DESCRIPTION OF HENRY VIII

On St. George's day 1515, when he gave audience to a Venetian Diplomat named Pasqualigo


Henry is at his palace at Richmond on the bank of the Thames, and a barge covered in silks and tapestry has been sent for Pasqualigo and his entourage.

'This vessel conveyed us to the said palace of Richmond, where they led us into a sort of hall, and though it was before mass, they made us breakfast, for fear we should faint; after which we were conducted to the presence, through sundry chambers all hung with most beautiful tapestry, figured in gold and silver, and in silk, passing down the ranks of the body-guard, which consists of three hundred halberdiers in silver breast-plates and pikes in their hands; and, by God, they were all as big as giants . . . We at length reached the King, who was under a canopy of cloth of gold, embroidered in Florence, the most costly thing I have ever witnessed. He was leaning against his gilt throne, on which there was a large gold brocade cushion, where the long gold sword of state lay. He wore a cap of crimson velvet, in the French fashion, and the brim was looped up all around with lacets, which had gold enamelled tags. His doublet was in the Swiss fashion, striped alternately with white and crimson satin, and his hose were scarlet and slashed from the knee upwards. Very close round his neck he had a gold collar, from which there hung a round cut diamond, the size of the largest walnut I ever saw, and to this was suspended a most beautiful and very large round pearl. His mantle was of purple velvet, lined with white satin, the sleeves being open, and with a train verily more than four Venetian yards in length.

This mantle was girt in front like a gown, with a thick gold cord, from which there hung large glands entirely of gold, like those suspended from the Cardinals' hats; over his mantle was a very handsome gold collar, with a pendant St George, entirely of diamonds. On his left shoulder was the garter, which is a cincture buckled circular-wise, and bearing in its centre a cross gules on a field argent; and on his right shoulder was a hood, with a border entirely of crimson velvet. Beneath the mantle he had a pouch of cloth of gold, which covered a dagger and his fingers were one mass of jeweled rings.'

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