer (aka our Anne Boleyn).
“The Tudors” was a kingmaker since most of its cast as most of its stars went on to become household names in the industry. Thanks to the turbulent life of Henry VIII (and his six wives), the show made for good TV and cemented the celebrity status of “The Tudors” cast.
Meet The Tudors Cast: Who Are They and Where Are They Now?
Set in 16th-century England, “The Tudors” follows the reign of King Henry VIII. The series begins with the King of England attempting to divorce his wife, Catherine of Aragorn, so he can marry Anne Boleyn. When the Catholic Church disagrees, he rebels and declares himself the Head of England’s Church, setting a religious reformation that would impact the country in the years to come. The series also focuses on Henry VIII working through six wives as he wreaks havoc in the country and executed more than 50,000 people.
The Man Behind Henry VIII: Jonathan Rhys Meyers
After Henry married his deceased brother Arthur’s wife (Catherine of Aragorn), he was pushed into the spotlight as he started laying the foundation for one of the most iconic reigns in English history. Despite being the perfect man of the Renaissance period, he started to fail when his first wife could not produce a male heir. The lack of a son drove Henry to the darker side of life, causing him to dismantle the church of England and declare himself the king of it.
He became the absolute monarch.
At the time of his death, he had married six women to maintain his dynasty.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers portrayed the head of the Tudor royal household. Prior to his appearance on “The Tudors,” he already had an established and impressive acting career. He first gained international attention when he started in “Velvet Goldmine” (1998), along with Christian Bale, Ewan McGregor and Toni Collette. His impressive performance as Brian Slade earned him a nomination for the London Film Critics Circle Award nomination.
Since then, he has landed leading roles and has become one of Hollywood’s most loved leading men. When he became King Henry VIII, he gained more attention and was even nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Drama.
After being part of “The Tudors” cast, he went on to star/appear in “August Rush,” “Shelter,” “The Children of Huang Shi” and “From Paris with Love.” He also played Valentine in “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” and the titular Dracula in “Dracula.”
Who Plays Henry VIII’s Wives on the Tudors Cast?
Catherine of Aragorn
She was the daughter of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castille, as well as the first wife of Henry VIII. She married the would-be-infamous king after his brother died, leaving her a widow. During her marriage to King Henry VIII, she experienced becoming a regent of England and going to war while she was pregnant.
Despite her stellar performance as queen, her failure to produce a son and Henry’s infatuation with Anne Boleyn caused her to be disregarded by her husband. Henry’s wish to annul their marriage and her refusal led to the King assuming supremacy over religious matters and banishing Catherine from the kingdom.
Marla Doyle Kennedy portrayed Henry VIII’s first wife. After her performance on “The Tudors,” Kennedy appeared on the hit series “Dexter” as Sonya. Since then, she has starred in popular shows like “Orphan Black” and “Downton Abbey.” Currently, she is Ila in the Amazon Original series, “The Wheel of Time.”
Probably the most popular out of Henry VIII’s wives, Anne Boleyn was a lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragorn before she became the reason Catherine was removed as queen. She is also the reason Henry VIII broke it off with the Catholic church. It seemed as if fate was on her side.
Despite all the trouble Henry VIII went through for her, Anne found herself in the same situation as her predecessor when she also failed to produce a male heir. By 1536, her husband was already courting Jane Seymour and needed to be rid of her. She was then falsely convicted of incest and treason, which led to her beheading.
Apart from her sad ending, she is also known for being the mother of Elizabeth I, one of England’s greatest queens.
Anne Boleyn was portrayed by Natalie Dormer who considered her role “harrowing” and “incredibly haunting.” Despite this, she considered her experience as Anne Boleyn as one of the best experiences in her career. Her appearance on “The Tudors” boosted her career, all thanks to her incredible acting.
Since then, she has appeared in other iconic films such as “The Hunger Games” and “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Dormer is also known for her portrayal of Margaery Tyrell in the hit TV show “Game of Thrones.” She is also a part of the cast of “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels.”
The third wife of Henry VIII, Jane Seymour would have been the most successful out of the wives had she not died in 1537. She had given him the one thing he wanted the most: a son, the future King Edward VI. However, his birth led to her becoming seriously ill. A few days after giving birth to Edward, she died. She was the only wife of Henry’s to receive a queen’s funeral.
Originally, Anita Briem portrayed Jane Seymour in The Tudors. However, she was recast in season 3 due to scheduling conflicts. Since then, actress Annabelle Wallis took the role of Jane. Since being a part of “The Tudors” cast, Wallis has appeared on “Pan Am” as Bridget Pierce. She has also starred in horror films like “The Silencing,” “Annabelle” and “Malignant.”
Anne of Cleves
Two years after his wife’s passing, Henry VIII married his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. However, he wasn’t attracted to her, thinking that he was fooled by the portrait they sent of her. He didn’t want to marry her, but to avoid conflict, he married her but did not consummate their marriage. Six months later, they divorced and Anne was allowed to live a quiet life.
Anne of Cleves was portrayed by Joss Stone who was a newbie actress when “The Tudors” aired. Before her role as Anne, she was Angela in the film “Eragon.” After being part of “The Tudors” cast, the actress appeared in “Empire” and continued her career as a singer and songwriter.
By the time Henry had to marry again, he was married to 15-year old Catherine Howard. The huge age gap caused the couple to have several misunderstandings. On top of that, Howard had a dubious sexual past, which haunted her when her former lover Francis Dereham threatened to expose her. The young queen made things worse by having an affair with Thomas Culpepper, one of the King’s groomsmen.
Her adultery and failure to disclose her sexual past led to her execution. Like Anne Boleyn, she was beheaded with a single stroke.
Tamzin Merchant portrayed the young queen. After her role as Catherine Howard, she portrayed Anne Hale in “Salem.” She was also cast as a series regular in “Carnival Row.” In 2021, she wrote a children’s book titled “The Hatmakers.”
Henry VIII’s final marriage was to Catherine Parr. It was also his second-longest. Before marrying the king, she had been widowed twice, but that didn’t stop Henry from making her his queen. She was an effective Regent when her husband battled the enemies in Bolougne. She was also a lovely stepmother to Henry’s three children: Mary, Elizabeth and Edward. She managed to outlive her husband and marry Thomas Seymour.
Actress Joely Richardson had appeared in several films before becoming Catherine Parr in “The Tudors.” She was in “101 Dalmatians,” “Event Horizon” and “Return to Me.” She was also in the Hollywood film adaptation of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” She played a young Queen Elizabeth I in “Anonymous.”
“The Tudors” cast did a splendid job of portraying the crazy life of Henry VIII and his six wives. While they are now stars of different films, they will forever remain a part of the Tudors on TV.