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Henry VIII at Windsor Castle

This drawing shows Windsor Castle as it looked around twenty years after Henry's death. Although the landscape in the foreground is imaginary, the representation of the Castle is accurate, and may be based on sketches taken by Hoefnagel when he visited En

Windsor Castle seen from the North with figures in the foreground ©

Windsor Castle was one of Henry’s most important residences. The principal entrance is the archway bearing his name, which was reconstructed around 1511. This is the gateway through which visitors exit the Castle. The King was frequently at Windsor, and enjoyed hunting in the surrounding forests. His first wife, Katherine of Aragon, was confined to Windsor while her husband was involved in negotiations that would lead to their divorce. Henry’s illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, also lived here for a time: Fitzroy’s friend, the Earl of Surrey, would later remember the Castle as ‘proude Windsor’.

Windsor is the home of the Order of the Garter, which is based at St George’s Chapel. Henry had been made a Knight of the Garter by his father around 1495, but as monarch he became head of the Order and appointed a number of his courtiers as Knights of the Garter, among them Henry Guildford and William Fitzwilliam, both of whom were portrayed by Holbein wearing their Garter collars. A sumptuous register of the Order, the Black Book of the Garter, shows Henry enthroned and surrounded by the Garter Knights.

St George’s Chapel was completed during Henry’s reign and it was there that Henry chose to be buried, with his favourite wife, Jane Seymour. Although the magnificent tomb he envisaged was never completed, a ledger stone in the Quire marks the site of his burial.

After Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

The Quire of St George's Chapel, looking west

After Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

St George's Chapel

Henry VIII, King of England (1491-1547)

The Suffolk Garter Book