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.
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.
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.
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'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.
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
Hold the stories of Hampton Court Palace in your hands and experience history where it happened with an audio guide tour.
Hampton Court Palace
Included in palace admission (members go free)
Cuddle up with one of England's most iconic monarchs with our exclusive and super soft Henry VIII teddy bear. Henry VIII was the second king during the Tudor dynasty and is one of the most recognisable monarchs in history.