Secrets of Henry VIII's Palace   View more episodes

Aired at 02:00 AM on Monday, Jul 01, 2013 (7/1/2013)      View all transcripts from this day


00:00:02Forever linked to Henry VIII and his many wives.
00:00:07As soon as you say the words Hampton Court, you think of Henry VIII.
00:00:10It was at the heart of royal life, at the heart of scandal.
00:00:18NARRATOR: Behind the grand facade lie the dark secrets of the British Royals.
00:00:24Extraordinary lives of passion and excess.
00:00:29This is the world of Hampton Court Palace.
00:00:46(Ringing) ANNOUNCER: Explore new worlds and new ideas through programs like this, made available for everyone through contributions to your PBS station from viewers like you.
00:01:01Thank you.
00:01:04NARRATOR: One of the greatest surviving medieval palaces of the world.
00:01:11Just ten miles from London, the River Thames links Hampton Court with the capital city.
00:01:18Each year, hundreds of thousands of visitors tour its palatial rooms and the 60 acres of formal, landscaped gardens.
00:01:31This is the story of the kings and queens who created Hampton Court, each adding their own taste and style, each contributing to this unique fusion of architectural styles.
00:01:44Suzannah lipscomb: Hampton Court's story is a tale of two palaces.
00:01:47It's these two palaces abutting each other with this very, very different architecture, different historical times, and you can walk over these threshol from one palace to the other.
00:02:01NARRATOR: Every part of Hampton Court Palace holds its own secrets.
00:02:07Some of the greatest characters in British royal history have graced these walls.
00:02:13For some, the palace became a gilded cage.
00:02:16Within these walls they lived out a hidden story, love and relationships eroded by power and jealousy.
00:02:29Hampton Court definitely has a darker side.
00:02:32Yes, it's this splendid, sumptuous, beautiful palace but I think the history of it, particularly in Henry's reign, has left its mark.
00:02:40NARRATOR: Henry VIII was Hampton Court's first royal resident.
00:02:45History's most infamous monarch, big, brash, larger than life.
00:02:51Six wives came and went in a brutal and bloody reign.
00:02:57Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived.
00:03:05They were the center of everything one minute and they were having their head cut off the next.
00:03:09And they all left their mark on Hampton Court.
00:03:15NARRATOR: The palace played host to every wife.
00:03:18The Great Hall where Anne Boleyn once danced with her king.
00:03:24The chapel that hides Jane Seymour's heart and lungs beneath its altar.
00:03:29The Haunted Gallery where Katherine Howard begged for her life.
00:03:41Crowned king aged just 18, young Henry Tudor had almost infinite wealth and infinite power.
00:03:48With scores of palaces to choose from, Hampton Court was his summer favorite.
00:03:54This was his pleasure palace.
00:03:56Vast parklands for hunting and sport, sumptuous rooms for entertaining and extravagance.
00:04:03Henry had between 50 and 60 palaces.
00:04:07He invested so much money in building and buying palaces.
00:04:10And he could move from palace to palace along the river.
00:04:13Hampton Court was in the countryside and it was a place where he could go for fun and to just enjoy himself.
00:04:21NARRATOR: Completed in 1515, the newly-built palace was the pinnacle of Tudor fashion and style.
00:04:28But the grandest house in the land wasn't built by Henry VIII.
00:04:33It was designed as the home of the king's closest advisor, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey.
00:04:39As chancellor, Wolsey was the second most important man in the land.
00:04:45LIPSCOMB: Thomas Wolsey was the king's chief minister for almost 15 years.
00:04:50He managed all the business of running the estate, and at this time Henry liked to play more than he liked to do business, so Wolsey kept that all away from him and kept the king happy.
00:05:03Jonathan foyle: Wolsey is about to become a cardinal in 1515 and it's in January of that year that his workmen arrive with their cranes and their ropes and the materials by the side of the River Thames.
00:05:12And they transform a pretty humble manor of the Knights Hospitaller into this extraordinary palace.
00:05:20This is a cardinal's palace built on a European scale.
00:05:25NARRATOR: Wolsey spent lavishly on the palace.
00:05:28The patronage of a king had brought him wealth beyond measure.
00:05:33Dignitaries from across Europe were beating a path to his door and Wolsey needed a home to match his prestige.
00:05:43He spared no expense and used red brick, the new wonder material of the day.
00:05:53Hampton Court changed the rules of the game.
00:05:54This thing was absolutely enormous and it glittered.
00:05:55Not just the brick itself, but the fact that the brick was painted in red and then it was painted in black to give you the diamond pattern.
00:06:06And then all the white mortar joints were painted on top.
00:06:09This thing was like an illustration of itself.
00:06:13It was in Technicolor.
00:06:16NARRATOR: But building a home fit for a king can be a dangerous game.
00:06:21The opulence of Wolsey's home provoked gossip that it was richer than any royal palace.
00:06:27The cardinal needed to be careful.
00:06:28Upsetting Henry could cost you your head.
00:06:32What Wolsey says is, "I'm building it on your behalf, Your Highness, "of course I am, of course that's what I'm doing." Cos he's got to...
00:06:38He's got to keep two people happy.
00:06:40One is the pope and the other one is the king.
00:06:43So you see Roman emperors in the courtyard, you see the sign of him being a cardinal, but you also see the accommodation for the king, who is a frequent visitor.
00:06:55NARRATOR: Wolsey was also keen to ingratiate himself with Henry's wife.
00:07:01Catherine of Aragon was a blue-blooded Spanish princess and her marriage to the king cemented a key political alliance.
00:07:12Her own royal emblem is etched into the stonework of Hampton Court.
00:07:16The seeds of the pomegranate fruit represent the potency of her kingdom.
