Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Horn Room

The Horn Room was used as a waiting room for the servants of the palace. The steps of this room is made of oak and is the original steps that were built during the Tudor times. Here the servants would stand awaiting to bring food to the Great Hall and the Great Watching Chamber.
It was given it's name long after the end of the Tudor dynasty. When William III chose to redecorate the palace he had all the antlers and horns that normally adorned the galleries moved to this room and ever since then, this room has been known as the Horn Room.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Queens' Rings

All can be bought here

A Palace of Queens

Yet another post of Hampton Court Palace! Some of the famous six wives of Henry VIII have left their mark on this favourite palace of their husband. So, let's take a look at the reminders of Queens that has been long lost to history.

This is the ceiling of the Anne Boleyn
Gateway - the squares that surronds
the Tudor rose involves Anne's falcon
The Anne Boleyn Gateway is now named after the doomed second wife of Henry VIII but it was not the case at the time - imagine the weirdness of that! After the downfall of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII wanted to erase every memory of her and had her badges and initials removed. But a few were forgotten and today they serve as a reminder of the Queen that Henry wanted to forget. Anne's badges can still be seen at the Anne Boleyn Gateway which is also where the gateway derives its name. Also, her falcons and initials still adorns the great hammer-beams of the Great Hall's ceiling.

Jane Seymour's badge can be seen on an original frieze outside the Royal Chapel. Also the Great Watching Chamber still house references to this third wife. A phoenix rising from a castle can be seen on the ceiling of this room - the very badge of Jane.

Anne of Cleves is - despite her very short marriage - also among the wives that the castle can tell us about. In what is now a tea room a plate is displayed. This plate shows signs that it belonged to Edward VI - but the wheel of Cleves can still be seen on it. It is likely that the plate was hastily changed after the annulment of the couple's marriage.

Even Catherine of Aragon's pomegranate still remains - it hangs above a door frame, apparently forgotten.

Katherine Howard's ghost has put the "haunted" in the Haunted Gallery but since it is not a physical artifact I have chosen not to include it here.

Great Watching Chamber

The Great Watching Chamber is built in connection with the Great Hall. This is were the Royal Guards would stand guard and watch over the royal family. It was one of the original state rooms built by Henry VIII who used it to entertain those of his guests that had the rank of baron or more.

It is the ceiling of the Great Watching Chamber that makes it stand out. It is covered with gold leaf and still has Jane Seymour's badge on it. This room has also been decorated with Henry VIII's surviving tapestries - just like the Great Hall. Most of this room remains the same as it was when Henry VIII lived there except for the fireplace which has been replaced later.
It was in this very room that the announcement of Katherine Howard's adultery was made which would eventually send another wife of Henry VIII to the scaffold.

The famed ceiling of the Great Watching Chamber

Calais in my Heart

The loss of Calais to the French was one of the greatest errors made during Mary I's reign - a fact the Queen herself was well aware of. Mary I frustrated exclaimed that:

"When I am dead, and my body is opened, ye shall find Calais written on my heart"

Scandal of Christendom

One of the best known - and only known - quotes from Catherine of Aragon is regarding her jewellery. When Henry VIII asked her to surrender her jewels since they belonged to the Queen of England - a position she no longer held - the former Queen replied:

"I will not give them up to a person who is the scandal of Christendom and a disgrace to you."

It is obvious that she is referring to Anne Boleyn who was moving faster and faster towards becoming the Queen of England.

The Grey Lady

Hampton Court Palace was the favourite castle of Henry VIII (despite his otherwise vast collection) and therefore the court spent much time there. Centuries after the old Kings and Queens have died, many of them lingers in this particular castle - but not all are royal.

Despite being given the name of "the Grey Lady" this ghost has nothing to do with either Lady Jane Grey or her family.

Mrs. Sibyll Penn was the nurse of Prince Edward and even had her own lodgings at Hampton Court (see the tour of Hampton Court Palace). When she died of smallpox in 1562 she was buried in the St. Mary's Chapel and rested peacefully there until a storm destroyed the chapel in 1892. Her remains were therefore removed which is thought to have called her back to the palace in which she used to live and work.

