How jousting made a man of Henry VIII

Research suggests Henry VIII was angry, impulsive and even rendered impotent by a brain injury suffered while jousting. Here, Emma Levitt explores Henry's love of jousting and reveals how, denied the opportunity to prove his worth on the battlefield, Henry VIII chose to display his masculinity in the tiltyard, bedecked in shining armour and with lance in hand...

Henry VIII jousting

This article was first published in the August 2015 issue of BBC History Magazine 

“The king hath promised never to joust again except it be with as good a man as himself.” So stated an angry Henry VIII on 20 May 1516, following a tournament held in honour of his sister Margaret, Queen of Scots. Jousting was the king’s favourite sport, but the day had proved disastrous. As always, Henry was captain of the Challengers, the team comprising the jousting elite of the Tudor court: Sir Nicholas Carew; Henry Bourchier, Earl of Essex; and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.

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