Skip to main content

HRH The Earl of Wessex Visits Royal Armouries in Leeds

Friday, 17 March 2017

The Royal Armouries welcomed the Earl of Wessex to its flagship museum of arms and armour in Leeds this week.

The Earl of Wessex and the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Dr Ingrid Roscoe toured the collection with the Director General & Master of the Armouries, Dr Edward Impey and the Chair of Trustees, General the Lord Dannatt. Highlights of the tour included the Hall of Steel, the largest mass display of medieval arms and armour assembled since the nineteenth century, the seventeenth century Littlecote Collection and Henry VIII’s armours made for the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520. The Earl of Wessex had the opportunity to meet visitors, curators and other staff before watching history come to life with a late fifteenth century combat demonstration developed for the visit by the live interpretation team.

The visit concluded with the unveiling by the Earl of Wessex of a plaque to mark his visit.

Keith Dowen, Assistant Curator of European Armour who guided the Earl through some of the items on display said.

“His Royal Highness showed great interest in our special collection of 17th century arms and armour. He was delighted to hear about the Royal Armouries’ role in saving the Civil War era armoury at Littlecote House for the nation and its display in the museum at Leeds.”

Andrew Dean, Living History Officer said.

“It was a very proud day for me. I was asked to put together a combat demonstration for HRH the Earl of Wessex’s visit to the Royal Armouries and decided to highlight the medieval ‘two-handed sword’. For my colleagues Mike Broadley and David Perry this was their first ‘royal command performance’ enacting a very intense and complicated fight chorography performed at great speed. Together we helped to dispel the myth that this huge sword was heavy and cumbersome and showed its speed and agility. It was a great success and the Earl was very effusive about the performance and interested in the museum’s unique daily ‘live Interpretation’ programme”.

Dr Edward Impey said: “The Royal Armouries holds one of the finest collections of arms and armour in the world and we were delighted to welcome The Earl of Wessex to our headquarters in the heart of Leeds. The museum is a leading attraction in the region with thousands of outstanding items on display as well as offering a programme of lively daily performances and talks.”

The Royal Armouries is Britain’s oldest national museum with a collection which has been on display to visitors for over 500 years. Part of the collection is still on display in its original home at the Tower of London. The museum in Leeds opened in 1996 and houses five themed galleries with around 8,500 items on display. Admission to the museum is free and it welcomes around 220,000 visitors a year from across the world. Since 2005, the museum has also managed the national collection of firearms, started in 1631 by Charles I and assembled by the British Army.


For more information about the museum and its activities visit:

Notes to editors

For more information including images contact Siona Mackelworth, Head of Marketing & Communications on 07810 364571

– The Royal Armouries Museum is open all year daily, 10am-5pm. Closed 24-26 December
– The Royal Armouries national collection is housed at three sites — in the White Tower at the Tower of London, at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds and it holds its artillery collection at the Victorian Palmerston Fort, Fort Nelson near Portsmouth.
– Website:
– The Royal Armouries Museum should not be confused with Royal Armouries International plc, the private sector corporate hospitality business based on the same site in Leeds.

About the Royal Armouries

Entry to the museum is free but some activities carry a small charge.