Residents and craftsmen working on the palace have reported hearing a strange sound which they identified as the sound of a spinning wheel turning. When a wall was removed an hitherto unknown chamber was found - and there was indeed a spinning wheel worn down by continuous use! Apparently, the spinning wheel belonged to Mrs. Penn and the room in which is was discovered also happens to be the rooms of the former nurse.
Many visitors have seen her before and after the discovery of the room. Out of all the ghosts at Hampton Court Palace she is the most persistent. She was spotted in person in 1986 and is said to appear in different courtyards and rooms - at times watching over children who visits the castle.

Royal Mary

Daphne Slater portrays Mary 1 in "Elizabeth R" and here we see the Queen in all her glory. She is wearing a heavy ermine robe of red velvet and golden embroideries (you can just spot them to the right in the picture).The main fabric is either black or another dark colour - perhaps royal purple? The petticoat is made of golden embroideries on a black background. The dress is decorated with  a "belt" around her waist in gold and precious stones. But the main focus is the huge brooch at the top of the bodice. It appears to be gold with a gemstone in the middle and a pearl hanging beneath it. This particular gown is a high necked Tudor dress which simply means that the bodice closes at the neck instead of the square low-cut bodice often seen in other portraits. At the neck, she is wearing a ruff and another necklace underneath it. The hand that is barely in clear view reveals a sleeve that ends with laces with golden embroideries to connect the sleeve with the white lace.

This dress is inspired by one of the most famous portraits of Mary 1 and is almost a true replica of it.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Watching the Tudors

The Tudors continues to fascinate us and through the last couple of decades this interest has manifested itself through several movies and series of the infamous dynasty and the people who lived in it. This list contains documentaries as well as fiction so go ahead and dig in!

The Tudors (2007-2010)
The life of Henry VIII beginning in the middle of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon

Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)
The story of Anne Boleyn who is angry with the King for ending her relationship with Henry Percy but ends up marrying him which leads to her death

Mary, Queen of Scots (1971)
The tragic story of the Scottish Queen who eventually made the mistake of committing treason against her cousin, Elizabeth I, which sends her to the block

The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)
Based on the historical fiction novel of Philippa Gregory that follows the two Boleyn sisters, Mary and Anne.

Elizabeth (1998)
A young Elizabeth survives the dangerous last days of Mary I and struggles to find her role as Queen

Elizabeth: the Golden Age (2007)
Elizabeth I has become an experienced monarch who defends her country against the Spanish armada

The Twisted Tale of Bloody Mary (2008)
The story of how Mary I went from a beloved princess to discarded bastard and finally became a Queen with a bloody reputation

Henry VIII and his Six Wives (1973)
The infamous six wives of the dominant Tudor King

Gunpowder, Treason and Plots (2004)
The turbulent reigns of Mary, Queen of Scots and her son James I

Elizabeth I, Red Rose of the House of Tudor (2000)
A part of the series "the Royal Diaries" that follow the childhood of Elizabeth Tudor

The Virgin Queen (2005)
Elizabeth Tudor through her early years as Queen of England

Henry VIII (1979)
A BBC-produced take on the story told by William Shakespeare

Lady Jane (1987)
The unwilling Queen who reigned for a mere nine days and was then executed

A Man for All Seasons (1966)
Thomas More as he serves the difficult Henry VIII

Young Bess (1953)
From the execution of Anne Boleyn to the coronation of Elizabeth I

The Virgin Queen (1955)
Walter Raleigh's arrival at court to finance his expedition to the New World

Gloriana (2000)
The Queen that outshone a court

Mary Stuart (1982)
The girl that went from being Dauphine of France to the scaffold for treason

The Shadow of the Tower (1972)
Mini-series of Henry VII during the first years of the Tudor dynasty

The Sword and the Rose (1953)
Mary Tudor on her path to find true love after her brother - Henry VIII - had married her off against her will

Stay in the Renaissance - other movies set during the Tudor times:

