Whatever you make of him, there’s no denying that Henry VIII is one of British history’s most famous kings. Known for his multiple marriages, fiery temper and lavish lifestyle, he had an intriguing personality that still fascinates people more than 450 years after his death. Ideal for little ones learning about the Tudors or medieval Britain, we’ve compiled some bite-size facts about the king and his favourite residence – Hampton Court Palace – as well as the stone beasts that guard the Moat Bridge.
A Tyrant or a Treasure?
Henry VIII had a huge influence on shaping the modern world we live in today but he also had an extremely brutal and barbaric side.
A Man with Many Wives
After his first marriage, which lasted for more than 20 years, Henry VIII married five more times in a little over ten years.
Off with Their Heads!
Henry VIII sent two of his wives, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, to be executed at the Tower of London.
The Original Heir
Henry VIII was second in line to the throne until his older brother, Arthur, died at a young age from a short illness.
‘A Golden Prince’
Henry VIII wrote music and poetry and threw himself into all the sports of the Tudor court in his youth, where he became known as ‘a golden prince’.
The King’s Favourite Residence
Henry VIII’s most famous residence, Hampton Court Palace, was a place of pleasure and celebration.
Dinner is Served
The vast kitchens at Hampton Court Palace served the Tudor court with hundreds of meals a day – Henry VIII certainly enjoyed his food!
The Musical Monarch
Henry VIII enjoyed having music at court, so much so he had more than 60 musicians on his payroll.
Permission to Leave
Only the king could excuse someone from court – his word was final.
A Ghostly Presence
Catherine Howard was executed at the Tower of London but it is said that her ghost roams the corridors of Hampton Court Palace, screaming for mercy.
Guardians of the Gate
Ten stone beasts line the Moat Bridge of Hampton Court Palace. They stand still and silent, symbolising Henry VIII’s right to rule.
A Union Carved in Stone
The Royal Beasts that sit on the parapets of the Moat Bridge represent Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour.
Henry’s Longed-for Heir
Jane Seymour gave Henry VIII a male heir, Prince Edward, but she died from complications not long after the birth.
The Leopard Becomes a Panther
The Seymour Panther was originally Anne Boleyn’s leopard … until she was executed on the king’s orders.
Beasts Bearing Arms
Henry VIII’s stone beasts hold shields bearing Coats of Arms that were used in combat during the medieval period.
THE ROYAL TUDOR BEASTS
© Historic Royal Palaces 2021 Produced under licence from Historic Royal Palaces Enterprises Limited