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Henry VIII’s Apartments
The next part of the Hampton Court Palace tour I visited was Henry VIII’s Apartments and Great Hall. Don’t let the name ‘apartments’ fool you. It looks nothing like my studio apartment in Los Angeles. You enter in through the Great Hall. If you watched Tudors, you’ve seen something like it. That or you can imagine a smaller version of the Hogwarts Great Hall, minus the floating candles. Even without the wizard magic or the King himself, the hall is magnificent. I had been in here earlier for the time play, but this time I got the chance to look around and explore. The tapestries and stained glass are so ornate it’s mind-blowing. Click on the photos for a closer look. If only the walls could speak in this room….
The Great Hall
Past the Great Hall is the Great Watching Chamber. What’s really extraordinary about this section is the ceiling work. The letter (a copy) that damned Catherine Howard to the executioner can also be seen in here. Apparently it’s the most haunted part of the palace as well. Howard’s ghost has been said to roam the halls. I overheard a tour guide say that an unusual amount of people faint in this section of the palace. I luckily escaped without passing out! Check out the painting of Henry the 8th, he must have been an extremely imposing man. Especially with that famous temper.
The next tour I went on was the Georgian Story. The coolest thing about this tour was that you received a ‘smell map’ upon entering. Yep, that’s right! A scratch and sniff map! Whomever invented this thing, you’re a genius! Each room had something to whiff. The guard chamber had a wood burning fire-place, while the drawing-room smelled of herbs. ‘Courtiers attending a Drawing Room would have been packed together in this room. To mask the unpleasant stench of too many unwashed bodies, strongly scented herbs such as wormwood, gerrymander, lavender and meadow-sweet were sprinkled on the floor.’
They had lights that changed colors on some of the dresses which was a neat effect. It helped to give visitors an idea of what court life may have looked like. Continue into the private drawing-room and take a whiff of royal hot chocolate, followed by the smell of Caroline’s bath in the bathing room. You can even smell the royal toilet if you really, really want to.