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I’m Henry the Eighth, I am

Hampton Court Palace

sunny 22 °C

This year marks the 500th anniversary of the start of the reign of Henry the Eighth. The king, I mean, not the guy who got married to the widow next door.

Henry the VIII was born in 1491 and ascended to the throne on April 21st, 1509 after the death of his father Henry the VII. He married his first wife, Catherine of Aragon soon after taking the throne, in June of 1509.

After 24 years of marriage, however, Catherine had been unable to give Henry a male child, at least one that could live beyond infancy. Henry requested an annulment from the Roman Catholic church in Rome. The church refused, and eventually Henry split the Church of England from the Catholic church, creating the Anglican church that exists to this day. Henry annulled the marriage, and married Anne Boleyn.

Henry was to marry a few more times, eventually having six wives. He married his last wife, Catherine Parr on the 12th of July, 1543 at Hampton Court Palace.


Hampton Court Palace is in the London borough of Richmond upon Thames, about a 30 minute train ride from Waterloo station. The Palace was originally built for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, King Henry’s favourite ecclesiastical official, at least until he couldn’t secure the annulment from Rome. After that, he fell out of favour with the king, and the Palace reversed back to King Henry the VIII.

William the III enlarged the Palace in the 1600s, trying to create a rival to the French’s showpiece, Versailles. The work was never finished, and today the palace is part Tudor, part Baroque. It is still pretty.


I headed down on Saturday with some friends to check out the Palace. In addition to being able to tour the Palace and the gardens, recreation of daily life in the Palace take place. In addition, the day also included a recreation of the marriage of Henry to Catherine Parr.

No monarchs today live in the Palace. Queen Victoria opened the palace to the general public in 1838.

The Tudor gatehouse and astrological clock, made for Henry VIII in 1540


The Kitchens that Henry had made to feed his 1,000 strong court.

Main hall for feasting.

Private apartments.

Privy Garden, Christopher Wren designed southern entrance in the background

Main fountain


World's largest grape-vine! Seriously, check with the Guinness folks!

The King and Queen getting married.

They have a topiary maze. I found my way out, no problem. Luckily I am so smart.

Posted by GregW 07:13 Archived in England Tagged tourist_sites

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