00:07:22It's really poignant, isn't it?
00:07:23Because you've got the pomegranates and you've got the rose, the Tudor rose of Henry VIII.
00:07:26And this says everything you need to know about what he thought about their relationship early on.
00:07:31That that was it, it was permanent.
00:07:32So permanent that he'd carved it into the very stonework of the palace.
00:07:37NARRATOR: It seems Henry was truly dedicated to his wife.
00:07:41He and Catherine were together for nearly 24 years, longer than all his other marriages put together.
00:07:49BORMAN: Catherine started off as Henry's true love, and she was this beautiful, blond-haired Spanish princess, very exotic.
00:07:57He was very gallant in his courtship of Catherine.
00:08:03NARRATOR: Henry and Catherine were frequent visitors to Hampton Court.
00:08:08And kings do not travel light.
00:08:12LUCY WORSLEY: The way that Tudor palaces work is that the king doesn't live in one of them all the time.
00:08:17But when he did come into town, he would bring with him his 800 courtiers, and then the place was absolutely packed.
00:08:25NARRATOR: The logistics were terrifying.
00:08:26Almost a thousand people suddenly needing to be fed in regal style.
00:08:33This is the entrance to Hampton Court's kitchens.
00:08:35The largest surviving 16th century kitchens in the world.
00:08:40MARC MELTONVILLE: When the court of King Henry VIII arrived here at Hampton Court, these kitchens burst into life.
00:08:46You're at the heart of a food factory.
00:08:50It's like the back of a supermarket.
00:08:51There are carts coming in every minute being unpacked, the food being moved to stores.
00:08:56This dead space suddenly filled with 200 cooks desperate to get that royal meal on the table.
00:09:03Six hundred, maybe a thousand people want their dinner twice a day.
00:09:08NARRATOR: The workload was immense.
00:09:10The cooks would toil from dawn until dusk.
00:09:13The kitchen's walls were regularly whitewashed to keep the room as bright as possible, allowing the cooks to work even as darkness fell.
00:09:22The palace feasts, headed by King Henry at the top table, would last for seven hours or more.
00:09:29Meltonville: These kitchens for Henry are part of his magnificence, his status.
00:09:34Everything about this palace has to be the very best.
00:09:37From the decoration upstairs to the clothes the king's wearing and the food he eats and the food he gives you, that's more important.
00:09:45The Tudor court just loved its roasted meat, it was at the heart of every feast.
00:09:50You've got a f that belonged to Henry VIII and there it is, burning still.
00:09:55Before you can do anything, you're going to have to have a really big...
00:10:00Ooh! A roasting fire.
00:10:03Looking at about a ton of fuel a day going onto each fire.
00:10:06That's a lot of money.
00:10:09You need something to put the meat on.
00:10:12You need a spit.
00:10:14And not one there, but loads for every fireplace.
00:10:19And to make anything cook on here, someone's got to turn the handle.
00:10:23Not once or twice, but all the time.
00:10:27NARRATOR: Each fire would hit 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit.
00:10:31And there were at least six in every roasting room.
00:10:34I'm really starting to get quite hot stood here.
00:10:36And if I worked here, I'd have to keep getting hot.
00:10:40Another log to keep it fueled.
00:10:41And they talk about these kitchens being a veritable hell.
00:10:45The guys sat here are just sweating buckets.
00:10:47The heat from this fire and the five others are radiating out into the room.
00:10:51So it is like being in a furnace.
00:10:54Now we know that you were allowed to drink quite a lot of beer here at Hampton Court.
00:10:57Just an ordinary worker got one gallon a day as his allowance.
00:11:01But working by the fires is even better.
00:11:03There is no limit to the beer you can have.
00:11:06NARRATOR: Hampton Court's bar tab included 600,000 gallons of beer a year.
00:11:1210,000 gallons and more a week.
00:11:15(Cheering) The revelry at the palace knew few limits.
00:11:19And Henry led the festivities from the front.
00:11:23Contrary to his popular image today, young King Henry was a handsome and dashing figure.
00:11:29At the beginning of his reign, he was 18 years old and he was exceptionally good looking.
00:11:35He was 6"2' when the average height for a man was five foot seven and a half.
00:11:38He was athletic, he was good at everything he turned his hand to, whether it was playing musical instruments, whether it was surpassing all the archers of his guarded archery, or as a capital horseman.
00:11:49And he was also said to be very warm, very generous, very charismatic.
00:11:57NARRATOR: Henry's friends were like-minded young men, courtiers that could match him for energy and enthusiasm.
00:12:04In Henry VIII's day, it would have been a place of great fun and I think we can understand this best by realizing how young most of the men at court were.
00:12:13They're in their late teens, they're in their early 20s, they're boisterous, they're having fun, and so the court was actually like taking a load of teenagers traveling around the country.
00:12:23It would have been a place of... Of noise and naughtiness.
00:12:30NARRATOR: Hampton Court Palace became the ultimate royal playground.
00:12:35This is the palace's 16th century tennis court.
00:12:37One of the oldest sporting venues in the world.
00:12:43Part of a leisure complex designed to entertain the young king and his courtiers.
00:12:49ROMAN KRZNARIC: ere's been a court here for 600 years.
00:12:52In fact, some of the walls were the ones that Henry will have hit a ball against.
00:12:57It's like a living museum.
00:13:00NARRATOR: Real tennis is the modern name for the antiquated form of the sport.
00:13:05One of its most avid fans is author and historian Roman Krznaric.
00:13:11You know, Tudor times, this was a vigorous society, it was full of passion, and tennis was actually part of that passionate way of living.
00:13:18I mean, this is where court life was happening.
