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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

4. Knightly Honour

The tradition of portraying monarchs and other noblemen in medieval armour began in the seventeenth century as a means of indicating chivalry and honour. Valiant knights of courtly literature – and militarily successful monarchs, such as Edward III (1312–77) and Henry V (1388–1422) – were considered heroic examples to emulate, both visually and in the field. 

The most intense interest in medieval knights and their armour emerged in the early nineteenth century. Victorian handbooks of gentlemanly behaviour and novels like Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe (1819) summoned an idealised notion of the 'knight in shining armour' as a standard for conduct. As a result, there developed an aristocratic fashion for neo-Gothic castles with armouries and for collecting armour in the Gothic style.  Paintings and sculpture of this period frequently incorporated such armour to evoke a sense of medieval romanticism.