Martin Luther (2003)
A revolutionary German monk whose criticism of the Roman Catholic church sparks the Reformation

Princes in the Tower (2005)
Perkin Warbeck who claims to be prince Richard - the rightful heir to the English throne - is tried

The Conclave (2006)
Cardinals gathers to name a new pope - but everyone has their own agenda

Shakespeare in Love (1998)
A highly fictional account of William Shakespeare who embarks on a love affair with the aristocratic Lady Viola

The Taming of the Shrew (1967)
William Shakespeare's play is brought to life in this 1960's movie

The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965)
The troubles of Michelangelo during his work on the Sistine Chapel

God's Outlaw (1986)
William Tyndale faces mortal danger (in the shape of Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell) when he tries to translate the Bible into English

Great Hall

The Great Hall is an amazing example of Tudor architecture and taste. The walls are still hung with the best tapestries in Henry VIII's vast collection depicting the Story of Abraham - faded through the years but still beautiful. The tapestries under the gallery depicts the Story of Hercules and the Triumph of Fate. The Hall is indeed great to step into. It measures 33 metres (108 inches) by 12 metres (40 feet).

Henry VIII added the Great Hall to Hampton Court Palace in 1532-35 and it would become the last medieval Great Hall built for any English monarch. The most characteristic about this large hall is the large wooden beams at the ceiling - the initials of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn is still a part of the decoration.

When Henry VIII reigned this was the most important room of the entire castle - seen through a courtier's eyes. This is were the King would dine on a dais overlooking his court - in fact Henry was so impatient with this particular room that he made the masons work at night by candlelight as well as all through the day! Shakespeare performed a play of his in front of James I on New Years-day 1603 - the same year that Elizabeth I died.

Windows. You can see the top of Henry VIII's tapestries

The Execution Gowns of a Queen

These are the execution gowns of Anne Boleyn as they had been portrayed in "The Tudors", "The Other Boleyn Girl" and "Anne of the Thousand Days".

The Tudors - Dying a Queen:

This dress has a blue colour with grey tones in it. The neckline is decorated with pearls which have been sewn onto a grey, transparent fabric with simple leaves in a darker grey. The end of the wide sleeves are trimmed with dark purple fur and reveals a brighter fabric used as lining. However, the sleeves sticking out from underneath the wide sleeves are soft purple and closely fitted.
The heavy robe that Anne wears on her final walk is trimmed with bright pale fur. The remainder of the robe is of lush blood-red velvet.
The petticoat is grey and matches the fabric used to trim the neckline. It can hardly be seen because of the position of the hands but the bodice is actually decorated. The decoration is a silver embroidery in a small "medallion" pattern.

The Other Boleyn Girl - Discreet Decapitation:

This gown is dark blue but - unlike the other dresses - have no robe with it. Instead "Anne" is wearing a short "cape" of ermine-like fur closed at the neck with a hook. The gown itself is decorated with discreet embroideries of the same dark colour as the dress. It looks as if the embroideries have a silver gleam which is very vaguely reflected when the dress moves.
On the photo to the right the embroidered bodice is darker than the colour of the sleeves and the skirt. The back of the dress is interesting because it does not (like the other dresses) is cut in the same fashion at the neckline at the front. Instead it is closed closer to the hairline than usually.

Anne of the Thousand Days - Simple Sadness:

On the way to the scaffold, Anne is wearing a dark robe - possibly black or dark blue. It closes at the neck with a little collar but no decorations. However, the sleeves of the robe are short to make room for the sleeves of her execution gown. In this way the execution gown's sleeves also becomes a part of the robe - as well as the petticoat which can be seen through the slit that opens when she walks.
The execution gown itself is of the same fabric as the robe. The only decoration to this dress is the design of the sleeves: puffs with a peak to a lighter fabric. The petticoat is grey and the same colour has been used to trim the neckline of the bodice. Otherwise it is a very simple dress, for a sad occasion.