00:13:20It wasn't just listening to, you know, music and madrigals over in the palace a few hundred yards away.
00:13:26I mean, this is where the really exciting stuff was happening.
00:13:28You can imagine on a court like this, you wouldn't have just had people playing, but in the galleries surrounding, behind the netting there would have been people watching the game, gambling on the game.
00:13:36Everybody betting money, bringing out their purses, losing fortunes left, right and center, visiting cardinals from France, young princes from Spain wanting to get on court with Henry.
00:13:47And in fact in 1519, the Venetian ambassador spotted Henry playing and made this remark that it was "the prettiest thing in the world "to watch the king play at tennis, "to see his fair skin glowing through a shirt of the finest texture.
00:14:01"He's more handsome than the king of France." He looked really good on court.
00:14:04He was a great athlete.
00:14:06And heould whack the ball harder than anybody else during his age.
00:14:09He could reach into the corners, he could move like a cat.
00:14:12So it was no wonder Henry actually won most of his matches, at least that's what the records show.
00:14:17But would you really have wanted to go face to face with Henry?
00:14:20You know what kind of temper he had.
00:14:21If you beat him in a game, well, it could be pretty dangerous for your livelihood.
00:14:28(Bell rings) NARRATOR: But sport could not satisfy Henry's competitive streak completely.
00:14:35The king wanted victory on the battlefield.
00:14:39Three epic paintings on the wall of the palace's Tudor apartments tell the story of Henry's quest to prove himself on the international stage.
00:14:49These priceless pieces, more than 400 years old, were commissioned by Henry VIII himself.
00:14:57This painting celebrates Henry's first significant military engagement, the Battle of the Spurs.
00:15:04According to art historian Linda Collins, it's little more than Hampton Court propaganda.
00:15:12LINDA COLLINS: There were 30,000 troops assembled by Cardinal Wolsey to be in this battle.
00:15:17As the French troops rode in, what they didn't expect to find was a large number of English troops.
00:15:24It took them off their guard.
00:15:25And so they turned and they rode away, chased by the English.
00:15:29And it's called the Battle of the Spurs because as the French troops turned and ran, their spurs glinted in the sunshine and it was said that they used their spurs more than their swords.
00:15:42Well, here we have Henry on his white horse in the center of the battle and you're talking maybe sitting duck here, you're on a white horse, in the middle of the battlefield.
00:15:51So Henry's advisors would not have allowed him onto the front line.
00:15:56So this is artistic license.
00:15:59NARRATOR: Henry's warrior ambitions were ultimately frustrated.
00:16:03But the next two paintings in the series show he learned to project kingly power in another way, outrageous and ostentatious wealth.
00:16:14Embarking for a peace conference in France, Henry's fleet of ships is packed with jewels, tapestries and livestock.
00:16:22The event was so opulent it became known as the "Field of the Cloth of Gold".
00:16:29COLLINS: The tents were made of gold cloth, everything was gilded, it was a spectacular event.
00:16:36And this time he can use a white horse. This is a glorious procession.
00:16:42NARRATOR: Six thousand men erected this huge temporary palace, Henry's decadent Hampton Court on the road.
00:16:51We've got this spectacular palace, which was actually created on the field for the Royal Family to live in during this event.
00:17:00Outside this palace we have these two fountains, this one has been recreated at Hampton Court Palace.
00:17:07And these fountains should not have water in them, they should have red wine.
00:17:12They can drink as much red wine as they want, and they certainly did.
00:17:16And you do find these men here who look as though they have either thrown up or are about to throw up.
00:17:25NARRATOR: Excessive consumption and luxury defined Henry VIII.
00:17:31At the heart of Hampton Court, they came together in a heady mix.
00:17:37The palace's Great Hall was the place to see and be seen.
00:17:42This is the Great Hall at Hampton Court.
00:17:44Isn't it magnificent?
00:17:46It would have looked so much more magnificent though, at the time it was first built because it would have had green and white tiles on the floor here.
00:17:53And on the ceiling, all this incredible hammer beam ceiling would have been even more gold and blue and red than it actually is now.
00:18:02So you come in here and you've got this assault on your senses.
00:18:05There's an incredible mass of color surrounding you.
00:18:09And, of course, what would have been going on in here would have been lots and lots of fun and festivities.
00:18:14NARRATOR: The 60-foot-high vaulted room was far more than just a royal dance hall.
00:18:19It was a unique token of love from Henry to his second wife, Anne Boleyn.
00:18:30Henry spends three years rebuilding the Great Hall to Anne Boleyn's honor.
00:18:34So there are carvings of her arms with Henry.
00:18:36It's got H and A with lover's knots and so on.
00:18:41NARRATOR: As one of the queen's ladies-in-waiting, Anne Boleyn had made a big impression at court.
00:18:47After 20 years of marriage, Henry and Catherine had failed to have a son, and the king's eye had started to stray.
00:18:56Anne Boleyn was the woman who was known as the great whore, and Henry absolutely adored her. I think it was love at first sight.
00:19:03LIPSCOMB: We think of Anne Boleyn as being this really attractive woman.
00:19:08In fact, she probably wasn't.
00:19:08She's described by a friend as being good looking enough, and that was her friend, so she obviously wasn't that much of a looker.
00:19:15But she was cosmopolitan, she was witty, and she was fun to be around.
00:19:19She was a graceful dancer and Henry found her company enchanting.
00:19:25NARRATOR: Anne played Henry well, refusing to become his mistress.
00:19:29She would only enter his bed as queen.
00:19:32Frustrated and love-struck, Henry wanted a divorce.
00:19:37But divorcing a queen was no small matter, igniting the fury of Catherine's influential Spanish family.
