Mobile menu
Our sites are currently closed, but you can browse the Collection or shop online. More info
The Prince of Wales and his entourage on camels posing for camera in front of Pyramid of Cheops and Pyramid of Cephrenes, Giza, Cairo. The Prince is seated on the camel fifth from the left. The man in the white suit with a cigar, gazing up at the Prince,

Modes of travel and travelling accessories used by monarchs past and present

Attributed to Pieter Coeck van Aelst (1502-50)

The Story of Abraham Series 1540-43

RCIN 1046

King's Great Bedchamber, Hampton Court Palace

Your share link is...

  Close

Until the seventeenth century, monarchs transported lavish tapestries with them when they travelled. Easily rolled up and transported between residences, these furnishings brought colour and grandeur to courtly interiors, signalling the presence of the sovereign. When Henry VIII (1491–1547) travelled to Calais to meet Francis I of France (1494–1547) in 1520, he stayed in a temporary palace hung with tapestries and velvets. This tapestry series, commissioned by the King around 1540, was frequently transported and displayed within England to mark important occasions across the country. Henry VIII and his successors used the panels for events such as the solemnisation of peace with Spain in December 1530, the celebration of St George's Feast in April 1635, and the receptions of the Moroccan and Spanish ambassadors in 1637 and 1649 respectively. Pieces from the set were also hung in Westminster Abbey for the coronations of Charles II and James II. These were a portable means of asserting the Crown's magnificence and continuity as the court travelled for official engagements.