Cream Coloured King

Richard Burton wears this attire as Henry VIII in "Anne of the Thousand Days". The jerkin underneath is made from a silk mix in a lovely red shape. It is sewn with gold thread and the embroideries are decorated with stones that is to imitate sapphires, pearls and rubies.
The cream robe is made of cotton and is also sewn with golden thread. The lining is made of cream coloured silk and has been applied with amber looking material. The edge of the robe is decorated with small circles of a darker colour.

White/Green Lady-in-Waiting

Geneviève Bujold wears this dress as Anne Boleyn in "Anne of the Thousand Days" when she dances with the King at Court. The white fabric seem to have a damask pattern, possibly with a large floral print. The pale green is rather unusual for this time but complements the decorations on the bodice. It could be taffeta or satin.
These decorations consists of different precious stones in gold, white and greenish colour. Anne is wearing a French hood lined with the same white damask and decorated with the same precious stones - though it looks as if there are more green stones on the hood than on the bodice.

Palace of the Tudors

This is how Hampton Court Palace look when Henry VIII inhabited it - the outlines indicates rooms that the King would add to the Palace. Since the room was occupied by William III who renovated the Renaissance palace it is not much of the Tudor palace that remains but there are still few elements that stands as a testimony to the time of the Tudors.

To see the badges of Henry's six wives click here.

Pale Blue Section - Official Rooms :
  1. The Great Chamber
  2. Clock Tower
  3. Great Hall
  4. The Dais 
  5. Horn Room
  6. The Haunted Gallery
  7. Council Chamber
  8. Royal Pew or Closet
Pale Turquoise - Henry VIII's Room:
  1. Great Watching Chamber
  2. Presence Chamber
  3. - 6. Withdrawing Chambers
Pale Purple - Cardinal Wolsey's Rooms

Dark Green Section - Prince Edward's Lodgings

Pale Green Section - Guest Lodgings:

Pale Yellow Section - Double Lodgings:

Pale Orange Section - Kitchens:
  1. Great Fish Kitchen
  2. One of the Great Kitchens
  3. Upper part of the Privy Kitchen
  4. Pantry
Pale Pink Section - Galleries

Pale Grey Section - Chapel

Beige Section - Offices

Fuchsia Section - Sunday Lodgings

Lavender Section - Others:
  1. Mrs. Penn's Rooms 
  2. Unknown
  3. Unknown
  4. The Screens
  5. Possibly a continuance of the kitchens
  6. Page's Chamber
  7. Organ's House
  8. Unknown
  9. Possibly a continuance of the Lodgings of Prince Edward
  10. Bowling Alley
White sections - Courtyards & Gateways:
  1. Lord Chamberlain's Court
  2. The Master Carpenter's Court
  3. Fish Court
  4. Back Court
  5. First or Base Court
  6. Anne Boleyn's Gateway
  7. Clock Court
  8. Cloister Green Court (sometimes referred to as the Fountain Court)
  9. Round Kitchen's Court
  10. Courtyard
  11. Chapel Court
  12. Courtyard
  13. Courtyard
  14. Minor Courtyard
  15. Courtyard at Mrs. Penn's Rooms
  16. Bridge
  17. Vestry Court
Striped Section - New Lodgings

Close-up section of the New Lodgings - many built by Henry VIII (this part also features certain rooms that were there before but is now linked to the new rooms)

Pale Yellow Section - Henry VIII's new rooms:
  1. The King's Staircase
  2. King's Guard's Chamber
  3. King's First Presence Chamber
  4. King's Second Presence Chamber
  5. Audience Chamber
  6. King's Drawing Room
  7. King's Dressing Room
  8. King's Writing Closet
Pale Pink Section - the Queen's new rooms:
  1. Queen's Gallery
  2. Queen's Bedroom
  3. Queen's Drawing Room
  4. Queen's Audience Chamber
  5. Queen's Private Chapel
  6. Queen's Bathing Closet
  7. Queen's Private Dining Room
  8. Queen's Private Dressing Room
  9. Queen's Staircase
  10. Queen's Guards' Chamber
  11. Queen's Presence Chamber
Pale Blue Section - State Apartments/Diverse:
  1. Queen Mary's Closet
  2. Public Dining Room
  3. Cartoon Gallery
  4. Communication Gallery
  5. Cumberland Suite
  6. Haunted Gallery
  7. Royal Pew
  8. Chapel Royal
Pale Green Section - Prince of Wales' Apartments:
  1. Prince of Wales' Presence Chamber
  2. Prince of Wales' Drawing Room
  3. Prince of Wales' Bedroom
  4. Prince of Wales' Staircase
Pale Purple Section - Other Chambers:
  1. William III's State Bedroom
  2. George II's Dressing Room
  3. George II's Private Chamber
Pale Turquoise Section - Wolsey's Apartments:
  1. Wolsey's Rooms
  2. Wolsey's Closet
  3. Wolsey's Kitchen

