The Tudors’ TV costumes share centre stage with Henry VIII’s armour - Tuesday, 13 September 2011
A selection of the stunning costumes worn in the Emmy Award-winning television series The Tudors now take pride of place next to King Henry VIII’s world-famous armours at the Royal Armouries, Leeds, from today (September 12).
The eight costumes are being showcased until November 30 in the fitting setting of the Clarence Dock museum’s Tournament Gallery – permanent home to Henry VIII’s famous “horned helmet” and his spectacular foot combat armours.
The costumes’ loan has been made possible by the generous support of costume designer Joan Bergin, plus the creator and writer of The Tudors Michael Hirst and the Mary Rose Trust in Portsmouth – the only previous exhibitors of the costumes in the UK.
To film the series, about 500 costumes were made and countless others rented and modified. The degree of skill employed can be seen in the costumes’ every detail – from fabric to braid to button. The show netted costume designer Joan Bergin the 2010 Emmy for Outstanding Costume for a Series, along with wardrobe supervisor Susan Cave.
In an interview with the LA Times, Bergin described The Tudors’ costumes as authenticity with a twist. She wanted viewers to say, “Look how sexy and foxy,” – rather than, “Oh! Who would wear that?” Balenciaga corsets and the Degas ballerinas were her inspiration.
The Royal Armouries Creative Director Peter Armstrong said,
“The Tudors are possibly the most flamboyant and well known of the Royal Houses and are popular with all ages, particularly children, who are always captivated by the romance, treachery and sheer audacity of Henry VIII and the stories of his ill-fated wives. Where better to stage these costumes than alongside Henry’s famous horned helmet, which has its permanent home at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds?”
The eight costumes were worn by a star-studded cast in The Tudors, as follows:
- King Henry VIII, played by Jonathan Rhys-Myers, during the Siege of Boulogne.
- Katherine of Aragon, played by Maria Doyle Kennedy, during the opening episode.
- Anne Boleyn, played by Natalie Dormer, as she was beheaded at the Tower of London.
- Jane Seymour, played by Annabelle Wallis, during the opening titles of Series Three.
- Anne of Cleves, played by Joss Stone, as she met her husband, the King, for the first time.
- Catherine Howard, played by Tamzin Merchant, during a service of thanksgiving.
- Catherine Parr, played by Joely Richardson, when questioned on charges of heresy.
- Princess Elizabeth (later crowned Queen Elizabeth I), played by Claire MacCauley, during the christening of her half-brother, Prince Edward, and her introduction to Anne of Cleves.
The costumes are exhibited on the balcony of the Tournament Gallery. Museum admission is free.
For more information and the latest news about the Royal Armouries:
Notes to editors
- Royal Armouries is the national museum of arms and armour and has sites in Leeds, HM Tower of London, Fort Nelson and Louisville, Kentucky. It is the first British national museum to open a permanent presence in another country
- Admission to the museum is free. However, there may be a small charge for some special events.
- Open all year daily, 10am-5pm. Closed 24-25 December
- Information Line: 0113 220 1999
- Website: www.royalarmouries.org
- The Royal Armouries Museum should not be confused with Royal Armouries International plc, the private sector corporate hospitality business.