Cultural depictions of Henry IV of England

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Henry IV of England has been depicted in popular culture a number of times.


Almost two hundred years after his death, Henry became the subject of two plays by William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV, Part 2, as well as featuring prominently in Richard II. As the Earl of Derby, he is also a character in Gordon Daviot's play Richard of Bordeaux. He is a supporting character in Georgette Heyer's 1975 historical novel My Lord John, which details the early life of his son, John of Lancaster.[1][2] Anya Seton included Henry in her 1954 novel Katherine which depicted the relationship between Henry's father John of Gaunt and his eventual step-mother Katherine Swynford. Henry is also a main character in Sara Douglass's The Crucible Trilogy, a work of historical fiction.


Henry has been portrayed on screen by:


Henry has been portrayed a number of times on television, mainly in versions of Shakespeare's plays. In this context he has been played by:

Henry has also been played on television by:

  • Ralph Truman in a BBC adaptation of Richard of Bordeaux (1938)
  • John Arnatt in another BBC adaptation of Richard of Bordeaux (1955)


  • Henry was played by Barry Smith in a straight-to-video film adaptation of Shakespeare's Richard the Second (2001).
  • Paul Shenar played him in an American video Richard II (1982), in an Elizabethan style stage production of the play.


Henry IV of England has also influenced an increased precedence in the use of "Henry" as a first name. In fact, it was so popular as to top the Telegraph's list of most popular baby names in 2014.[3] Examples of the name in use include Prince Harry, whose given name is Henry, and Henry Fippinger.


  1. ^ Toomey, Philippa (October 1975). "Fiction". In Fahnestock-Thomas, Mary. Georgette Heyer: A Critical Retrospective. Prinnyworld Press (published 2001). pp. 240–241. ISBN 978-0-9668005-3-1. 
  2. ^ Stephenson, Geneva (November 1975). "Last Heyer Novel, A Period Panorama". In Fahnestock-Thomas, Mary. Georgette Heyer: A Critical Retrospective. Prinnyworld Press (published 2001). pp. 242–243. ISBN 978-0-9668005-3-1. 
  3. ^ "Henry dethrones William and George as most popular baby name for Telegraph readers". Retrieved 2015-06-05.