Skip main navigation

Wrapping up: The Tudors

We’ve seen how the Tudors used fashion to set themselves apart from and control their subjects
5.4
SALLY (VOICEOVER): Henry VIII was called the best dressed sovereign in the world. And Elizabeth I, equally image conscious, was once described as being like starlight, thick with jewels. We’ve seen how they used fashion to set themselves apart from and control their subjects and seen how portraiture shows just how aware they were of the importance of appearances. The Tudors clearly knew the power and meaning of dress, using it as a tool to assert their legitimacy and right to the throne. But what about their successors? Did the Stuarts of the 17th century follow suit?

Henry VIII (1509-47) was called ‘the best dressed sovereign in the world’ and Elizabeth I (1558-1603), equally image-conscious, was once described as being like ‘starlight, thick with jewels’.

We’ve seen how they used fashion to set themselves apart from and control their subjects, and how portraiture shows just how aware they were of the importance of appearances.

These outfits were also meant to be seen at court and this video shows what outfits of the 1530s and 1540s might have looked like in the magnificence of the Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace.

The Tudors clearly knew the power and meaning of dress, using it as a tool to assert their legitimacy and right to the throne. But what about their successors? Did the Stuarts of the 17th century follow suit?

Join us next week to see how the Stuarts used clothing as a tool for propaganda and performance and to find out how individual monarchs influenced wider fashion trends.

  • What has been the highlight for you this week?
  • Are there any questions you still have about Tudor royal fashion?
This article is from the free online

A History of Royal Fashion

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education