I stood in the empty throne room, looking at King William’s chair and the tapestries hanging on the walls. Theses tapestries, commissioned by King Henry VIII, are second in value only to the crown jewels. They are made of silver and gold thread and weigh an astonishing 800 pounds. Each one is worth the cost of a modern-day battleship.
I held my camera up and took a picture.
“You just committed a criminal offense.”
I spun around to see a security guard in the room.
“Sorry?” I politely inquired while I was thinking, should I offer to delete the picture? Would that keep me out of jail?
“You turned your back on the throne. That would have been treasonous in the days of King William and Queen Mary.”
“Oh, ha ha, so silly of me,” I smiled awkwardly at him and hurried out the room. I guess all the tales of King Henry VII were getting to me.
Last Monday, I visited Hampton Court Palace, the castle where King Henry met Anne Boleyn and wooed his lovers. Before I finally gave up on the cheesy audio guide, I had been listening to the different kinds of punishment Henry would dole out to his subjects—the punishment he is most known for, of course, is the chopping block.
Luckily, I visited in 21st century where that sort of punishment is frowned upon. Still, walking through the castle, I kept commenting to Maggie that people actually lived here. That Saint Thomas More and Lady Jane Gray walked this same corridor or ate in this same hall.
I have a special affinity to the Tudor reign, which is why I was annoyed to discover that King William and Queen Mary wanted to rebuild the Tudor castle, but ran out of money half way through the project. So the castle ended up looking like this:
Half baroque, half Tudor.
A strange combination, made even stranger by the fact that the garden layout is Victorian.
All the same, I’m glad I got to see this quirky castle and even gladder to retain my pictures….and my head!
(Bad historic pun, sorry.)