00:19:45Any annulment would have to come from the Pope himself.
00:19:50The king knew who to turn to.
00:19:53Cardinal Wolsey was given the unenviable task of striking a deal with Rome.
00:20:03One thing that this amazing man couldn't achieve in the end was to get Henry his divorce, his annulment of the marriage to Catherine of Aragon that Henry so desperately wanted.
00:20:16NARRATOR: The Pope refused the divorce.
00:20:19Henry lost patience and dismissed Wolsey, even though the cardinal had given him Hampton Court in a desperate attempt to appease him.
00:20:28The king now had sole control of the palace.
00:20:31So Wolsey comes to a bad end.
00:20:31He falls from power, Henry takes his palace, Wolsey dies in disgrace.
00:20:38Just before he can be executed, probably.
00:20:41♪ Glory to thee, my God, this night ♪ For all the...♪
00:20:47NARRATOR: The Chapel Royal at Hampton Court.
00:20:51This glorious azure and gold roof was added by Henry VIII.
00:20:58Under the king's guidance, the palace became the birthplace of a Christian denomination that would shape history.
00:21:05Just downstairs from this office, in the council chamber, Henry VIII was in council one day and he said, "Right, "the Pope won't give me the divorce I want from Catherine of Aragon "so that I can marry Anne Boleyn. I'm getting rid of the Catholics "and setting up the Church of England." NARRATOR: In 1533, within the walls of Hampton Court, the king did the unthinkable.
00:21:29He broke from the Roman Catholic Church and anointed himself head of the new Church of England.
00:21:38With the Pope out of the way, Henry could finally marry Anne after seven years of waiting.
00:21:52Their marriage triggered raucous merriment at the palace.
00:21:56Plays and dances ran late into the night.
00:22:03The king himself would have been in here, and there would have been dancing... He himself liked to dance very much.
00:22:08We have accounts saying that he leapt like a stag.
00:22:10He had defined calves, of which he was very proud.
00:22:16NARRATOR: The queen would invite up to a hundred women from noble families to join the revelry.
00:22:21It was the place for Tudor ladies to be seen in all their finery, as demonstrated by Hampton Court guide and lecturer, Siobhan Clarke.
00:22:32SIOBHAN CLARKE: A young lady, if lucky enough to be offered a position at court, would need to be suitably dressed to provide an ornament to this magnificen So we're just going to put on the foresleeves here, which you can see actually match my kirtle but they're a separate piece altogether, which get tied on with a ribbon, um, onto my French gown.
00:22:58A Tudor lady might wear up to five layers of clothing.
00:23:02We know that the climate was much colder in the mid-16th century and the palace is right by the river.
00:23:06It could be cold and drafty.
00:23:10A word about corsets, because people always think that... Like the Victorians, that it's going to be a really, really tiny waist.
00:23:17In fact, the Tudors didn't try to achieve those tiny waists.
00:23:22It was actually fashionable to be a little bit plump.
00:23:27A lady at this time would have very long hair.
00:23:30Anne Boleyn had hair so long she could sit on it, um, and it's really important to cover your hair.
00:23:37And if you go about with your head uncovered, you're really considered immoral, a loose woman.
00:23:43Now the reason that this French hood was considered daring and rather racy, is that it's going to leave the front part of my hair uncovered.
00:23:57NARRATOR: Everything at Hampton Court was about display.
00:24:01While Anne made an impression with her daring fashion, Henry shone at the joust.
00:24:09He commissioned a jousting complex to be built at the palace.
00:24:13These gardens and walls are where the arena, or tiltyard, once stood.
00:24:21FOYLE: When Henry was barely out of shorts, even if they were cloth of gold ones, he really concentrated on building things which entertained him.
00:24:29And the tilt, the joust, the tournament, that was his favorite thing of all.
00:24:37He saw himself as this great gallant, knightly king, so the ladies of the court would be positioned at windows and the knights outside, including the king, would chase up and down either side of a barrier and try and either snap their lances or knock each other off horses.
00:24:57(Horse neighs) (jousts smashing) And the ladies' hearts would be aflutter as they, like Rapunzel, leant out the window.
00:25:11NARRATOR: Henry invested extravagantly in tournaments and elaborate suits of armor.
00:25:15Historian Mark Griffin works with a totally accurate replica of one of his suits.
00:25:23Your armor says a lot about your aesthetic style, what you like, how much you can afford.
00:25:30It can be decorated, it could be engraved, embossed, gold could be added, silver could be added.
00:25:36Some of the French kings even had jewels set into their helmets that they would then pluck out and throw at the audience after they'd finished jousting, just to prove how rich they are.
00:25:48NARRATOR: But beneath the pomp and ceremony, there was real danger.
00:25:52Henry is taking an enormous risk taking part in this sport.
00:25:57Men were very seriously wounded, they had bits of splinters of wood going into their eyes, blinding them, you could...
00:26:03You could be cut in the...
00:26:03Under the arm, in the groin, or they could bleed to death.
00:26:08There's no way anybody in the medieval or early Tudor world could do anything about those sorts of injuries.
00:26:15NARRATOR: In 1536, the risk of the tournament finally caught up with Henry.
00:26:22(Jousts smashing) A brutal fall was to change the course of English history.
00:26:29He is knocked from his horse, the horse rolls over him, and the horse is armored.
00:26:32He is basically crushed underneath half a ton of animal and steel.
00:26:36He is... He is knocked unconscious for two hours, he is very badly injured and around that time, Anne Boleyn who is watching, has a miscarriage, which of course has amazing consequences not only for her but for the kingdom as a whole.
00:26:52NARRATOR: The accident changed the king forever.