this is based on a template found at to which all template credits goes



Anne Boleyn crowned Queen (1533)

Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, is executed (1572)

Thomas More is interrogated for the third time but refuses to swear the Oath of Supremacy (1535)

Jane Seymour is publicly declared Queen of England (1536)

Marriage of Robert Dudley and Amy Robsart (1550)

Sir Walter Raleigh founds the colony of Virginia named after Elizabeth I (1584)

Field of the Cloth of Gold begins (1520)

Mary I declares war on France – persuaded by her husband, Philip II (1556)

Elizabeth Woodville dies (1492)

All papal authority is banned in England (1533)


Thomas Cromwell is arrested (1540)

Henry VIII marries Catherine of Aragon (1509)

Henry VIII appoints Catherine of Aragon as Regent while he is in France (1513)

Mary of Guise dies (1560)

Will Somers dies (1560)

Battle of Stoke Field that ended with Lambart Simnel’s attempt to take over the throne (1497)

Mary, Queen of Scots is imprisoned at Lochleven (1567)

Henry Fitzroy (Henry VIII’s illegitimate son) is made Duke of Richmond (1525)

Thomas Boleyn is made Viscount Rochford (1525)

Henry VIII is proclaimed King of Ireland (1541)

Anne of Askew is arrested for heresy (1546)

Mary, Queen of Scots gives birth to James VI (1566)


Edward VI’s Succession Device was signed (1553)

Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon appear in front of the Legatine Court at Blackfriars (1529)

Bishop John Fisher is executed  (1535)

The Lady Mary writes to her father and submits to his authority (1536)

Marriage treaty between Arthur, Prince of Wales and Catherine of Aragon (1503)

Coronation of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon (1509)

Robert Dudley is born (1532-33)

Anne of Cleves is sent away from court (1540)

Mary Tudor (sister of Henry VIII) dies (1533)

Prince Henry Tudor officially breaks up the betrothal to Catherine of Aragon from pressure from Henry VII (1505)

Henry VIII is born (1491)


Margaret Beauford dies (1509)

Henry VIII leads 30.000 troops to Calais (1513)



Thomas Cromwell demands that Thomas More swear the Oath of Supremacy (1535)

Arrest of Anne Boleyn (1536)

Arrest of Sir Francis Weston and Sir William Brereton for adultery with Queen Anne (1533),

Catherine Parr marries Thomas Seymour in secret (1548)

Arrest of Thomas Wyatt and Sir Richard Page (1536)

Henry VIII dictates that a new Bible must be in every church (1541)

Act of Uniformity signed by Elizabeth I (1559)

Henry VIII makes peace with Scotland (1534)

Official marriage of Mary Tudor to Charles Brandon (1515)

Marriage of Mary, Queen of Scots to Earl of Bothwell (1567)

Mary, Queen of Scots is imprisoned in Scotland (1567)

Thomas More resigns as Chancellor (1532)

Mary, Queen of Scots crosses the border to England in a sailboat (1568)

Thomas Cranmer hears Anne Boleyn’s connection (1536)

Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham is executed (1517)

Ecclesiastical Court is established for Henry VIII’s Great Matter (1527)

Robert Aske is sentenced to death (1537)

Executions of George Boleyn, Mark Smeaton, Henry Norris and William Brereton (1536)

Henry VIII demands the burning of all books that announce the victory of the Scottish army (1544)

