Monday, 19 December 2016

Palaces in the Snow: Hampton Court

The trees of Hampton Court looking ready for Christmas
(photo Andrew Halliday via Flickr)

The scene of many a Tudor Christmas, Hampton Court is a picture perfect palace in the snow. Its red brick walls look particularly festive under a blanket of flakes. As Christmas week gets under way, here's a palace made for snow.

Hampton Court was originally brought to glamour and greatness by Cardinal Wolsey but when he began to fall out with Henry VIII, he gave it to the king who continued the elaborate building works begun by his one time trusted minister. Wolsey fell from grace in 1530 and died soon afterwards - by that time, Henry's work at Hampton Court was turning it into one of the most magnificent buildings in England.

Henry added the Great Hall and extensive kitchens as Hampton Court became one of the main residences of his court. His son, Edward VI, was born at the palace and it was a seat of royal power during his reign and those of his two half sisters, Mary I and Elizabeth I. The Stuarts used it frequently as well.

The Georgian monarchs spent increasing amounts of time in London away from this jewel on the Thames. In the 20th century, it housed grace and favour apartments. Extensive restoration was carried out after a fire in 1986. In 2010, it was the setting for the Queen's Christmas speech. Many parts of the palace are open to visitors all year round meaning a chance to see this palace in the snow comes every winter.

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