Tower of London's Line of Kings continues 400-year-old narrative

tags: Guardian (UK), William the Conqueror, Tower of London, White Tower



William the Conqueror has been deposed, along with Edward III and Henry V, and Elizabeth I has kept her head but lost her horse, but the survivors of one of the oldest tourist attractions in the world, suited and booted in shining armour, their horses pawing the ground and tossing their wooden manes, are almost ready to ride out again.

On Wednesday visitors to the White Tower, the oldest part of the Tower of London, will see the latest version of a display almost 400 years old, extolled in countless guide books, maps, journals and letters. In 1652 a Dutch diplomat, Lodewijck Huygens, wrote that he had been to see "wooden horses with armed men on them" – and the tall tales were also already in place, since he was shown not only the genuine armour of Henry VIII, but that of John of Gaunt, "a renowned warrior of a few hundred years ago".

"It was the one sight any visitor to London worth his salt had to see," said Thom Richardson, curator of armour at the Royal Armouries, which runs the White Tower within the Historic Royal Palaces Tower of London site....




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