Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Royal Hats: Henry VIII

Henry VIII ruled only 30 years after Edward IV[1], but let's see if his hats look different.

Henry was a very fashionable man[3]. Here he is wearing a what I assume to be a black velvet hat, with several embroidered decorations and a white feather plume. He wears hats similar to this in many of his portraits, suggesting that this was a style he liked.

This early, possibly earliest, portrait shows a different hat, one more like the one we saw Edward IV wearing yesterday. Henry also has much longer hair, again more in the 15th century style.

This helmet was part of a set of parade armour given to Henry VIII by the Emperor Maximilian I. Clearly not to be actually used, this would have been armour as fashion. In his youth Henry was a keen jouster and had several sets of armour. Helmets for use became full head closed helm designs during Henry's regin, as opposed to the sallet we saw yesterday.

More royal hats, probably from the 17th century, tomorrow.

[1] Edward IV was briefly succeeded by his son Edward V, but the discovery of his illegitimacy led him to be deposed and shut away in the tower of London. His uncle, Edward IV's brother, Richard III became king. Richard was famously defeated and killed at the battle of Bosworth Field[2]. Henry Tudor became king as Henry VII and in time his son Henry VIII succeeded him. I hope we're all up to date now.
[2] This decided, but did not end, the Wars of the Roses. Yorkist claimants of various seriousness made appearances for the next 15 years. Fears of a Yorkist revival in the event of a disputed succession was one of Henry VIII's motives in his attempts to produce a male heir.
[3] Although as heir to the throne and later an absolute monarch[4], he was as much a fashion setter as fashion follower.
[4] Whether Henry VIII was absolutely an absolute monarch or whether the customs and traditional rights bound him to a degree that made his monarchy non-absolute, I leave to the political historians. His monarchy was pretty close to absolute by modern standards though.
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