Young Henry VIII Exhibition


  • Open daily

Ticketing information

Included in palace admission (members go free) Buy Hampton Court Palace tickets

Fat, tyrannical, vicious, and married six times: this is what immediately comes to mind when many people think of Henry VIII. However, this is not the story you will hear in this permanent exhibition.

Discover a different side to Henry VIII

Explore the story of the young King who, as a vibrant and handsome man, excelled at all he attempted, whether it was charming European ambassadors, flirting on the dance floor or beating rivals on the sports field.

This story is told through the personal accounts of three of its lead characters: Katherine of Aragon, Thomas Wolsey and 'the lusty and courageous Prince', young Henry himself. 

Historic paintings from the Royal Collection, including The Field of the Cloth of Gold and The Battle of the Spurs, will help you discover the real story of this infamous monarch.

Explore the Wolsey Suite

The story of young Henry VIII is told at Hampton Court Palace in the Wolsey Suite, which was built by Thomas Wolsey in the 1520s for his own use. It was probably in these rooms that Wolsey negotiated state business.

The rooms are a mixture of formal reception rooms, with painted and gilded ceilings, and smaller more private spaces.

After Wolsey's fall from power, the Wolsey Suite was enlarged and redecorated to provide lodgings for Princess Mary (later Mary I). They may also have been used by Katherine Parr, Henry's last wife.

Please note: due to the nature of items on display, and the size of the exhibition spaces, we limit visitor numbers in the Young Henry VIII route. Larger groups will be asked to divide into smaller parties and admission may be staggered at the discretion of staff. This is to avoid congestion during peak times to ensure the enjoyment of all visitors. We thank you for your understanding.

Katherine of Aragon and Henry

Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon were married for almost 24 years. Even before this, they had known each other for almost a decade and Henry’s decision to marry her was one of his first acts as king in 1509.

Thomas Wolsey and Henry

Thomas Wolsey's remarkable promotion to Henry’s chief minister, and cardinal, was achieved through hard work, political brilliance and, most importantly, getting things done for the King.

Wolsey was the perfect foil for the young Henry VIII. Henry was impatient and in a rush; Wolsey was diligent, painstaking and comprehensive.

The Young Henry exhibition on display in the Wolsey Suite. Showing two wooden thrones chronicling the story of the early life of King Henry VIII and painted quotations on the walls of the room.

A History of Royal Fashion

Free online course

Want to take a peek into the wardrobes of the kings and queens of the past?

With exclusive access to the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection, this free online course from Historic Royal Palaces & the University of Glasgow explores clothing from the Tudors to the Windsors.

Sign up on FutureLearn
The Great Hall, looking east.
The hall was constructed by King Henry VIII to replace a smaller and older hall on the same site. It had two functions. First to provide a great communal dining room where 600 members of the court could eat in two sittings, twice a day. And secondly, to provide a magnificent entrance to the state apartments that lay beyond.
Highlights Things to see

Experience the splendour of the Tudor court in Henry VIII's Great Hall, complete with his magnificent tapestries.

Open daily

Hampton Court Palace

The Haunted Gallery at Hampton Court, looking west.
Things to see

Walk Henry VIII’s route from his private apartments to the Chapel and see the infamous Haunted Gallery in the State Apartments.

Open daily

Hampton Court Palace

Female visitor in the Palace shop surrounded by merchandise, carrying a Hampton Court Palace shopping bag.
Events Member only

Enjoy a mince pie and mulled wine while you shop, and get your book signed by Lucy Worsley, our Joint Chief Curator.

27 November 2018

Hampton Court Palace


Henry VIII knight in shining armour hanging decoration. Handmade using traditional techniques this luxury hanging decoration features Henry VIII in his arms and armour

Henry VIII knight in shining armour hanging decoration

Take home your very own knight in shining armour with this Henry VIII hanging decoration.


Henry VIII gauntlet armour oven glove made from Cotton twill with polyester thermal

Henry VIII gauntlet armour oven glove

This fun oven glove has been inspired by a suit of armour made for Henry VIII in 1540, which is on display at the Tower of London.


Tudor Rose tree decoration -  the national flower of England is the rose which was adopted as England's emblem during the time of the Wars of the Roses

Tudor Rose tree decoration

This stunning Tudor rose decoration is double-sided and is beautifully handmade using metal and silk threads on a satin background with a foam filling.