00:26:55Some believe Henry VIII's injury twisted him into an ill-tempered tyrant.
00:27:02He opened up an ulcer in his leg that would never heal and would give him constant and debilitating pain for the rest of his life.
00:27:09So the first place to look for his temperamental change is the fact that he's in constant pain.
00:27:15But also it's possible that he bruised his cerebral cortex when he fell.
00:27:19The cumulative effect is to change him into a very different man.
00:27:24Capricious, irascible.
00:27:25People didn't know what had angered him, but suddenly he would turn on a dime and then be a completely different person.
00:27:31And so by that time, I think it must have been nightmarish to be at his court.
00:27:39NARRATOR: High in the roof of the Great Hall, colorful faces peer down on the room below.
00:27:44They are a warning of the deadly consequences to come.
00:27:48Hanging from the wooden eaves, these little figures inspired the name "eavesdropper".
00:27:54If you go in the Great Hall today, you'll see these eavesdroppers who the architect had actually built into the ceiling.
00:28:00They're little figures who are looking down on the courtiers below, and it's almost a warning to those courtiers to say, "Look, everything is overheard here." There was gossip, there was intrigue, there was plotting for advancement at court.
00:28:17NARRATOR: Anne is becoming a victim of the court she loved so much.
00:28:21Jealous factions start to spread stories of infidelity and incest.
00:28:27What's more, Anne has not produced a male heir and she's quarrelling with the king.
00:28:33Looking to escape from the marriage, Henry seizes on the rumors.
00:28:38(Slams) In 1536, Anne is arrested.
00:28:44She had one day where she was celebrating jousting May Day celebrations with Henry.
00:28:49Then he left in a bit of a hurry and there was much muttering about it, according to one of the sources.
00:28:54And the next morning, out of nowhere, her reign as queen comes to an end.
00:29:02NARRATOR: Anne faces charges of adultery, incest and treason.
00:29:07The river flowing past Hampton Court transports her to the Tower of London.
00:29:12The executioners were trained in hanging people, not in cutting off heads.
00:29:17We have accounts of someone like Margaret Pole.
00:29:20When she was executed in 1541, the first blow gashed her shoulder and it took 10 further blows to separate her head from her neck.
00:29:30But Henry took pity on Anne Boleyn when it came to her death.
00:29:33He ordered an expert French executioner to be brought all the way over from France, in order that she might be beheaded with a sword, cleanly, in one blow.
00:29:48NARRATOR: With Anne barely cold in her grave, Henry wipes all trace of her from Hampton Court.
00:29:56In their haste, the workmen miss one of her symbols in the woodwork.
00:30:01It's still there today, a secret memorial to Anne.
00:30:06When she is executed, Henry marries Jane Seymour.
00:30:11And so, the hall has to start all over again.
00:30:14Poor Galyon Hone, who did the glass.
00:30:17He must have been packing his tools up, and someone said, "Oi, Galyon! You know what's just happened, don't you?" "Oh, no, not another eight months!" Cos that's how long it took.
00:30:25So Hampton Court ends up being this continual building site for a whole sequence of wives, and Henry never really gets around to finishing it.
00:30:39NARRATOR: Next to the Great Hall is the Great Watching Chamber.
00:30:43This fine room was where courtiers would wait to see their monarch.
00:30:47Henry built it in honor of his new love and wife, Jane Seymour.
00:30:53Lipscomb: Henry VIII would have walked through here, he would have processed through here on Sundays and holy days in extraordinary finery.
00:31:00And people would be trying to petition him.
00:31:01They'd been waiting all this time to see him, so they'd be trying to pull at his arm, trying to get his attention.
00:31:06So if you look at the ceiling, you can have a sense of how much he must have lavished on it.
00:31:11Because this is incredible, beautiful gilt, and these badges are leather maches.
00:31:17And this is Jane Seymour's badge.
00:31:19That's a castle with roses, a rose bush coming out of it, and a phoenix rising from the top.
00:31:24And, of course, the phoenix rising from the ashes is exactly what Jane Seymour did for Henry VIII, because she provided him with a son and an heir.
00:31:32And so it's no surprise that he would build something so sumptuous in her honor.
00:31:41NARRATOR: To celebrate, Henry hung a series of extravagant new tapestries.
00:31:48Less than a year into their marriage, Jane Seymour had provided him with the son he desperately wanted.
00:31:55Lipscomb: Henry VIII commissioned the tapestries that you can see here, the Abraham tapestries.
00:31:59He paid a vast amount of money for them. £2000.
00:32:03At the time, that was the cost of a warship.
00:32:05So these were really expensive.
00:32:07And the other thing about them is that they would have been utterly splendid.
00:32:11Because they were made with cloth of gold.
00:32:16NARRATOR: Their vibrancy has faded over 500 years, but modern pigment analysis can bring their 16th century colors back to life.
00:32:27Lipscomb: The tapestries would have been practically neon.
00:32:31They were so bright.
00:32:32They were made with spirals of real gold with silk thread going through them.
00:32:36And they would have glinted and glimmered in the light, they would have looked absolutely beautiful.
00:32:45NARRATOR: But this marriage, too, had a sad end.
00:32:50It's believed Jane Seymour's heart and lungs are in a lead box hidden behind the chapel altar.
00:32:57Jane died from childbirth complications soon after Prince Edward was born.
00:33:05Clarke: In Henry's memory, he will look back in years to come with great sentiment.
00:33:11He will weep and say that she was the best of his wives.
00:33:15He'd been unfortunate in love with ill-conditioned wives, except for Jane.
00:33:20I think, actually, there's an element of that that says, well, perhaps she didn't live long enough for him to have fallen out of love with her, actually.
