Previously in the opera
Having tired of his second wife, Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII now loves her favorite ladyin-waiting, Jane Seymour. Richard Percy, whom the young Anne once loved, returns from exile and rekindles his feelings for her. Suspecting her of infidelity with Percy and the court musician Smeaton, Henry orders all three to prison, along with Anne's brother, Lord Rochford. Anne and Percy deny the accusations, but Henry's council condemns them both. When Henry later gives Percy and Rochford a reprieve, they refuse it, preferring to die with Anne.
Act Two, Scene Two, Finale
Anne's ladies lament the fate of their mistress, who uneasily remembers happier days. She is brought to her senses by seeing Percy, Rochford, and Smeton, who admits his complicity in Anne's trial; by lying, he thought he was actually saving Anne's life. Her mind wanders again, but a cannon shot brings her back to reality. Forgiving Henry and Jane, his new queen, Anne ascends to the scaffold.