The Tudor Society

18 January 1510 – Henry VIII dresses up

Douglas Fairbanks as Robin Hood

Douglas Fairbanks as Robin Hood - I wonder if Henry looked as good.

On 18th January 1510, Henry VIII and twelve of his men disguised themselves as outlaws, or Robin Hood and his merry men, and surprised Queen Catherine and her ladies. Chronicler Edward Hall records this event:

"The kyng sone after, came to Westminster with the Quene, and all their train: And on a tyme beyng there, his grace therles of Essex, Wilshire, and other noble menne, to the nombre, of twelue, came sodainly in a mornyng, into the Quens Chambre, all appareled in shorte cotes, of Kentishe Kendal, with hodes on their heddes, and hosen of thesame, euery one of them, his bowe and arrowes, and a sworde and a bucklar, like out lawes, or Robyn Hodes men, whereof the Quene, the Ladies, and al other there, were abashed, aswell for the straunge sight, as also for their sodain commyng, and after certain daunces, and pastime made, thei departed."

It sounds like it was quite a surprise for Catherine and her ladies, but one that was fun and which was followed by dancing and entertainment. I'd certainly be impressed if my husband swept into the house with friends all dressed as Robin Hood and his men, and then whisked me off my feet. Wouldn't you?

Henry VIII enjoyed this chivalric tradition of disguising, but, as members will know from my recent Claire Chats video on Anne of Cleves, it didn't go so well when he disguised himself to surprise his future bride Anne of Cleves in January 1540. That was a humiliating disaster for the king. Oh dear.

Notes and Sources

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