Royalty and Palaces
here were over 20 royal palaces in the London area in Tudor times. King Henry VIII was passionate about architecture. By the end of his reign he had over 50 houses, more than any other monarch, before or since. Henry inherited houses from his father (Henry VII), acquired them from courtiers or during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and built new ones.
The royal family did not stay in one place for very long. They would move around from palace to palace and the court would go with them. The servants would travel ahead to set up each palace in advance, installing furniture and the family's belongings for each visit. The king and queen would stay in different sets of rooms with their own servants. Favoured courtiers would be given rooms as well. The court consisted of several hundred people (nobles, ministers, friends and servants) so moving around could be very complicated.
Hampton Court Palace
enry VIII had many palaces. One of the most magnificent was Hampton Court Palace, which he took over from his disgraced chief minister Cardinal Wolsey. Henry spent ten years rebuilding and extending the palace, creating luxurious rooms to stay in.
Introduction to Hampton Court Palace
Find out more about how King Henry VIII used Hampton Court Palace
Master William Thynne explains the arrangements for the wedding of King Henry VIII and Katherine Parr
Introduction to the Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace
Find out about Henry VIII's luxurious tapestries in the Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace
Find out what the Great Watching Chamber was for at Hampton Court Palace
Find out how courtiers at Hampton Court Palace passed their time and tried to get noticed by the king
Find out what guest accommodation was like in Base Court at Hampton Court Palace
Find out how guests were expected to behave when they stayed in Base Court at Hampton Court Palace
Find out what life was like for guests at Hampton Court Palace and who stayed there
Find out how Hampton Court palace was decorated with the symbols of Henry VIII and his wives
Find out what the queen's rooms were like at Hampton Court
Find out how Queen Elizabeth I heated her bathroom
Tile from a stove decorated with the initials 'ER' for Queen Elizabeth I
Find out about the toilets at Hampton Court Palace
Find out how important the River Thames was at Hampton Court Palace
Find out how the gardens were decorated at Hampton Court Palace
Find out about jousting and other entertainments that took place in royal palaces
Find out about Henry VIII's amazing astronomical clock at Hampton Court
Master William Thynne explains about jobs at Hampton Court Palace
Find out how supplies were delivered to Hampton Court Palace
See inside the Clerk's Office at Hampton Court Palace
Find out what life was like for pages at Hampton Court Palace
Master William Thynne explains how the Board of the Green Cloth runs Hampton Court Palace
Nonsuch was a spectacular hunting lodge, built by Henry VIII in Surrey. Its name meant 'none like it' and it was decorated on the outside with carved, gilded slate and plaster statues. The palace was destroyed in the 17th century but its remains have been found by archaeologists, helping us to understand what the building looked like and about life inside.
Find out how Henry VIII's palace of Nonsuch was decorated
Henry VIII's palace of Nonsuch, 1541-1547
Carved slate decorations from Henry VIII's palace of Nonsuch, 1541-1547
Moulded plaster (stucco) decorations from Henry VIII's palace of Nonsuch, 1541-1547
The Wedding of Henry
VIII and Katherine Parr
ing Henry VIII married Katherine Parr on 12 July 1543, his last wife, at Hampton Court Palace. The king was 52 years old and Katherine was 31. Katherine was a widow who had been married twice before. Her previous husband had been 20 years older than her and ill for a long time before he died. This meant she was well able to care for a man like Henry VIII, who suffered from many health problems as he grew older. Before Henry asked Katherine to marry him, she had hoped to marry the love of her life, Thomas Seymour, but she felt it was her duty to marry the king instead.
Katherine was a very kind, friendly and lively person who got on well with the king's children. She loved music, dancing and learning. She was a skilled nurse – she looked after Henry who was in great pain from ulcers on his leg. Katherine also helped to run the country when Henry was in France in 1544. When the king died in 1547, Katherine was finally free to marry Thomas Seymour.