Henry VIII (E 344/22)
Henry VIII (E 344/22)

This session examines how Henry VIII used symbols and images to display royal power. Students examine an extract from Henry VIII's entertainment book detailing preparations for a jousting competition, to discover key symbols used during his reign. They are encouraged to read Tudor handwriting and to consider what these symbols meant to people in sixteenth-century England.

Students then examine further documents from Henry VIII's government, including an illuminated portrait of Henry VIII as a young king, his Great Seal and a beautifully-illustrated page from Valor Ecclesiasticus. Students develop their observation and analysis skills by searching for symbols within these documents and discussing how they are used. They also consider how Henry VIII is depicted and how this reinforced the message that he was a great monarch.

To conclude the session, students discuss which document most effectively portrayed Henry VIII as a great king. They reflect on what they have learnt about the use of symbols and images in Tudor times, and have the opportunity to ask the Education Officer questions about The National Archives and its collection.

Session options

This session can be delivered as a

  • Workshop
  • Videoconference
  • Virtual classroom

Available: All year

Cost: Free

Duration: 2 hours as a workshop or 1 hour as a videoconference or virtual classroom

Age: Years 4-6

Download the resource pack for this session as a PDF (12.83Mb)