Hampton Court Palace History
The year was 1515 and Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, a dear friend of Henry VIII, started constructing one of the most significant palaces in England’s history, Hampton Court. This labyrinth of corridors, chambers, gardens, and art galleries came to be where Henry VIII eventually resided with his many wives, one of whom was executed due to treason. Catherine Howard’s screams are still heard ricocheting off the walls of the palace. Henry VIII reveled in this beautiful and brilliant palace where he held many banquets, live events, and lavish parties for his cohort. The Tudor Palace had glorious kitchens, Tudor Kitchens, that could serve up to 1600 meals per day, and continue to be a famous part of the tour.
The luxurious palace soon became a place of succession where Henry VIII’s successors chose to stay. In the 17th-century, King James I and later King Charles I resided in the palace adding their own memorabilia to its walls in the form of brilliant works of art and the conception of the Holy Bible. The palace served as the residence of Kings and Queens, but it also accommodated mistresses, courtiers, and later, by order of George II, welfare residents with nowhere else to turn to.
Mirroring the Tudor Palace, William of Orange and his wife Mary II, commissioned Christopher Wren to create a baroque palace to symbolize their ascension to the throne. The most popular attraction at the Court is the Maze, the oldest one in the world, and with its twists and turns it is an exciting adventure for many. Each addition and modification of the court, to its apartments, gardens, walls, and ornamental interiors signifies a unique period in time and the will of the monarchy that called Hampton Court their home.
Today, the Palace celebrates the times that were with unique festivals such as Hampton Halloween, the Hampton Court Music Festival and the RHS Flower Show where once again the grounds reverberate with the sounds of festivities.