Spanning more than 700 years, the history of Hever Castle is rich and varied. The original medieval defensive castle, with its gatehouse and walled bailey, was built in 1270.
The Castle was to become the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII’s second wife, who became Queen of England for just 1,000 days.
Hever later passed into the ownership of another of Henry VIII’s wives, Anne of Cleves, and from 1557 onwards it was owned by a number of families including the Waldegraves, the Humphreys and the Meade Waldos.
The great Palace of Whitehall began as the medieval London home of the Archbishops of York, and was known as York Place. The once mighty Cardinal Wolsey, also Archbishop of York, fell foul of King Henry VIII, and his London home was taken from him.
Despite its flimsy construction, this old banqueting house was much in demand from Elizabeth’s successor as a venue for masques.
His spectacular Banqueting House building was completed in 1622, to the King’s great delight and the astonishment of all who surveyed it.
The crowning glory of the Banqueting House is its magnificent nine ceiling paintings by Peter Paul Rubens – one of Europe’s most influential and important artists.
James I decided to use his fabulous new Banqueting House to stage this mystical ritual of monarchy, which was continued by Charles I. Revived by his son Charles II in 1661, the ritual became wildly popular.
This magnificent painting by Peter Paul Rubens remains the largest surviving work by the Flemish artist still in its original location in Europe.
As well as distributing cash, food and clothing, the monarch was also expected to wash the feet of the paupers who approached them.