Hi my lovely readers!
England is famous for its monarchs, amazing old historic manner houses, palaces and of course beautiful and stunning landscapes.
And in London some of the most known, famous and possibly significant palaces of the country’s history can be found. So you are spoiled for choice. These are:
- The Tower of London – Famous for the Crown Jewels
- Kensington Palace – The birthplace of Queen Victoria and currently the home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – Kate and William
- Hampton Court Palace – Home of King Henry VIII – known for his six marriages
I would recommend seeing all of them if you can. They are all different and have something unique to offer. Of course the most obvious choice for many tourists coming to London is The Tower of London as it is right in the city center. However, choose wisely, which palace you want to and can visit.
Here is a brief overview of these unique and fascinating royal palaces.
TOWER OF LONDON
The Tower of London is one of the most visited sights in the UK and is possibly the best known out of the three Historic Royal Palaces in London for keeping the crown jewels safe.
It was build as a castle at the end of the 11th century and got its name from the White Tower, the central tower which was the strongest military point and accommodation space for the king and his representatives.
Although once being a castle, the The Tower of London is best known for serving as a prison for several centuries, even up to World War II.
Other functions that the Tower of London served were an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, a public record office and being home of the Royal Mint for over 800 years and of course the Crown Jewels of England.
Kensington Palace was originally built in the 17th century for Sir George Coppin as his home. Even back then Kensington was a wealthy area where the successful businessmen who made their fortune in government and trade lived.
Over the years changes to the palace were made, its design was altered and it was enlarged to become the royal residence of William III around 1670s.
Many kings and queens were born, raised and even died in Kensington Palace – Queen Anne passed away at the palace in 1714 as well as George II in 1760 and Queen Victoria was born there in 1819.
The interior of the grand rooms of Kensington Palace, most of it can still be admired today, was designed by William Kent. He was commissioned by George I (1714-27) to fill the palace with art and fine furniture in the 18th-century stile and apperance.
As mentioned, up to this date Kensington Palace serves as a residence for the British royal family. Princess Diana lived there before she died in 1997 and today, it is the home of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children.
HAMPTON COURT PALACE
And the last palace to talk about today is Hampton Court Palace. I am biased here as I live 10 minutes by bike away from Hampton Court and have visited it many, many times. It is my favourite palace.
Hampton Court is best known for being home of Henry VIII, who is renowned for his six marriages, killing some of his wifes as well as his initiation of the English Reformation, which lead to the separation of the Church of England from the control of the pope in Italy.
In the early 16th century, Hampton Court Palace was at first build for Cardinal Wolsey, who was an archbishop. He fell out of favour with Henry VIII after failing to negotiate the annulment of his marriage to Cathrine of Aragon. Ultimately, Cardinal Wolsey was stripped of his residence and Henry VIII took over the palace.
The palace is a celebration of tudor and baroque style in one as different monarchs added their own taste and preference to the palace and made alterations, changes and updates.
The last monarch using Hampton Court Palace as a royal residence was George II. By 1737, he no longer wanted to stay in Hampton Court. As a result, the palace was used to house grace and favour residents, up to the 1960s, such as aristocratic widows in straitened circumstances. They were offered free accommodation in return for their husband’s services to the monarch.
In 1838, Queen Victoria opened the doors of Hampton Court Palace to the public as a gesture of generosity and it has remained open ever since for visitors from all over the world to enjoy and admire.