Originally built for Thomas Wolsey, a favourite of King Henry VIII, Hampton Court Palace was then passed to the king who extended it. There was a massive rebuilding and expansion; however, this was halted in 1694, thus, giving the palace two different architectural styles. One style is domestic Tudor and the other is Baroque. The use of pink bricks gives the palace a unifying look.
Today the palace is open to the public and is one of the country’s most popular attractions. It receives no funding from the government or the crown. It is cared for by the Historic Royal Palaces, an independent charity. Today, the Home Park is home to the Hampton Court Palace Festival and the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, which take place once a year. It is one of the two surviving places, along with St. James’ Palace, out of the several which were owned by Henry VIII.
Hampton Court Palace Ghosts
Catherine Howard is one of the palace’s many ghosts. She is reported to often visit the palace’s Haunted Gallery. She was accused of adultery by King Henry VIII, her husband, and was put on house arrest but she escaped from her guards and ran down the gallery, only to be dragged back to her room screaming. The fifth wife of the king, she was executed in the Tower of London. Guests and staff at the palace have reported hearing Catherine’s scream from the gallery. An interesting fact…One evening in 1999, during different tours of the palace, two female visitors fainted in exactly the same spot in the same gallery were the screams of Catherine have been heard.
Sybil Penn, also known as the Grey Lady of Hampton Court, is another of the palace’s many ghosts. Several sightings of the Grey Lady have been reported in various areas of the castle. She was a servant to the Tudor monarchs of the house and a nurse to Prince Edward, as well as Elizabeth I. She cared for the future queen while she was sick with small pox, only to die later of the same disease.
The first sightings of her spectre began in 1829 when her tomb was moved. Immediately after her tomb was disturbed, several strange noises have been reported. Some say that they can hear a spinning wheel constantly throughout the court. A search in the palace revealed an antique spinning wheel. whether this is a coincidence or not, no one can confirm. Some of the places she continuously haunts are the Clock Court and the state apartments.
The ghostly figure captured on CCTV which people has since called “Skeletor” has been reported worldwide. The image was captured in the winter of 2003 while security staff reviewed CCTV footage. Security staff saw that on the first day, doors swung wide open with so much force, but nothing can be seen which could have caused such an occurrence.
On the second day, doors swung wide open again and this time a ghostly figure can be seen which many believed to be the ghost of King Henry VIII, but many people have since named the spirit “Skeletor”. On the third day the doors swung again, but nothing was seen again. It was not just the security staff who reported seeing something strange. A visitor wrote on the palace’s visitor book that she thought she had also seen the apparition of a large man near the same doors.