I am fascinated by Henry VIII, have been ever since I saw “Anne of the Thousand Days” way back in the day, a movie about Henry VIII and his relationship to Anne Boleyn. He was a piece of work, but after visiting Hampton Court, I have a little more empathy for how difficult life was for him. Not a LOT, mind you, but some.
There really WAS a lot of pressure in those days to produce a male heir, and he just couldn’t seem to get it done. The Tudor line was in jeopardy of ceasing to exist, which is what ultimately happened. We were reminded of the rhyme English school children learn to remember what happened to his wives – divorced, beheaded, died – divorced, beheaded, survived. But really, it wasn’t about just getting “action.” He could have done that with mistresses – he was really desperate to produce a male heir. Ultimately, he did have a son, who was crowned King Edward VI at the age of 9 and died before his 16th birthday. After that, both of his daughters, Mary and then when she died childless, Elizabeth, ruled as queens.
And do you find hosting a party to be stressful? Back in those days the gentry expected to be wined and dined on a grand scale, and for a king to not deliver was just unimaginable. The amounts of food and drink they consumed at the palace were incredible. The King stayed there until there was no more food to be had in the countryside, then had to move to another palace/castle until that area was depleted. Unbelievable.
Anyway, his palace at Hampton Court was beautiful and the displays very informative. There are really two parts of the castle, the part Henry the VIII was responsible for, and the part that King William and Queen Mary were responsible for adding later. There is SO much to see and read that we ran out of time after just Henry’s part. The rest will have to wait for another visit.
Once again, I spent the day with my camera glued to my face.
It will come as no big surprise how much I am enjoying the gardens at these Palaces and Castles. I don’t know if it will be enough to actually get me excited about MY garden again, but there’s that stirring…