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Celebrations fit for a king

PUBLISHED: 14:24 25 March 2009 | UPDATED: 16:21 25 August 2010

DRAMA: A medieval joust.

DRAMA: A medieval joust.

TUDOR re-enactments and historical tours are due to be held to mark 500 years since Henry VIII was crowned.

TUDOR re-enactments and historical tours are due to be held to mark 500 years since Henry VIII was crowned.

This June, the Old Royal Naval College will hold free family entertainment to celebrate the legacy of the Greenwich-born king.

In the second weekend of June, actors playing the king and his second wife Anne Boleyn will look on as knights engage in hand-to-hand combat at the riverside site.

The infamous king, who appointed himself Defender of the Faith, was a keen hunter who stocked Greenwich Park with deer which roamed free there until 1927.

There will also be archery stands, dancing, a feast in a Tudor-style food court, and a re-enactment of a 15th century mounted hunting parade.

Children's entertainment at the king's main residence is due to include face painting, flag making and games.

Henry VIII was born in the former Greenwich Palace, which sprawled across today's Old Royal Naval College and Queen's House sites.

An archaeological dig at the Old Royal Naval College's Grand Square in 2006 revealed the palace's foundations and the tiled floor where the king would have married his six wives. Guided historical tours of the former palace site will run weekly during June between Thursday and Sunday, except the weekend of June 13 and 14.

The Old Royal Naval College will run the tours and charge £5 a ticket, while under-16s go free.

Eltham Palace, in Court Yard, Eltham, is also due to mark the half-millennium since Henry VIII's coronation with a jousting competition on the weekend of June 20 and 21.

A full-contact joust between knights in armour is due to take place to a background of period music at the king's second-favourite south London residence.

A more detailed history of Henry VIII and Greenwich Palace can be gained at a lecture due to be given by Dr Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, on June 2. Tickets are £5.

A Tudor-period concert is due to be given by The Sixteen choral group at the Old Royal Naval College Chapel on June 14.

For more information on the Old Royal Naval College events visit www.greenwichwhs.org.uk or call tourist information on 0870 608 2000.

To book a place at the Eltham Palace joust, call 0870 333 1183. Tickets are £8.30 or £4.20 for children. Discounts are available.

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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