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The Six Wives of Henry VIII
Catherine of Aragon Anne Boleyn Jane Seymour Anne of Cleves Catherine Howard Catherine Parr
Meet the Wives Find a Wife Portrait of a King Tudor Times
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Tudor Times
Power Pageantry God & King Sports Fashion School Days Food & Feasts London, C. 1558

Fashion
Solve the Riddle!
Tudor Woman
Attributed to William Scrotts, c.1545
Credit: National Portrait Gallery


In Tudor England, social class was everything. As merchants grew in wealth and influence, Henry VIII enacted strict laws that allowed him to know at a glance who a person was by regulating what clothes they could wear. Middle-class merchants could now afford many of the luxurious fabrics once only worn by nobles -- a trend indicative of a much broader social change that could threaten the king's own position. Clothes controls -- first introduced in medieval times -- helped maintain the old, familiar status quo. Cloth of gold or silver and purple silk were restricted to women with the rank of countess or higher. No woman was allowed to wear fabrics embroidered with silk, pearls, gold or silver except baronesses and those of higher rank. Enforcement of these laws was lax but heavy fines could be extracted from those caught in violation.
Riddle:
Based on your knowledge of Tudor clothing laws, who is this woman?
What's your answer?
Alice Middleton, wife of Henry's advisor, Sir Thomas More
Margaret Grigg, Edward VI's nurse
Catherine Parr, King Henry's sixth wife