Hampton Court Palace, West Front
Postmarked & dated 1905.
The original Tudor Hampton Court Palace was begun by Cardinal Wolsey in the early 16th century, but it soon attracted the attention of Henry VIII, who brought all his six wives here. Surrounded by gorgeous gardens and famous features such as the Maze and the Great Vine, the palace has been the setting for many nationally important events. When William III and Mary II (1689-1702) took the throne in 1689, they commissioned Sir Christopher Wren to build an elegant new baroque palace. Later, Georgian kings and princes occupied the splendid interiors. When the royals left in 1737, impoverished ‘grace and favour’ aristocrats moved in.
Historic Royal Palaces
Building of the palace began in 1515 for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, a favourite of King Henry VIII. In 1529, as Wolsey fell from favour, the cardinal gave the palace to the king to check his disgrace. The palace went on to become one of Henry’s most favoured residences; soon after acquiring the property, he arranged for it to be enlarged so that it might more easily accommodate his sizeable retinue of courtiers. Along with St James’ Palace, it is one of only two surviving palaces out of the many the king owned. The palace is currently in the possession of Queen Elizabeth II and the Crown. In the following century, King William III’s massive rebuilding and expansion work, which was intended to rival the Palace of Versailles, destroyed much of the Tudor palace. His work ceased in 1694, leaving the palace in two distinct contrasting architectural styles, domestic Tudor and Baroque
Clock Court, Hampton Court
Thomas Wolsey, Archbishop of York, chief minister to and favourite of Henry VIII, took over the site of Hampton Court Palace in 1514.It had previously been a property of the Order of St John of Jerusalem. Over the following seven years, Wolsey spent lavishly (200,000 Crowns) to build the finest palace in England at Hampton Court. Today, little of Wolsey’s building work remains unchanged. The first courtyard, the Base Court was his creation, as was the second, inner gatehouse which leads to the Clock Court (Wolsey’s seal remains visible over the entrance arch of the clock tower) which contained his private rooms. The Base Court contained forty-four lodgings reserved for guests, while the second court (today, Clock Court) contained the very best rooms – the state apartments – reserved for the King and his family.
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