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June 25, 2012 / Stephanie Vermillion

Hampton Court Palace with a Henry VIII mindset

For being an anti-chauvinist/believer in women’s rights (a genetic trait from my mom), I’m surprisingly intrigued by the womanizing, objectifying King Henry VIII. Sure he had six wives and beheaded most of them, but for some reason I’m more curious than disgusted by him. I’ll blame that on my fascination with royal court gossip, particularly the Tudors and the Boleyn family.

Hampton Court Palace, England

Hampton Court Palace, England

During his reign, King Henry VIII spent most of his life growing up and ruling England at the historical Hampton Court Palace. Therefore, I had to visit (and download The Other Boleyn Girl on the way).

The Hampton Court Palace itself is a beautiful, large building with acres upon acres of top-knotch gardens. While taking in the splendor of it all, I couldn’t help but imagine myself transported to Hampton Court in the 1500s, surrounded by plotting, secrecy, and royal festivities, including balls, feasts and (in the case of Henry VIII), many, many weddings.

Yes, it may be obvious I’m already captivated by my new Kindle book, The Other Boleyn Girl (I’ve only seen the movie and have been saving the book for this semester in London). But have a look at Hampton Court Palace with a Henry VIII/1500s mindset, and you’ll see the intrigue and awe that comes from knowing you’re walking in royal, Tudor family footsteps. To be realistic (and safe from Henry VIII’s grasp), I imagined myself as a lowly servant … but that’s even better, because that’s where you hear the real gossip (according to Philippa).

My day in the 1500s Royal Court life:

Hampton Court Palace, England

Ushering palace visitors down this main entrance to be accepted into King Henry VIII’s quarters … 

Hampton Court Palace, England

And making my way back to the kitchen in time to prepare for King Henry VIII’s big feast (word on the street is the Boleyn family’s attending!) … 

Hampton Court Palace, England

Before feasting, the King has his advisors sit around this circular room to update him on court gossip and news to ensure no one knows more than and no one’s a threat to Henry VIII (because if they are, it’s time for the chopping block) … 

Upon returning to finish the feast preparations, I spot the Boleyn family strolling through the Hampton Court Palace Gardens, whispering suspiciously about something important (yes, this part may be slightly influenced by my recent reading choices) … 

Hampton Court Palace, England

Can’t forget to stock up on Henry’s wine, he’s known for having the best feasts with the best wines around …

Hampton Court Palace, England

And finally, it’s time to feast, King Henry VIII style. But strangely he seems to be less interested in wife, Katherine of Aragon, and more so fixated on a certain Anne Boleyn in the crowd — a foreboding of troubles to come … and the premise for a bestseller 500-some years later! 

Hampton Court Palace, England

And that’s the end of your time-travel tour, but if you’re desperate for more (like most of you, I’m sure), I’d recommend picking up a copy of The Other Boleyn Girl or downloading The Tudors.

If not, well … refer back to my recent foodventures, because history fanatic or not, food makes everything interesting and enjoyable. Just ask Henry VIII, the king with a 52-inch waist.


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