William Bromley. Detail of Katherine of Aragon and the Cardinals, 1866.

Oil on canvas, approximately 42 x 60 inches. Manchester City Art Galleries, Manchester, England.

In Act III, Scene i, of Henry VIII, Katherine is listening to a song on the lute when the Lord Chancellor Cardinal Wolsey and the Papal Legate Cardinal Campeius come to persuade the Queen to accept a divorce and avoid the disgrace of a public trial. Before the scene ends, Katherine says to the Cardinals,

Would I had never trod this English earth
Or felt the flatteries that grow upon it!
Ye have angels' faces, but heaven knows your hearts.
What will become of me now, wretched lady?
I am the most unhappy woman living.

She then laments to the ladies in attendance,

Alas, poor wenches, where are now your fortunes!
Shipwreck'd upon a kingdom, where no pity,
No friends, no hope, no kindred weep for me,
Almost no grave allowed me. Like the lily
That once was mistress of the field and flourished,
I'll hang my head and perish.