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Act V, Scene V
The young princess is christened as "Elizabeth." The King thanks those assembled there and says that when the princess grows up so will she. Hearing this, Cranmer makes a prophecy about the future of the young princess. He relates in detail the honor and glory she and her successor James I England will bring in the future. The King is deeply moved and delighted by Cranmer’s words. And at the King’s request the party leaves to visit and receive the queen’s thanks.
The princess christening is a formal event for the nobility, with several noblemen and the child’s godparents present with the christening gifts. The focal paint of the scene is Cranmer’s prophecy about the princess. He glimpses her future, by the grace of heaven, and relates what he has seen. Aware that his words may be dismissed as mere flattery he makes it clear that this is not the case and his quiet words have a ring of truth about them.
This is the last scene of the play, although it is by no means the last chapter in the life of King Henry VIII. The play ends here on a note of promised glory that the young princess will live. It shows that history does not come to a stop but is perpetuated by the future generation.
The prophecy with its promises to come is a celebration of the rule of own Elizabeth. The play itself glorifies the rule of Tudors and the peace and prosperity their rule brings. They reach the zenith of their greatness with the rule of Queen Elizabeth. This is brought into focus and applauded by Cranmer’s prophecy. Mention is also made of her successor James I assuring that propriety will not end with her rule but go on with the ruler who succeeds her.
The dramatist directly addresses the audience saying that he is aware that not everyone present will leave satisfied. The trumpets would have surely disturbed those who came to relax and sleep for a while. And those who came to see abuses heaped against the city will find that the dramatist has not done that either. The only people likely to praise the play are "good women" for the play featured one such. And if the women approve of the play it is inevitable that the men will do so too because the women will make them do so.
The play ends on a note of celebration and the epilogue is an extension of this positive Mood. The somber Mood that the catastrophe is the first four acts inspired has disappeared altogether whereas the playwright jokes about making up sleeping spectators with the sound of trumpets.
The reference to a "good women" turns the focus away from Anne’s triumph and from any glory that Elizabeth and James I can reflect on her back to Katherine who fell as Anne rose. But before the somber Mood can once again reestablish itself the dramatist breaks the spell with another joke. This he abruptly dismisses the serious theme that once against threatens to mar the joy of the last act.