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1758, 21 Dec 17

Christmas Fit for a King

It’s good to be the king.

Henry VIII spent almost an entire year’s tax revenue celebrating Christmas in the first year of his reign, National Archive files reveal.

Expenses for 1509 show the 19-year-old king spent the equivalent of £13.5m on a series of lavish events. Total revenue for the year was £16.5m.

The money went on food, entertainment and gifts – including generous individual presents for staff.

Beneficiaries included choir boys, musicians, actors and servants.

The king paid his blind court poet, Master Bernard André, £5 – the equivalent of £2,400 in today’s money, and another £1, now £483, to a woman who brought a perfumed ball to the palace residences to keep the air fresh.

One goldsmith was also offered £83 for gifts by the monarch, worth £41,000 in the present day economy.


1758, 21 December 2017


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