Gardiner, King Henry’s secretary and later Bishop of Winchester, is entirely Wolsey’s creature, placed as the King’s secretary by the Cardinal because he will obey the latter before the former.
A conservative Catholic, as bishop he becomes the spearhead of opposition to Anne Bullen, Cranmer, and the other heretics, not hiding his hope that Anne will die in childbirth, even though he escorted her to her coronation. He arranges for Cranmer to be tried by the council, a meeting at which he acts as prosecutor. He is a nasty man, but a smooth and sycophantic flatterer to the King. He agrees to embrace Cranmer as a friend at the King’s command.