00:33:31NARRATOR: Racked by grief, life is now on a downward slope for the previously young and sporty king.
00:33:38Henry's leg injury makes him almost immobile.
00:33:43Gross obesity creeps up on him, not helped by his decision to quadruple the size of the palace kitchens.
00:33:51By the 1540s, the near sedentary king is comfort eating, and he weighs over 400 pounds.
00:33:59Food historian Marc Meltonville has unearthed a recipe for the artery-clogging food that Henry was served at the palace.
00:34:08When he was a young man he ate a lot, he was given all these dishes at every meal.
00:34:13When he's an older man, I'm afraid he doesn't do quite so much sport, but he eats the same.
00:34:18And so we get the bigger and bigger and bigger Henry that he becomes famous for.
00:34:22So big that his last suit of armor is 54 inch waist.
00:34:26That's a big guy.
00:34:27If we went for a feast at Henry VIII's palace at Hampton Court, we might be given something called Lombard Custard.
00:34:34It contains bone marrow.
00:34:35So it's got sugar in it, it's got cream in it, but it's also got the inside of beef bones.
00:34:40It just gives a really rich, buttery taste.
00:34:43And rich tastes just say everything about the court of Henry VIII.
00:34:49And there we go, our custard tart.
00:34:53Let's give it a little try.
00:34:58Is this going to be any good?
00:35:03It actually is beefy. (LAUGHS) Very mildly beefy and sweet.
00:35:08I've eaten worse. (LAUGHS) NARRATOR: On the wall of the palace's processional gallery hangs a full-length painting of obese Henry VIII.
00:35:18The classic piece was inspired by the king's brilliant court painter, Hans Holbein.
00:35:25The genius of Holbein has immortalized Henry as one of history's most imposing figures.
00:35:32Holbein's paintings of Henry VIII have lasted.
00:35:34And it's probably true to say that there may have been an element of propaganda in them.
00:35:41He is sturdy, strong and magnificent.
00:35:44What Holbein has done for Henry is to give him substance.
00:35:49NARRATOR: When Henry needed a portrait painted of a foreign princess, Holbein was the obvious choice.
00:35:56To protect an image of virility, the king needed a queen.
00:36:01But Henry's royal matchmakers were not having an easy time.
00:36:04Famously, one of the foreign brides who was proposed as his future wife said, "I would marry him if I had two heads, and then I'd got one to spare." (CHUCKLES) You know, and you can see why she'd have made that remark.
00:36:16He was terrifying.
00:36:16He had this formidable reputation.
00:36:20Narrator: Holbein returned with Anne of Cleves's portrait, and Henry liked what he saw.
00:36:25The beautiful German princess was invited to England to become his fourth wife and queen.
00:36:31Their blind date was a disaster.
00:36:34He arrived early in disguise, and the whole game of court was that you were supposed to pretend both that Henry looked like all the other young, good looking men that he was around, even though by this point he had run to fat in quite a great way, and also that true lovers would recognize each other.
00:36:51So she was supposed to see through his disguise and recognize the regal king.
00:36:57She did neither of those things.
00:36:59So this man approaches her, tries to kiss her, and she's thinking this is just a terrible breach of etiquette.
00:37:03She tries to ignore this terrible man pawing at her.
00:37:08So Henry by this time is completely put off.
00:37:11So when it comes to consummating their relationship, he says that she is smelly, that she is fat and that she is not a maid, she's not a virgin.
00:37:22And obviously there is somebody in the room who is smelly and fat and not a virgin, but it's not Anne of Cleves.
00:37:31NARRATOR: Wedding plans were too advanced to be canceled, but the relationship was going nowhere.
00:37:37Within months, the unhappy couple agreed to put right their mistake.
00:37:42BORMAN: She gave him the divorce willingly, and as a result she got £30,000 a year, five palaces, she was welcomed at court, she was known as the king's sister.
00:37:52And she became, really, one of the most important ladies in England.
00:37:56So it was an example of history, how to deal with Henry.
00:37:59Give him what he wanted.
00:38:04NARRATOR: Undeterred, Henry was soon back honeymooning at Hampton Court with Katherine Howard, wife number five.
00:38:15Beautiful but naive, Katherine was powerless to resist the king's advances.
00:38:21BORMAN: Of course, she was a teenager when she married the aging Henry VIII so it certainly wasn't a love match for her, but Henry VIII couldn't keep his hands off Katherine Howard.
00:38:32He adored her.
00:38:33He was always sort of petting her in public and he was devastated, I think he was genuinely heartbroken when one of his ministers dared whisper to him that his young wife had been unfaithful, and they presented irrefutable proof of Katherine's infidelity.
00:38:50NARRATOR: One morning, Henry entered the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court to find a letter detailing Katherine's liaisons with other men.
00:39:00She was confined to her room and in the Great Watching Chamber it was announced that she was sentenced to death.
00:39:09Legend has it that Katherine broke free and ran down the processional chamber, screaming for mercy.
00:39:19Her protests were in vain.
00:39:22She could not reach the king.
00:39:24Katherine Howard had been taken up the river to the tower and she would have passed underneath the heads of her lovers, which were on spikes.
00:39:32They'd been beheaded, their heads parboiled and tarred and put there and she would have seen that grisly sight as she went to her certain death.
00:39:39The night before she was executed, the accounts say that she experimented with putting her head on that block, rehearsed that moment when she would go to her death at 9:00 the following morning.
00:39:49(Slicing) NARRATOR: Five wives down, Henry locks himself away in his rooms at Hampton Court for days on end.
00:39:58He starts mixing homemade remedies from the palace herb garden to try and cure the wound on his festering leg.
00:40:06Lipscomb: After Katherine Howard was executed, Henry really goes on a bit of a downer.
