Saturday, May 23, 2009

Question from Stephanie - Henry VIII's throne, etc.

Does anyone know which throne Henry actually sat on? (And if it still exists) I am also confused about where he actually lived the most, I am assuming it's Hampton but if I'm wrong I'd love to know.

Also- Does anyone know details about the None Such Palace? I'd love to know what personal belongings of his still exist.



PhD Historian said...

Kings and queens of England (and Great Britain) do not have one "throne," but instead have many. There is usually a "chair of estate," which is the more correct name for the monarch's seat, in the official audience chamber of each of the palaces frequented by the monarch.

The coronation ceremony uses the Coronation Chair, also known as St Edward's Chair, in Westminster Abbey. Henry VIII certainly sat in that chair/throne at least once.

But he would also have had a chair of estate (or "throne") at Richmond Palace, Greenwich Palace, Whitehall Palace, Nonsuch Palace, St James's Palace, and each of the other palaces and houses that he frequented. I am not aware that any of those chairs/thrones have survived unchanged, however. Most were usually altered (reupholstered with new insignia) when a new monarch assumed the crown.

There was also a chair of estate or throne in Parliament in the Tudor period. When the Houses of Parliament (i.e., the Palace of Westminster) was rebuilt after a fire in the 19th century, an elaborate throne was constructed in the Lord's Chamber, though obviously Henry VIII never sat there.

Much as I dislike Wikipedia, it does have a pretty good article on Nonsuch Palace, so you might look there for details on it. The palace did not survive long, so not a lot is known about it.

Steph said...

It just seems odd that for such a large palace so little of it is left. Right?

PhD Historian said...

Not really. The building materials were very valuable, so after the palace fell out of use, the pieces were no doubt sold off or stolen for use in other places. It was (and still is) common practice. We know where a handful of the pieces are today, but most went on to other anonymous uses.

Liz said...

There is also some more information at the British Local History site, including an interesting little aside about Henry VIII's sanitation concerns. The article is user submitted and poorly formatted, but does have some additional information.