Hampton Court, BBC PROMS

This post is for Tuesday, July 26

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The River Thames is one way to reach the palace of the Tudors. However, we took the train.

 

One of my favorite places to go is Hampton Court.  I don’t know why.  It is so tied up in the history of the Tudors I guess.  I was always fascinated with this time in British history.  Henry, his wives, Elizabeth I.  Initially, it was the clothes I think.  It isn’t particularly attractive but, I loved them all the same.  Once I understood that, then maybe it was the intrigue at court and the drama that played out during this time.

Last time I visited, just walking the paths and the rooms, you can feel the history.  I think it is, for me, like walking the beaches of Galveston, TX.  The history is right there and I connect with it more than most other places.  We took an early train.  Hampton Court is about a 40 minute trip by train even though it is only 11 miles or so from London.  In Henry’s day they rode the river down.  We walked across the river and through the palace gates.  There are essentially two sides to this palace.  The guide book states, ” . . .where you get two palaces for the price of one.  The rose red brick Tudor palace is indelibly associated with Henry VIII.  The baroque palace, first occupied in 1700, has some of the world’s greatest gardens around it.” 

The palace was a gift to Henry VIII from Cardinal Wolsey in 1525.  It was the mainstay palace of English kings and queens until Queen Caroline’s death in 1737.  After that, George II made only rare appearances and began the tradition of letting out unused apartments to “genteel older ladies deserving of royal grace and favour.”

 

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The entry door to the inner courtyard. Impressive.

 

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A number of these guys line the entrance leading up to the entrance to the main courtyard. They are all different and unique.

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In the courtyard. These carved wooden figures, the lady seemingly begging and the gentleman passed out drunk have been added since my last visit. There are several others around the courtyard. The fountain is a recreation of a wine fountain made for Henry in 1520.

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Carving above the entry.

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The tapestries in the Great Hall and the adjoining room, The Great Watching Chamber are magnificent. That they exist at all is amazing. This is from the Great Hall.

 

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A more detailed image of a tapestry from the Great Watching Chamber.

 

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This stained glass bay window (for lack of better term) was probably added later during William III’s rebuilding. He did retain the beautiful ceiling which you can see a little of at the top. For a more detailed view, you can see my post from the 2014 visit to Hampton Court.

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These ghostly figures have been added since my last visit. They are like the ones we saw at Kensington Palace.

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The Queen’s Privy Chamber.

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The Queen’s Drawing Room.

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This gallery on William’s side contains a number of Grecian and Roman statues.

 

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The inner courtyard. The structure is the outside of the Great Hall from Henry’s time.

 

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The beautiful gardens date from the improvements made by William III.

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Adjacent to the Privy Garden are two smaller gardens. Unfortunately, you can never walk in them. Probably fortunately. That’s why they look as good as they do.

 

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Outside the small garden from above.

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It was a beautiful day in those gardens.

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One last shot before we head back to London. This is on the staircase leading up (or down) to/from William III’s apartments.

Before leaving Hampton Court, we had lunch in the Queen’s (Elizabeth) Privy Kitchen, visited the Tennis Courts and the kitchen’s of Henry VIII.  The train ride back to London gave us a moment to decompress and relax.  In the evening, Kerri was off to see a show and Christina suggested we head over to Royal Albert Hall to see a PROMS concert.

The BBC PROMS are held almost nightly during an 8 week period in the summer.  You can buy gallery tickets for 6 pds and stand in the gallery.  We bought our tickets and went in to a magnificent space.  We stayed for only part of the concert because we were both tired by the time we got in but, I am grateful for the chance to see the inside of that beautiful space and the concert was glorious.  Next visit we committed to getting a seat so we could enjoy the whole concert.  Ironically, the piece we heard was based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest by Tchaikovsky.

 

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The outside of Royal Albert Hall.

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The inside is just as beautiful as the outside – maybe more.

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