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Hampton Court Palace
I had wanted to visit Hampton Court Palace back in 2006, then in 2013, but it just never worked out. Till this year! The 500th anniversary of Hampton Court! I knew I had to make it this time since is was the big birthday year. Having gotten a discounted ticket to Hampton Court Palace from YHA London Oxford, I was on my way! A quick ride from London Waterloo to Hampton on the train and I was there. The station is just across the road from the Palace so it’s completely walkable.
Walking up to Hampton Court was simply marvelous and magical, there really are no other words for it. Maybe it was the fact that I’ve waited so long to see it, or the fact that I’m a semi-closeted history nerd, but either way it was just breathtaking. So much so, that I actually stood in the middle of the road staring at it till a truck honked at me to move over. Opps! I arrived around 10:30am I believe and was handed my guide of the palace and garden, as well as a schedule of events. Because it’s the 500th anniversary they’ve really outdone themselves. Make sure to check their schedule for what’s happening on the day you plan to visit.
Tudor Welcome Time Play
At about 11am on the schedule was a Tudor Welcome time play (reenactment) which started below the great clock. Some fantastic actors came out in period clothing and performed as if they actually were from King Henry VIII’s time. I was giddy, I love this sort of thing! Their Anne Boleyn was my favorite of the group. And thankfully, my stored knowledge of Anne’s life from history class and the Tudors tv series kicked in.
The Great Hall
We followed them into the Great Hall where one of the ladies asked me ‘if I’d heard the rumors’ (though she might have used the word whispers, I can’t recall now). Of course I played along, though only guessing it was about Henry and Anne. We proceeded into the wine cellar where we were told to keep quite so we would not be heard by Anne and her ‘boyfriend’ (for lack of a better word) Henry Percy. Henry Percy is primarily remembered as the betrothed of Anne, whom he was forced to give up before she became involved with King Henry VIII. As the scene unravelled I came to realize it was the breakup scene. Sad, but marvelously performed.
There are actually very few remnants of Anne’s reign in the palace. I took photos of two such examples you can see below. The H and A entwinded. The first image is over a passageway, the second is inside the Great Hall. All others to my knowledge were erased when she was dethroned.