Hampton Court Palace

  If you know who Henry VIII is, then you've probably heard of this palace before. Although the palace is well known because of Henry VIII, it's actually not the place where he resided in on a daily basis. He instead resided in the Palace of Whitehall, which was sadly burned down during the Great Fire of London in 1666 (the only thing that remained from the fire was the Banqueting House, now open to the public). Hampton Court was instead resided by Cardinal Wolsey, Henry's right-hand man. Nonetheless, Henry frequented the palace when he visited Wolsey. The palace was then handed to Henry when Wolsey stepped down and died two years after that. FYI, there's a TON of pictures heading your way! I warned you, people! :P

The main entrance

The Base Court 

  Despite the sun shining through the blue skies, the wind was strong as hell. But right now as I sit inside writing this, I would do anything to be in a city where fall has begun. Trust me, living in a city that's always hot gets old. As you can see, the colors in the palace compared to Versailles is completely different. I still loved it as much as Versailles though. What matters is the history in my opinion. The palace was quite crowded, but not as crowded as the other touristy places in Central London, probably because Hampton Court is quite far from the city. By car, it took about an hour to go from Central London to East Molesey (the village where the palace is located).

  After going up the stairs, you'll see this big banner when you enter The Great Hall. Basically, it's written with rules of what you should wear and to act in a well manner when you step into the hall. When I saw the banner, I felt like I was in the 1500's, entering one of Henry's parties. What I'm saying is, I felt like I was a part of the royal family (which is plain bull, ha!), and it was great to know what people in the olden days did for fun. 

King Henry's famous tapestries, 'The Story of Abraham'

View from Henry's seat

  Imagine how dark the hall would be at nighttime. Not to mention, five centuries ago, there were only candles. Even with the sun streaming through the windows, the hall was quite dark because of the colors in the furniture, the ceiling and the tapestries that hung on the wall. The whole palace I would say looked gothic, which is slightly different from what I like. But I still loved it anyways. Can I go back in time, already?!?!

Le sistré

  The painting above is probably not an original. Because from what I know, the only remaining painting of Henry was located at the Palace of Whitehall, which as I said before was burned down.
Another interesting fact about the palace is that sources have mentioned that ghosts sometimes roam around the palace and get close to visitors. In this particular hallway called the 'Hampton Court's Haunted Gallery', Catherine Howard is said to be present. From the information I read in the palace, it was said that Catherine (Henry's fifth wife) was under house arrest because she was accused of adultery by the King himself and she managed to escape the guard's hold and screamed along the hallway to ask for forgiveness to Henry. Soon after that, she was taken to the Tower of London where she was beheaded. Catherine is also known as the 'Screaming Lady'. 

 To be honest, I'm not so sure who's bedroom these two belong to. Because the reason I visited the palace was because of Henry, so I didn't consume any information of the other monarchs who stayed at the palace after Henry's time. Nevertheless, they're still such beautiful rooms aren't they? 
  After several hours exploring the palace, I was hangry. Yes hangry, not hungry! Hahaha. We headed out of the private apartments and searched for the cafeteria. The cafeteria didn't look modern at all, instead the place looked like something out of the 15th century. I would imagine that the place would be where Henry's court would eat at. 

Pie and green beans
   The food wasn't my style, and sadly there weren't much options in the menu so I ate it anyways because I was hungry and had tea to fill my stomach. 

The Privy Garden

   The gardens at the palace was extraordinary. I loved the one with the mushroom trees, they were the cutest thing ever. I roamed around the gardens with the Horse-drawn tram rides instead of walking because it was cold and the sky was starting to get gloomier by the second, so we spent a few pounds and rode the horses instead. The tram ride was tranquil and I loved that. Even though the guide was yammering on about the history of the gardens and how Henry explored it (he loved hunting), it was quiet. And the quietness of the gardens took me back to the 1500's. I opted to think that I was walking with a big gown with snow drizzling down with lots of people around me to escape the palace. I daydreamed a lot when I was there, okay? :P

Tiltyard walls

  The view of the Palace from the Privy Garden is amazing. Although this view of the palace wasn't there during Henry's ruling, there's just something about it that appealed to me. Maybe it's the colors, or maybe I was imagining that this is what the monarchs saw when they walked around the garden. What they saw was what I saw, and there's something amazing about that. To think that the garden has been there for centuries amazes me. That's all I can say, really. 

Henry's kitchen

   The kitchen was built to feed the court of Henry VIII. The kitchen feeds at least 600 people twice a day. Most people think that the vast kitchen in the palace is for the King himself, but it's for his court, not himself. Compared to modern hotels, cooking for 600 people twice a day without any modern conveniences is pretty complicated. So the cooks were pretty talented to cook all day for Henry's court. 

Henry in his teens

Henry's family tree
  To see Henry's life during his early years to his reign gave me the chills. Because as his life unraveled before my eyes, it's as if he was standing right next to me. The palace did a great job of showing us his timeline, and his family tree. 

Anne Boleyn

Katherine of Aragon

  The battle between Katherine of Aragon (Henry's first wife) and Anne Boleyn (his second wife) was real. Anne stepped between their 23 years of marriage when she came to court. Like I previously said on my visit to the Tower of London, I have a deep sympathy for Anne. Henry fell in love with Anne so deeply, and to see him discard her as easily like that, I felt Anne's pain. Like any King, Henry was desperate for a son. One of the reasons he divorced Katherine was because she couldn't give him a son. Queens back in the day wasn't allowed to rule, because the female species were 'weak' as they said. And that is why we have feminism now.
  Henry's relationship with Anne is probably the most known one in history and I've delved myself to their relationship in detail, and what I could say about Henry is that he's cruel. Imagine Henry ruling Great Britain right now. You can't, right? So do I. While I love Henry, there are some parts of him that I don't like. 
  My visit to Hampton Court was a great one. I would love to visit the palace again in the future. And maybe delve into places that Henry frequented in the UK. I highly recommend going there if you like the Tudor period as much as I do. If not, you should still go! 

Much love, Ashley xxx


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