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The Royal Homes of Elizabeth I

On November 17, 1558, Princess Elizabeth Tudor was sitting beneath an oak tree at her Hatfield estate when she received the news that she was now Queen of England. Some hours later the new Queen’s Great Council of State was held in the Great Hall, seated under the canopy of estate.

During her childhood years and before becoming Queen in 1558, Princess Elizabeth was moved around a succession of Royal homes and under the reign of Mary I. Elizabeth was suspected of involvement in a plot against her half-sister, Queen Mary I, and in March 1554 was imprisoned in the Tower of London. No evidence was ever proved against her and she was released later that year. On 14 January, 1559, Elizabeth returned to the Tower under very different circumstances, and after the traditional celebrations, she left the fortress to ride through the City of London to her coronation at Westminster Abbey.

According to one foreign visitor during Elizabeth’s reign, Hampton Court was the most splendid and magnificent royal Palace of any that may be found in England or, indeed any other Kingdom. Although Elizabeth did not build during her reign, traces of her work on Hampton Court still remain.  For example, the easternmost kitchen – the Queen’s private or privy kitchen – is now the Privy Kitchen Coffee Shop. There is also a bay window inscribed 1568 that can be seen from the Pond Gardens.  Even without significant changes, half a century after Henry VIII had built Hampton Court Palace, it was still among the most impressive in Europe. With its lavishly decorated rooms, rich hangings and furniture, Hampton Court was designed to inspire awe. During Elizabeth’s reign, Hampton Court was used to stage lavish court entertainments, with dramatic performances and court masques.

This tour is hosted by Julian Humphrys and author, historian and broadcaster Dr Tracy Borman will be the guest speaker.

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