Royal Armouries

Henry Stuart, Prince of Wales in the Line of Kings

Images

colour photo of Prince Henry Stuart's full-length armour with decorated banding

Armour of Henry, Prince of Wales. Dutch, about 1607 (II.88)

  • colour photo of Prince Henry Stuart's full-length armour with decorated banding

    Armour of Henry, Prince of Wales. Dutch, about 1607 (II.88)

  • colour photo of Charles I's gilt full-length armour

    Gilt armour of King Charles I, made for Henry, Prince of Wales. Dutch, about 1612 (II.91)

  • colour photo of Charles I's gilt armour helmet

    Detail of helmet of Gilt armour of King Charles I, made for Henry, Prince of Wales. Dutch, about 1612 (II.91)

  • colour photo of the rear of Charles I's gilt armour helmet

    Detail of helmet of Gilt armour of King Charles I, made for Henry, Prince of Wales. Dutch, about 1612 (II.91)

  • colour photo of Prince Henry Stuart's full-length armour with decorated banding

    Armour of Henry, Prince of Wales. Dutch, about 1607 (II.88)

  • colour photo of engraved decoration on Prince Henry Stuart's armour

    Detail of decoration on armour of Henry, Prince of Wales. Dutch, about 1607 (II.88)

  • colour photo of engraved decoration on Prince Henry Stuart's armour helmet

    Detail of decoration on armour of Henry, Prince of Wales, Dutch, about 1607 (II.88)

  • colour photo of engraved decoration on Prince Henry Stuart's armour

    Detail of decoration on armour of Henry, Prince of Wales, Dutch. Dutch, about 1607 (II.88)

  • colour photo of a full-length armour with decorated banding

    Armour used for the figure of George II in the Line of Kings 1768 -1826. English, Greenwich, about 1560 (II.82)

  • monochrome newspaper illustration of an armoured figure on horseback

    Figure of King Charles I in the Horse Armoury, The Penny Magazine, 1840

  • monochrome newspaper illustration of an armoured figure on horseback

    Figure of King Edward VI in the Horse Armoury, The Penny Magazine, 1840

  • monochrome newspaper illustration of an armoured figure on horseback

    Figure of King James I in the Horse Armoury, The Penny Magazine, 1840

  • monochrome newspaper illustration of a line of mounted armoured figures

    ‘Interior of the Horse Armoury’, anon engraving, The Penny Magazine, 1836 © Royal Armouries 2013

  • monochrome photo of an armoured figure mounted on a life-size wooden horse

    The figure of Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, photograph about 1870 © Private collection 2013

Boy’s armour

Boy’s armour probably made for Henry, Prince of Wales.

Object Provenance: Dutch, about 1608
Object Number: II.88

Gilt armour

Field armour of King Charles I (known as the Gilt armour). Possibly made by Charles Dartene. Originally ordered for Henry Prince of Wales but subsequently worn by King Charles I.

Object Provenance: Dutch about 1612-13
Object Number: II.91

Henry Stuart, Prince of Wales in the Line of Kings

Description

One of history’s many ‘what if’s’ surrounds the life and death of the young Henry Stuart. Eldest son of James I of England (VI of Scotland) Prince Henry was heir to the throne and idolised by many as a warrior Protestant prince. However Henry’s premature death at the age of 18 left his brother Charles in line for the throne. King Charles I’s reign saw the bloody Civil Wars which ended with his execution at the hands of the Parliamentarians.

In 1661 after the end of the Commonwealth and at the start of the Restoration, Prince Henry was still remembered. Dutch visitor William Schellink was told that the Tower had an armour belonging to Prince Henry and saw a weapon given to Prince Henry from the King of Spain.

However, it seems this recognition did not last. About hundred years later in 1768 – when the Stuart dynasty had ended and the Hanoverians were on the throne – Henry, Prince of Wales did not have a place in the Tower’s Line of Kings. That is to say, he did not have a named place, although two of his armours were used, but not for figures of Henry. His distinctive steel and gilt boy’s armour was used for the representation of Edward VI, the ‘first Protestant prince’. The distinctive engravings on the armour were described as ‘a vast variety of scripture histories, alluding to battles & other memorable passages’. In addition to this, the ‘Gilt armour’ that was originally made for Prince Henry but had been adapted for his brother after his death was worn by a representation of Charles I. This armour had effectively been owned by both Henry and Charles, but was now only attributed to the younger brother who became King.

Appeasement for Prince Henry came in the nineteenth century with the re-display by Dr Meyrick, who restored Henry, Prince of Wales to the Line of Kings. At this time nobles and royal favourites were also introduced to the Line of Kings, but Prince Henry was the only prince in line to the throne in the Line: a demi-king in title and stature. The description of his armour in the 1827 guidebook was also improved, removing the religious connotations and simply describing ‘subjects relating to battles, sieges, the burning of cities &c.’. We now know that the engravings depict scenes from the life of Alexander the Great.

Today, Henry, Prince of Wales’s richly decorated armour stands in current the Line of Kings at the Tower. He has also been remembered outside the Tower, enjoying the starring role in an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, The Lost Prince, in 2012.

Boy’s armour

Boy’s armour probably made for Henry, Prince of Wales.

Object Provenance: Dutch, about 1608
Object Number: II.88

Gilt armour

Field armour of King Charles I (known as the Gilt armour). Possibly made by Charles Dartene. Originally ordered for Henry Prince of Wales but subsequently worn by King Charles I.

Object Provenance: Dutch about 1612-13
Object Number: II.91

Related Objects

Armour for a Boy, probably Prince Henry Stuart Click on the title link above to find out more.

Dates from 1608 | Object number: II.88

Gilt armour of King Charles I, made for Henry Prince of Wales Click on the title link above to find out more.

Dates from 1612 | Object number: II.91, VI.60, VI.119–20

Howard: patron of arts and antiquities Click on the title link above to find out more.

Edward VI in the Line of Kings Click on the title link above to find out more.

James I in the Line of Kings Click on the title link above to find out more.

Charles I in the Line of Kings Click on the title link above to find out more.

Samuel Meyrick and the Rearrangement of the Horse Armoury, about 1824-1827 Click on the title link above to find out more.

William Schellinks at the Tower in 1661 Click on the title link above to find out more.

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