HENRY VIII: Celebrating 500 years of infamy

With this year marking the 500th anniversary of the coronation of England’s most infamous monarch, why not spend some time getting to know the life and loves of the tyrannical Henry?

Marvel at his military prowess, take a stroll around his Palace, help celebrate his wedding to sixth wife Catherine Parr, or even watch a Tudor river pageant as London goes Henry-mad with a whole host of great events and exhibitions being staged across the capital.

3 Apr-17 Jan 2010
Tower of London
With his lust for weapons and sport, in his youth Henry was famed as a hero of the joust and a fine warrior. Encompassing all three floors of the iconic White Tower, Dressed to Kill will bring together the largest number of spectacular objects belonging to the King seen since the reign of Elizabeth I, showing Henry’s majesty, wealth and warrior psychology. Highlights selected from the treasures of the Royal Armouries and international collections include gifts from the Emperor Maximilian, and the oldest known football in the world.
Booking Line: 0844 482 7799

20-21 June
In association with Thames Alive, this two day spectacular will see King Henry VIII and Queen Catherine of Aragon sail from the Tower of London right through the heart of the city to Hampton Court Palace, accompanied by up to forty traditional oared craft, in a recreation of a typical Tudor river pageant. Loyal subjects are invited to line the banks of the river to cheer the King and his court as they pass, or head down to Hampton Court, where the couple will be greeted with music, dancing, and a picnic, with the palace remaining open until 10pm. The following day, Hampton Court plays host to a river games and other court activities, before their majesties embark upon their return journeys late afternoon.

10 Apr-3 Aug
Hampton Court Palace
Join in the celebrations of Henry’s wedding to his sixth wife, Catherine Parr, live at Hampton Court. Hear the latest royal gossip regarding the match, learn what the best dressed people of 1543 wore and try on a Tudor gown in this unique daily experience. You can also find out more about Henry’s wives and daughters at the new ‘Henry’s Women’ exhibition, featuring surprising and unusual portraits of each of Henry’s wives alongside some of their personal objects, brought together for the first time. On display will be items ranging from a lock of Catherine Parr’s hair to a music book written for Anne Boleyn by one of her alleged lovers. What’s more, the exhibition will be held in Henry VIII’s Council Chamber, which will be made open to the public for the occasion.
Booking line: 0844 482 7799

23 Apr- 6 Sept 2009
The British Library
This visually stunning exhibition, curated by renowned historian and broadcaster Dr David Starkey, features important and rarely displayed items from the British Library’s unrivalled Henry VIII collection, including books, manuscripts and correspondence, among which are Henry’s own prayer book, Anne Boleyn’s Book of Hours and his marriage contract to Catherine of Aragon. Alongside these treasures are displays of tapestry, portraiture, jewellery and sculpture to offer a fresh insight into Henry VIII’s way of thinking and the huge changes that took place during his reign.
Price: Adults £9 (concessions £7 / £5)
Tel: 01937 546 546