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In order to pursue his ambitions in France, Henry VIII formed an alliance with the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I. This painting records their meeting and the main events pertaining to Henry’s first campaign against the French in 1513.

The composit

An introduction to European armour in the Royal Collection

Jacob Halder (active 1576-1608)

Armour garniture of Henry, future Prince of Wales, for the field, tourney, tilt and barriers about 1608

RCIN 72831

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Henry, Prince of Wales (1594–1612) is known to have particularly enjoyed military sport. It was said that he would often 'run at the ring and sometimes at tilt, both which he performed with so much dexterity and skill, that he became second to no Prince in Christendom, and superior to most of those persons, who practised with him'. 

He held his first formal barriers (foot combats) at the Banqueting House at Whitehall on Twelfth Night 1610. At the event, the Prince would have worn parts of this armour: the field helmet, the gorget (neck defence), the cuirass (torso defence) and complete arm-defences. Other pieces could be added or substituted for use in the field, tourney or tilt.

The decoration of the breastplate includes the Prince's ‘HP’ monogram, as well as fleurs-de-lis, Tudor roses and thistles.