In 1689 William of Orange and Mary Stuart overthrew her Catholic father James II and were crowned joint monarchs, William III and Mary II. Invited to invade by leading politicians, their “Glorious Revolution” was welcomed by the largely Protestant English population.
The following month they visited Hampton Court and, delighted by its location, commissioned Sir Christopher Wren to design a fashionable new palace in the Baroque Style.
Wren’s initial plans were to demolish Henry VIII’s Tudor palace and replace it with a palace in the new Baroque Style made fashionable at Versailles. However, William III dismissed this as too costly and a reduced scheme was approved which would see some of the Tudor palace’s grandest features retained – the Great Hall, Chapel Royal and Astronomical Clock – while the rest would make way for Wren’s ambitious new designs.
This exhibition tells the story of William and Mary and the building of the Baroque Palace, using spectacular film and projection techniques and a four metre model of the palace. Visitors will see the Tudor buildings demolished and a new Baroque palace constructed in their place. The palace façade is then raised to reveal the grand interiors, filled with William and Mary’s courtiers, gossiping, intriguing and vying for royal attention.