Thursday, 28 October 2010

History made real

My MIL (mother in law) has been staying with us for 2 weeks. This gives us a chance to be tourists in our own city and on Monday we visited Hampton Court Palace.

After a ridiculously horrid journey we were happy to arrive at the serenity of the Palace. I was very impressed with the helpful staff in their bright red uniforms, the cloaks that you can borrow for free to roam about like a courtier (a real hit with our tot who looked very cute in the red one), the amazing clock that shows the time, phases of the moon, astrological chart, and month of the year, the maze and the very manicured gardens. The rooms displaying the life of young Henry VIII were particularly effective using three chairs in each room to show the changing dynamic between Henry, his first wife Katherine of Aragon and Cardinal Wolsey. It was difficult not to feel for both Katherine and Henry in the room showing how many children they had and how many died. Henry had more kids in his lifetime many of whom died. I wonder how he felt about that...I know in that day it was common for children to die but still, it must have been hard for the young king.
As we walked around the Kitchens, I got a sense of the work needed to make the Palace run.
After Henry we went on to see King William III's history. He and Queen Mary II tried to knock the whole Tudor glory down to replace it with Baroque modernity but were defeated by bad luck. The most impressive room in this part was the one showing masses of weapons arranged on walls in intricate patterns (yes, my crochet head was seeing possibilities here) and the walk through the different State rooms.
If you enjoy real history then take out a mortgage (it ain't cheap) to visit the Palace but keep away from the cafe ...I found a hair in my sandwich. Yuk yuk yuk.


Raven said...

That's a nice place to take your MIL. Nice pics. Co-incidently we visited HCP last autumn, though just the gardens not the house. It was very impressive, though I was disappointed with the famous maze - it seemed so tiny compared to some others we've been to.

I saw recently, if I'm not mistaken, that you could get a direct river boat from Greenwich to HCP, though I imagine it would be a long-ish journey.

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