Sir Henry Lee

Sir Henry Lee

Portrait: Master of the Armouries and Queen’s Champion Dates from late 16th century | Anglo-Flemish | Object number: I.379

Helmet: Dates about 1585 | English, Greenwich | Object number: IV.43

Sir Henry Lee was Elizabeth I’s Champion in the 1580s and he arranged her famous Accession Day jousts. Lee was also Master of the Armouries at the Tower of London.

In 1592 Lee entertained Elizabeth I at a great tournament at Ditchley near Oxford. The event was commemorated by a great portrait of Elizabeth, now in the National Portrait Gallery, which depicts the Queen standing on a map of England with her feet on Oxfordshire.

Lee was Queen’s Champion and Master of the Armouries at the Tower of London. This helmet was made in the royal workshop at Greenwich under the master armourer, Jacob Halder. The design for the full armour can be seen in the ‘Almain Armourer’s Album’


  • The album contains armour design drawings for some of Queen Elizabeth I’s leading courtiers, advisors and military leaders including Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, Sir Henry Lee and Sir Christopher Hatton.

Did you know?

First commercial steel melting

Benjamin Huntsman of Sheffield is widely credited with the first commercial melting of steel in around 1740, using his crucible process. However, the melting of steel had long been practiced in central Asia and India and was known as Damascus steel.