London: Hampton Court Palace

Sorry folks. The wireless feed has been extremely slow, and it has taken two days to upload all these pics. But enjoy. We leave for Dublin in the morning.

We thought we would have enough time for more than just one palace visit. But the train ride took us to Surrey, and we spent most of the day at Hampton Court Palace. I love castles, as you may have already noticed. The feel of this one was enhanced by re-enactors in period costume. You will see photos of Henry VIII and George Boleyn, and later Lady Margaret (a generic courtier) and Lady Anne Boleyn in her happier days. The palace was also home to William II and Mary III, the W&M of Virginia notoriety. Originally, it belonged to Cardinal Wolsey, Chancellor of Henry VIII, who liked it so much for its lavish comforts. Henry told him how much he liked it, and the cardinal just gave it up. Sam Neil portrays it well in Episode 2, Season 1 of the Tudors.

We saw great banquet halls, throne rooms, and the king’s privy council room, where Fr. Kerry and I sat with the king in council, to decide the appointment of Thomas Cranmer as Archbishop of Canterbury, the conferral of the title Marquess of Pembroke on Lady Anne, and the break-up with Rome over the issue of divorce from Queen Catherine. We were both placed among the lords spiritual (as opposed to the lords temporal), and they didn’t know we were both priests, and Roman Catholic to boot! Well, one of the first principles of time travel is not to mess with the continuum by acting to alter the consequences. So we just agreed with everything the king put before us … since he already had the answers he wanted. After visiting the castle interior, we took a walk on the grounds. The gardens were magnificent. I can understand how the kings and queens felt very much at home at this palace. It is no longer in active use, as the royals have use of Buckingham Palace, Windsor, Balmoral, Kensington … did I miss any? And why do I know all this? It’s hard not to look it up while it surrounds us on all sides.

Both today and the day before, we ended the day walking around Covent Gardens, looking at the shops, having a bite. Not enough time, but also not enough money. Tomorrow, we’re off to Greenwich, then Buckingham Palace before leaving for Dublin on Wednesday.