What is the ‘Line of Kings’?
Did you know that visitors have paid to look at objects in the Tower of London for many hundreds of years?
Visitors enjoyed seeing the storerooms of arms and armour but the Line of Kings was one of the first displays made specially for visitors.
This display of figures in armour was first put together over 350 years ago to celebrate some of England’s greatest kings.
Nineteen life-sized wooden horses were carved for this display in the 1680s. Many can still be seen on display in the White Tower today.
What could you see in the Line of Kings?
The main attraction was a line of royal figures wearing suits of armour and sitting on wooden horses.
Some of these armours had really belonged to Kings of England, such Henry VIII and Charles I; others hadn’t!
‘Curiosities’ were also displayed. These were chosen because they were interesting or unusual, like the ‘dragon saddle’ or a Japanese armour. Some objects had amazing stories connected with them – but these weren’t all true.
Who came to see the Line of Kings?
Most of the visitors were rich or important people. They could afford the price to get in or were brought as guests.
In the past the number of visitors was much, much less than it is now. But like today, visitors came not only from Britain but other countries too. Small groups of visitors were shown around by a guide – they couldn’t look around by themselves.
Find out more about the Line of Kings display >