00:40:10And after this, he suffers a period of depression in 1541 and is confined at Hampton Court.
00:40:17Five years later, he restores some of his vigor when he marries again, Katherine Parr.
00:40:22She was a very good wife for his last few years, but at that point, Henry is no longer the man he once was.
00:40:30And so by the end of his life, he really...
00:40:33Although he's not terribly old, he's only 56 when he dies, he is frail and his obesity has worn him down.
00:40:43NARRATOR: Married in the palace chapel, Katherine Parr, Henry's sixth and last wife, nurses him through his final days.
00:40:53In 1547, the massively obese Henry VIII dies.
00:40:59After his reign, a succession of monarchs changed little at Hampton Court.
00:41:05Eventually, it slipped into neglect.
00:41:09But there was life in the palace yet.
00:41:21After a century and a half in decline, Hampton Court blossomed once again as the epicenter of royal life.
00:41:31This was the result.
00:41:38In 1689, William III and Mary II became King and Queen of England.
00:41:44The royal couple immediately set their sights on Hampton Court Palace.
00:41:50When William and Mary came to the throne in 1688, top of their list was building a really grand new palace.
00:41:57And they got in Sir Christopher Wren, wanted to rebuild Hampton Court.
00:42:00He made plans for knocking down practically all of it.
00:42:04For William and Mary, the palace itself was now unpardonably old-fashioned and not at all like the regular buildings that the French monarchy were putting up in places like Versailles.
00:42:17NARRATOR: Wren, the celebrated architect of Saint Paul's Cathedral in London, drew up a grand baroque design in the style of the Palace of Versailles, near Paris.
00:42:30But money was tight.
00:42:31For the time being, Wren had to be content with rebuilding only half the palace.
00:42:36Henry VIII's royal apartments were replaced with vast new staircases and state rooms.
00:42:44The point of Hampton Court, and in fact, the point of any palace at all, is to really intimidate the pants off anybody who's coming to the place.
00:42:52It's not supposed to be warm and welcoming and easygoing.
00:42:55This is about "The King".
00:42:58NARRATOR: Every outer room contains a throne.
00:43:02Courtiers were expected to bow even when it was empty.
00:43:08William III lived much of his life on display.
00:43:13The king was notoriously prone to ill health.
00:43:15The public appearances were designed to prove he was alive and well.
00:43:22Dave packer: This is King William III's private dining room.
00:43:25This is where William would enjoy meals with his closest friends.
00:43:28But the king didn't always get to eat alone or in private with his intimates.
00:43:33William would often have to indulge in the bizarre ritual of the king's dining in public.
00:43:38He would sit alone at a table with a huge, elaborate feast laid out before him, a paying, invited audience gathered behind a rope intently watching the king's every move, every morsel going into his mouth.
00:43:52At the end of it he would retire, leaving the hugely expensive sugar sweetmeats on the table.
00:43:58The audience would then descend upon them, breaking them up and taking home pieces, just as we might with wedding cake today.
00:44:07NARRATOR: Only deep within the palace could William escape from prying eyes.
00:44:13The rooms at first floor are actually pretty much a sham, and the king used downstairs, he really lived below the shop.
00:44:20First floor was for display, for decorum.
00:44:23Downstairs is where he did his writing, had his library, had most of his meals, sulked, did all the things that humans really do when they're not acting king.
00:44:33Worsley: All palaces work like a chain.
00:44:35So you get your bigger, grander, more impressive outer rooms and then the rooms get smaller as you go in.
00:44:43It's like a filter, if you like.
00:44:44Lots of people out here, very few people in the middle here, and it gets more and more exclusive as you penetrate.
00:44:52NARRATOR: A special few shared the inner sanctum with him.
00:44:56This is William III's royal lavatory chamber.
00:44:59The odor from the 300-year-old velvet seated box still hangs in the air.
00:45:04The king himself has people to attend to him even when he's on the toilet.
00:45:09He has a top servant, who is called the "Groom of the Stool" who actually hands him the cloth he uses to wipe his bottom.
00:45:16And nobody thinks this is weird.
00:45:18And in fact, everybody wants to be the Groom of the Stool cos it's a great chance to ask the king for favors.
00:45:26NARRATOR: Some courtiers were certainly more favored than others.
00:45:31An exquisite mural sprawls across the ceiling above William III's bedchamber.
00:45:37Painted by classical Italian artists, nude male figures drape over one another.
00:45:43King William had a selection of male favorites to whom he was extremely close.
00:45:50Jealous courtiers made a scandalous connection with the fresco above his bed.
00:45:58People in the palace sort of looked at that and thought, "Wow, that's homoerotic." And then people have looked at these scurrilous pamphlets saying that he was an "unperforming, puny prig," for example, and they put the two things together.
00:46:10NARRATOR: Malicious gossip spread that William was a homosexual.
00:46:15Rumors fed by a lack of children from his marriage.
00:46:19WORSLEY: Poor Mary couldn't have children.
00:46:21And people started attacking the pair of them saying, "Whoa! What's going on here?
00:46:26"Perhaps William is more interested in men than he is in women." And it was a weakness that the satirists and the caricaturists exploited.
00:46:35NARRATOR: Then in 1694, Queen Mary died suddenly from smallpox.
00:46:42William had to live in the new Hampton Court alone.
00:46:46A few years later, he fell from his horse whilst riding in the grounds of the palace.
00:46:52William died from his injuries.
00:46:55He left his Hampton Court rebuild only half complete, and large parts of Henry VIII's palace still intact, creating the unique fusion of architecture we see today.
00:47:10They intended to pull down the lot and just leave the Great Hall standing.
00:47:13They liked that bit.
