Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

The ‘Great Matter’ of King Henry VIII

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Ian Ward



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Scholars have long surmised that The Famous Life of King Henry VIII was very probably the last play that Shakespeare had a part in writing. The first recorded performance of the play was in 1613. The play was more closely about a particular ‘moment’ in the reign of King Henry VIII; the events that surrounded his divorce from Katherine of Aragon. Shakespeare chose this moment because he appreciated its larger significance. The consequence would be the Reformation and the establishment of the Anglican Church. Henry VIII remains a relatively neglected part of the Shakespearian canon. But there is, for scholars interested in the place of law within this canon, a particular significance in Shakespeare’s final play. In all the other histories, there are lots of soldiers and lots of battles. There are none in Henry VIII. In place of war, there is law.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ward I

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of International Dispute Settlement

Year: 2018

Volume: 9

Issue: 1

Pages: 83-102

Print publication date: 01/03/2018

Online publication date: 08/01/2017

Acceptance date: 24/11/2016

Date deposited: 14/02/2017

ISSN (print): 2040-3585

ISSN (electronic): 2040-3593

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/jnlids/idw029


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric