Henry VIII’s grotesque Horned Helmet might sound uncannily like a saucy euphemism for the royal fat bastard’s wing-wang but it is, unsurprisingly, a rather fitting description for a genuine piece of kingly armor presented to HRH by Maximilian I, the Holy Roman Emperor in 1514.
This grotesque yet intricately crafted helmet was given as a present after ye olde King Henry had assisted Maximilian in holding back/defeating the French at the Battle of Spurs in 1513. The helmet was designed by Konrad Seusenhofer, the Austrian armorer who worked for the Emperor. It was made from copper alloy and was originally gilded. The helmet is all that remains of the original suit of armor gifted by Maximillian—the rest of the suit is believed to have been recycled or rather thrown out as scrap metal.
Henry’s Horned Helmet features a beautifully crafted face of a rather ugly fool complete with a set of spectacles. The face is finely detailed with crow’s feet around the eyes, stubble, eyebrows, a sniveling drip of snot drooping from the nose, and a ghastly set of tombstone teeth. The helmet is believed to be a likeness of Henry’s favorite court jester Will Sommers who faithfully served the king throughout his life and was said to be the only man who could raise a smile on the old bloated king when he was ill and near death. The helmet also has a pair of ram’s horns which are thought to have been added by Henry which may suggest a cuckold or possibly the Devil. The Horned Helmet was mainly worn in royal parades rather than battle, though its bizarre design would have probably put the wind up any enemy soldiers.
See more of King Henry VIII’s Horned Helmet, after the jump…