00:47:16(LAUGHING) They thought that was quite good.
00:47:17And curiously, this wonderful gothic confection of the Great Hall would have sat in between two massive classical blocks.
00:47:25But happily, William III ended up only building half of what he intended, which means that we now have this wonderful fusion of two very different ages.
00:47:35Which is a surprise to many visitors who arrive expecting this Tudor world.
00:47:40All of a sudden they're plunged a cent NARRATOR: Only 12 years after William, the House of Stuart's royal dynasty came to an end.
00:48:00In 1714, the Georgian era began, and Hampton Court exploded into life once again.
00:48:08King George II and his wife, Caroline had grand plans for the palace.
00:48:14They used the landscaped gardens to throw extravagant parties.
00:48:20The couple would create huge flotillas for the long water and celebrate with thousands of courtiers.
00:48:30Inside the house, the formidable Queen Caroline commissioned an entire wing of plush new apartments.
00:48:38If you look at Caroline's rooms at Hampton Court, you can see little bits of her character creeping through.
00:48:43She actually played a lot of cards, she introduced a lot of gambling into the Georgian court.
00:48:48And she also was quite progressive in things like her bathing.
00:48:51She wanted to be clean, she wanted things to look nice and smell nice.
00:48:56It was surprising for the Georgians that she liked to bathe so much, because they thought it was dangerous to their health and they were actually fascinated by it.
00:49:06NARRATOR: But private bathing could be difficult, even for a queen.
00:49:10There were no corridors in the Georgian apartments, so servants would frequently pass through rooms.
00:49:16She was constantly under the eye of servants, so I think she really wanted some places where she could retreat and be alone with George.
00:49:24It's shown in her bedroom, where she has locks on the door that she can actually pull all the way from the bed, so quite quickly, just to keep someone out of the room.
00:49:35NARRATOR: Unusually, for royalty at the time, George and Caroline were close.
00:49:43But they hated their eldest son, Frederick, Prince of Wales and treated him with contempt and suspicion.
00:49:50WORSLEY: It's said that the Hanoverians, the Georgian kings, were like pigs.
00:49:55They devoured their young.
00:49:58And it's true, really.
00:50:00We see throughout the 18th century, um, all the Georgian kings being really, really horrible to their heirs.
00:50:06Annabel king: George II and Caroline described Frederick as the greatest ass, the greatest liar and the greatest beast in nature, and they wished him dead.
00:50:15NARRATOR: For Frederick, the ud with his parents had poisoned Hampton Court.
00:50:20The prince was forced to stay at the palace with his heavily pregnant wife, Augusta.
00:50:26One nigh on a back staircase, he took his revenge.
00:50:31Frederick was determined that the birth of his child should not happen under his parents' roof, here at Hampton Court Palace.
00:50:37He was determined to escape from his mother's eagle eye.
00:50:41Augusta's labor started.
00:50:44Now, Frederick didn't call for the midwife, he called for the carriage.
00:50:47He led his wife, whose waters had now broken, she was sodden, onto a staircase, one of the many back staircases here at the palace, and led her down it step by step, all the time, stuffing handkerchiefs up Augusta's petticoat to stop any signs left behind them of her labor.
00:51:03Well, they got her to the bottom of the stairs, eventually, and she was bundled into a carriage and away to London to give birth.
00:51:09George and Caroline were naturally furious.
00:51:11George blamed Caroline and she blamed everybody else.
00:51:14This is a big deal because people worry that if a baby dies or miscarries, then an imposter will be slipped in and the line of the succession will be altered.
00:51:25NARRATOR: Frederick's baby daughter was delivered safely, but Hampton Court was scarred by bitter memories.
00:51:31For the palace, centuries of royal occupation were coming to an unhappy end.
00:51:37George took a mistress, and Caroline to eating.
00:51:40Towards the end of her life, Queen Caroline's existence at Hampton Court was quite sad.
00:51:45She was aware that she'd lost the love of her husband, who'd adored her.
00:51:50She was plagued by ill health.
00:51:52She was overfond of chocolate and had become enormously fat.
00:51:57She could barely walk, and spent much of her time confined to her chambers at Hampton Court.
00:52:03NARRATOR: George and Caroline were succeeded by their grandson, George III, the king who infamously lost the American colonies.
00:52:11Mindful of his family history, George III hated Hampton Court and refused to stay there.
00:52:20No monarch ever lived at the palace again.
00:52:25In 1838, Hampton Court was opened for public enjoyment and a new chapter in its history began.
00:52:32Tourists now take photos where royal lovers once plotted adulterous liaisons.
00:52:39The palace stands today as a gateway to the past.
00:52:44Hampton Court is the most extraordinary building because it survives like no other palace of that period.
00:52:52You can share the space the Tudor courtiers and queens and kings once knew.
00:52:58Still our imagination walks those halls.
00:53:02That's why the building has a rapport with us, because you feel like you're occupying this space between the past and the present.
00:53:13ANNOUNCER: Turn to PBS for stories that define (engine revving) I'm so sorry.
00:53:19It was my fault.
00:53:20And you didn't hear anything?
00:53:21She thinks I killed him?
00:53:23I wish I had.
00:53:23Oh, you lot with your questions!
00:53:26He's dead, I know.
00:53:27It's a number.
00:53:28Good God!
00:53:31(screaming) You can't seriously think he had anything to do with this.
00:53:35I knew there had to be a connection.
00:53:36"Inspector Lewis," onMasterpiece Mystery.
00:53:44"Secrets of Althorp, The Spencers"...
00:53:47Explore a grand house displaying the wealth and power of one of Britain's pre-eminent aristocratic dynasties.
00:53:56Nineteen generations of Spencers