Palace people

Palace people

Profiles, stories and little-known facts about some of England’s famous kings and queens and interesting characters associated with Hampton Court Palace.


Explore the stories of some monarchs who have been pivotal in the history of Hampton Court Palace.

Henry VIII (r 1509-47)
‘Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived.’ Henry did indeed marry six times, but had only three legitimate children.

Queen Mary I (r 1553-8)
Remembered as ‘Bloody Mary’, the Roman Catholic queen who attempted to reverse the Reformation and return England to Catholicism: around 300 men and women lost their lives for their faith.

James I (r 1603-25)
Famous for being a terrorist target, Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot failed in their famous attempt to blow up the king and Parliament.

Charles I (r 1625-1649)
The king was gallant and brave, but his wife Queen Henrietta Maria would sometimes countermand her husband’s military orders.

Charles II (r 1630-85)
He was invited to come back to England after years spent wandering round Europe to sit on his father’s throne in 1660. The country had had enough of the disruption caused by not having a king.

William III and Mary II
Famous for reigning jointly, they are the only monarchs in British history to have done so. They succeeded to the throne after James II, Mary’s father was deposed in 1688.

George II (r 1727-60)
Known for leading his troops into battle, George was the last monarch to do so in 1743 at the Battle of Dettingen.

Characters and personalities

Discover more about these intriguing characters and see how they are connected to Hampton Court Palace.

Henry VIII's story

Everyone knows the image of the older, fat Henry, notorious for wars and wives, but as a young man, Henry was one of the most desirable men in Europe: highly educated, hugely athletic and a lucky catch for the ladies.

Visit 'Henry VIII's story' to discover a different kind of king:

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