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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

Robert Thorburn (1818-85)

Prince Albert (1819-1862) 1844

RCIN 421665

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Prince Albert's love of medieval armour was perhaps inherited from his father, Ernst I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1784–1844). The Duke had renovated Schloss Rosenau, where Albert spent his childhood summers, in the neo-Gothic style, and in 1817 held a 'medieval' tournament there to celebrate his wedding. He frequently wore armour to costume balls, and in 1837 sat for a portrait in the trappings of a Gothic knight.

Prince Albert himself posed in seventeenth-century North German armour (probably RCIN 72827) seven years later, for this watercolour miniature, which he gave to Queen Victoria on her 25th birthday. She was delighted, and wrote in her diary, 'My beloved Albert is painted in armour, which I so much wished… I cannot say how beautiful it is'. 

Produced during a period of intense interest in medievalism, the miniature contributed much to the idealised image of Albert as a chivalrous knight after his premature death in 1862.