Tuesday, July 25, 2006


This is how I feel today, like a rose wilting in the heat.


The heat wave continues, but we spent the day at one of the most fascinating places we’ve visited yet. Hampton Court Palace began as the home of Thomas Cardinal Wolsey and some of the rooms of this original structure still remain. They feature elaborate carved ceilings and walls inspired by the Italian Renaissance. Within ten years Henry VIII had taken over the palace and added several rooms, making Hampton one of his favorite pleasure palaces. This is where Jane Seymour gave birth to Henry’s only son, Edward, and died twelve days later. It is said that her ghost still roams the staircase. James I also spent time at Hampton Court, and it was here that he commissioned a new English translation of the Bible. Willliam and Mary rebuilt the palace during their reign, adding a new wing design by Christopher Wren. After William and Mary few royal families used the palace. Queen Victoria finally restored it and opened it to the public in 1838.

This span of history and renovation is what makes Hampton Court so fascinating. Walking through the rooms is a tour of architectural styles, from Tudor to English Baroque. You can feel the history and the impact events had on architecture as you walk from room to room.


The front of the palace has a foreboding, medieval feel.

Wren’s addition on the back is light and refined. It’s hard to believe this is the same building. This central courtyard separates the wings.

Other details reveal the variety of Hampton Court.



The gardens are just as remarkable in their beauty and history. We are here during a drought and record heat. I can just imagine what this looks like in the spring.




The juxtapositions of the day continued as I left and found this.


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