You are at the top of the page

Skip to content or footer

Start of main content

Historic Royal Palaces blog

Insights and behind the scenes from our palaces

Insights and behind the scenes from our palaces

'Washing the Lions': A Famous April Fools Hoax at the Tower of London

01 April 2024

The Tower of London is home to Britain’s earliest recorded April Fool’s prank – the so-called 'Annual Ceremony of Washing the Lions'.

'Below Stairs' in Sickness, Death and Old Age

29 February 2024

What happened to those who worked in the royal palaces when they fell ill, grew old, or when they died, leaving loved ones behind?

The King’s Favourite: George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham

01 February 2024

In the ruthless world of the Stuart court, royal favour was everything. No one knew this better than George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, whose rise to power was built on the love and patronage of James I.

The Wedding of Captain Scott and Kathleen Bruce at Hampton Court Palace

04 January 2024

Assistant Curator Minette Butler explores how Captain Scott's wedding to his beloved wife Kathleen Bruce at Hampton Court Palace intertwines with the aftermath of his ill-fated expedition to reach the South Pole.

The explosive history of the pagoda during World War II

06 June 2023

One of the most surprising periods in the history of the Great Pagoda is its use as a secret testing site during World War II. Curator Polly Putnam picks up the tale of this fascinating discovery.

A Turkish Bath for Horses at Hampton Court

16 June 2022

With eyes on Royal Ascot in June, we wanted to share a lesser-known aspect of Hampton Court’s Equine Past. In the 1860s a Turkish bath was installed at Hampton Court Palace…for the horses! Buildings Curator Alexandra Stevenson explores this curious history.

The Life of Edward Francis: Black history at the Tower of London

15 November 2021

Misha Ewen, Curator of Inclusive History, reflects upon her research on the life of Edward Francis - an enslaved African man who lived at the Tower of London in the late 17th century.

Walter Hungerford and the Buggery Act: LGBTQ+ History and Punishment at the Tower of London

19 February 2021

As part of LGBT History Month, Olivia Martin examines a darker side of the Tower's history. On 28 July 1540, the first execution under the Buggery Act, the first civil law to criminalise homosexual behaviour, happened on Tower Hill.

HRP Handover: Zeinab Badawi on Sarah Forbes Bonetta and "contested history"

22 October 2020

This week, we’ve invited journalist and Historic Royal Palaces Trustee Zeinab Badawi to share her thoughts on the importance of welcoming diverse perspectives on our past, and the problem with the term ‘contested history’.