Anne Boleyn is executed (1536),

Elizabeth is released from the Tower (1554)

Henry VIII is betrothed to Jane Seymour (1536)

Edward VI’s Act of Uniformity that makes all other prayer books than the Bible illegal (1549)

Lady Jane Grey marries Guildford Dudley (1553)

Elizabeth is removed to Woodstock House under house-arrest (1554)

Marriage of Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII declared illegal (1533)

Execution of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury (1541)

Marriage of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII is declared valid by Cranmer (1533)

Henry VIII marries Jane Seymour (1536)

Christopher Marlowe dies (1593)

Anne Boleyn’s coronation procession (1533)

Legatine Court begins at Blackfriars (1529)

A Year with the Tudors













Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The Tudors & Baths

Well, we all know that the hygiene was lacking (to say the least) at the court of the Tudors. But it appears from recently discovered documents that the Tudors bathed and washed more than we have thought so far. So, let's take a look at some of the Tudors - who were the clean ones and who skipped their baths?

But strangely enough, Henry VIII defied the health advises from the doctors and bathed! At Hampton Court Palace (Bayne Tower) he had a large tub installed which was the height of what technology could do: it was heated by a stove in the room next door and the hot water was led from there to the King's tub. Henry's wound his leg was constantly aching and the King chose to bathe in a mixture of herbs and musk - attempting to ease the pain.
The King even went so far as to take herbal baths - except when the sweating sickness was out.

Mary, Queen of Scots was also fond of bathing. According to rumours the Scottish Queen liked to bathe in wine!

Also Elizabeth I bathed frequently compared to her courtiers. It is reported that the Queen bathed at least once every month - and to her contemporaries that was almost too much! The Queen's sharpened sense of smell might have contributed to the frequent baths but Elizabeth still joins the league of the "clean" Tudors!

But of course, not everyone followed these royal examples as you can see from the following examples:

Anne of Cleves followed German traditions and hardly ever bathed. When she was engaged to Henry VIII her advisers allegedly had to work hard on convincing Anne that she had to bathe before she met the King.

Besides Henry VIII's bath tub at Hampton Court, the royal family also had access to bath tubs at the Tower and Windsor Castle. Henry VIII actually built yet another bathroom at Whitehall at the end of the 1540's.
Other courtiers would buy soap and scented water to clean their hands and douche their bodies. The very wealthy could even afford perfume to sprinkle on the body in an attempt to get rid off the smell.

Monday, 18 March 2013




Arthur, Prince of Wales dies (1502)





Francis Walsingham dies (1590)



Henry VIII founds the St. John College at Oxford (1511)

Ambassador Chapuys has an audience with Henry VIII about the injustice done to Catherine of Aragon (1533)


Margaret Tudor gives birth to Prince James in Scotland (1512)

Thomas Wyatt is executed for leading a rebellion against Mary I (1554)


Thomas More is told to swear the oath of succession (1534)

Anne Boleyn is publicly declared Queen (1533)

Thomas More leaves
his family but refuses to swear to the oath of succession (1534)

Katherine Howard is granted large areas of land as a gift from Henry VIII (1540)



Elizabeth Throckmorton is born (1565)

Thomas More is arrested and taken to the Tower (1534),

Elizabeth is recalled to court to attend Mary I’s confinement (1555)


Thomas Cromwell is made Earl of Essex (1540)

The “Nun of Kent” is executed (1534)


Henry VII dies (1509),

Henry VIII becomes King (1509)

Francis Walsingham is appointed Chancellor of the Order of the Garter (1578)

Hans Holbein is sent to Germany to paint Anne and Amelia of Cleves (1539)

William Shakespeare is born (1564)


Mary, Queen of Scots marries the Dauphin of France (1558)

Mary, Queen of Scots is abducted by Lord Bothwell to Dunbar Castle (1567)


Elizabeth I is excommunicated (1570)

Funeral of Elizabeth I (1603)



Henry VIII sanctions the arrest of Mark Smeaton (1536)

Act of Succession (1536) – only children of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn could inherit the throne