Stunning architecture. Beautifully sculptured gardens. Hampton Court Palace is a must visit for history lovers. Yet beyond the beauty lies a much spookier past.
Lush sculptured gardens spread out before you from the palace forecourt. Footsteps echo on the stone floor of the corridors and remind you that you are not alone. Hampton Court Palace was once a thriving hub for British royalty centuries before but today it is a museum visited by thousands of people from around the globe. With over 500 years of royal history, kings and queens were not the only inhabitants of the palace. The haunting image of a spectre caught on security CCTV in 2003 brought to the world’s attention the inhabitants of a more spiritual nature.
Ghost sightings have been attributed to the dramatic series of events in Tudor times. Henry VIII, perhaps the most famous tenant, inhabited the palace with his six unfortunate wives. Two of whom are rumoured to still haunt the hallways.
It is hard to imagine the evil that went on inside the palace during the Tudor years of Henry Viii, as you sit in the garden and take in the serene beauty of lush green lawn, delicately planted roses and gorgeous fountains. The slow trickle from the nearby fountain lulls you into a sense of peacefulness.
Take a walk around the gardens and discover the small maze that the public can attempt to get lost inside. However, on my trip through this maze I was disappointed to find the middle so quickly.
Inside the palace it is cool and a jacket is required to shield one from the cool temperatures. Footsteps echo on the stone floor, as you explore the hallways of this amazing building. Imagine you are walking the dimly lit halls of the palace during Tudor times. You see Henry VIII and his chief huntsman preparing for the hunt. Jane Seymour going about the daily duties required of her. Jane came to the court and spent six years as a lady in waiting to Henry’s first two wives, Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. Jane was the daughter of the chief huntsman who caught the eye of Henry and after a whirlwind courtship, she soon was married to him after the demise of wife number two.
Jane was the only wife to bear a son (Edward) in 1537. However, soon after childbirth she became ill and died. Although Jane’s death was October 24, witnesses have reported that Jane tends to revisit the palace on October 12 each year. She can be seen walking the cobbled courtyards dressed in a flowing white gown and carrying a single lit candle. October 12 is a significant date because of the birth of her son Edward. It is rumoured that perhaps she still searches for him. As you tour the palace and enter Jane’s room, there is evidence of an ice cold gust of wind that brushes passed you.
Hampton Court Palace runs evening ghost tours throughout the year. Further information is available on their website.