Life of a Tudor King

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By Jane Bowerconsultant to primary schools in art, drama, dance and literacy

Organise a banquet fit for a king and devise a week of leisure activities for Henry VIII

Henry VIII

The aim of these lessons is to give children an understanding of the leisure activities and interests of Henry VIII; an appreciation of how much work went into the planning of such events; and how many people were involved so that it all ran smoothly. It was essential to please the king, or severe punishment could follow! Discussion and teamwork are key elements of the following two activities. Children will need to have some background information about the king, or do their own research beforehand, in order to plan the activities.

Ages 7-9

A right royal feast!

Learning objective: to understand the style and range of food and entertainment at a royal Tudor banquet.

You will need: books and information on Tudor food and entertainment; writing and painting equipment; recordings of Tudor music (see ICT link, below); musical instruments.

  • Divide the class into four groups.
  • Group 1 is responsible for the menu. After finding out about food served at Tudor banquets, they should plan each course and then design, write (perhaps with a quill pen) and paint a decorative menu for the king.
  • Group 2 should either write a play for the occasion, or rehearse an existing play for performance. This could be based on a well-known story such as St George and the Dragon, or a section of a Shakespeare play.
  • Group 3 can devise and practise a dance to Tudor music. They should remember the restrictive clothing and the large banquet, which meant that dance steps were usually upright and stately.
  • Group 4 is in charge of providing music for the king, either by performing an existing song with instruments, writing their own song or playing a suitable recorder piece.
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