For centuries, Hampton Court has been a place of power, scandal and intrigue: a stage for events that shaped the nation. The Palace raises the curtain on 500 years of British history with royals, politicians, criminals, and geniuses all playing their parts.
Hampton Court has been an arc of monarchy, revolution, religious fundamentalism, sexual scandals, and military coups. In this rich and vivid history, Gareth Russell moves through the rooms and the decades, each time focusing on a different person who called Hampton Court their home.
Beginning with the Tudors, Russell takes the reader from the kitchens of Henry VII and the dreams of Anne Boleyn to Elizabeth I’s brush with death and the staging of Shakespeare’s plays. To the commissioning of the King James Bible, the republican victories of Oliver Cromwell, the many mistresses of Charles II and their laxative-laced attempts to embarrass one another. The gossip and feuds of Georgian aristocrats lead into the era of the Windsors when Hampton Court becomes the place to host Elizabeth II’s coronation ball and hide the last Tsar’s sister.
Fascinating and engaging, The Palace is as atmospheric as it is gossipy and through the many sovereigns and servants that lived and worked in its halls reveals the personal tragedy and political importance of this extraordinary place.