Henry VIII acquired Hampton Court from Cardinal Wolsey, and developed it into a magnificent show palace, the epitome of Tudor red-brick architecture. Luckily William III and Mary II only destroyed part of it in their quest to modernise, and much of the palace remains in its Tudor form today.
Edward VI was born at Hampton Court in 1537 and his mother, Queen Jane Seymour, died there 12 days later. It was at Hampton Court, too, in 1541, that Henry VIII learnt of the infidelity of his queen, Katherine Howard, who was placed under house arrest at the palace. More happily, Henry married his sixth wife, Katherine Parr, in the Queen’s Privy Closet in 1543. Mary I awaited the birth of her child at Hampton Court, but unfortunately the child never eventuated. Elizabeth I nearly died of smallpox there and avoided it for some years afterwards.
The Great Hall, Chapel Royal, Tudor kitchens and real tennis court are particular highlights and the Tudor aficionado can easily spend a day exploring the palace and its gardens.
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