Hampton Court Palace
ROYAL PALACES OF
QUEEN ELIZABETH I
HAMPTON COURT PALACE
Hampton Court Palace, on the bank of the River Thames in Surrey, was originally owned by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, one of King Henry VIII's
most important ministers until he fell from favour in the late 1520s. Wolsey transformed an old medieval manor into a magnificent Bishop's
Palace that many contemporaries considered excessive. But Henry VIII loved the palace and, when it became his after all Wolsey's properties were confiscated, he
extended it even further, building new apartments for himself and his queens. Henry's longed for son, Edward VI, was
born in the palace in 1537, and it was here that Henry's favourite wife, Jane Seymour,
died the same year after giving birth to the prince. Her ghost is said to haunt the palace, as is that of Henry's fifth wife,
Catherine Howard, who was dragged away screaming by guards after she tried, unsuccessfully, to reach Henry to plead for her life.
Queen Elizabeth I's court was often at Hampton Court Palace, but it was one of the Queen's least favourite residences. She fell ill of smallpox twice at the palace and, a story goes, she saw the ghost of Edward VI's governess there.
The Palace's Tudor Kitchen
In the late seventeenth century William III and Mary II remodelled the palace substantially, knocking down the Tudor Royal apartments and replacing them with a baroque palace. However, much of the Tudor palace survives and is open to the public.