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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

2. Power Dressing

As well as a protective covering, armour has throughout history been a powerful emblem of personal identity. With other military attributes like the sword and commander's baton, it offered a symbolic inventory for the performance of social status. Hierarchies, religious allegiance and power might be asserted by armour's expense, its decoration with particular insignia or the martial skill it implied. 

For this reason, in the sixteenth century it became increasingly common for artists on the Continent to represent monarchs and military leaders wearing armour – either standing, or mounted on horseback in the tradition of Roman equestrian sculpture. In England, the fashion for monarchs to be painted in armour became widespread in the early seventeenth century, when the Stuart Kings embraced this mode of self-representation.

Juan Pantoja de la Cruz (c. 1553-1608)

Philip III, King of Spain (1578-1621)

Paul van Somer (c. 1576-1621)

James VI & I (1566-1625)

Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641)

Charles I (1600-1649) with M. de St Antoine

Grinling Gibbons (1648-1721)

Charles II, 1630-1685

Emil Wolff (1802-79)

Prince Albert

Queen Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom (1819-1901)

Bertie