5-28 August - There will be reduced train service between London Waterloo and Hampton Court. Find out more
The Royal Pew is open 10.00-17.30 Monday-Saturday and 12.30-15.00 on Sundays (Chapel Royal opening hours are restricted on Sundays due to services).Included in palace admission
Made for either Henry VII or Henry VIII, the original was worn by Henry VIII at Hampton Court, particularly on the feast of Epiphany on 6 January.
Henry would process to the Chapel Royal in full regalia to offer gold, frankincense and myrrh, celebrating the visit of the Three Kings to the newborn Jesus. The crown was later used at the coronations of each of Henry VIII’s children.
Walk in the footsteps of Henry VIII, looking out across the magnificent Tudor ceiling, as he did, and see the magnificent crown displayed where Henry himself would have worn it.
As a potent symbol of power and religious authority, the original crown was melted down at the Tower of London in 1649 on the orders of Oliver Cromwell, following the abolition of the monarchy.
Thankfully, Henry's servants wrote detailed inventories which documented the construction of the crown and we owe our stunningly accurate replica entirely to them. Their inventories documented the size and position of each of the 344 rubies, sapphires, emeralds, diamonds and pearls, along with the five sculptures that decorate it.
We also had this portrait of Charles I, painted by Daniel Mytens in 1631, which clearly records the shape of the crown and the patterns created by the hundreds of jewels and pearls.
Harry Collins, Crown Jeweller (2007-2012), and his team of skilled goldsmiths were able to take our research and, largely using the same techniques as their Tudor predecessors, create a very accurate replica of Henry VIII's crown at Hampton Court.
The Tudor Crown Imperial has been hand-crafted in silver gilt with fine metalwork detail – the original was made from 84oz of gold. The rubies, sapphires, emeralds, cultured pearls and rock crystal have been selected to reflect the colour and shape differences that we see in existing late medieval jewellery, ensuring that the crown looks as spectacular and authentic as possible.
In addition to the jewels, the crown is also set with four miniature sculptures of royal saints, plus one of the Virgin and Child. The royal saints were added by Henry VIII after the reformation to emphasise the King’s authority over the Church. A specialist sculptor has reproduced St George, St Edmund, St Edward the Confessor, Henry VI (venerated as a saint at this time) and the Virgin and Child in minute detail for our crown.
A new play, written for Hampton Court Palace by Sarah Dickenson and directed by Jo McInnes.
Daytime: Thu to Mon until 21 Aug 2017. Evening: 28, 29, 31 Aug & 1 Sep 2017
Daytime 11.00 & 14.45. Evening 19.30
Prepare to be shocked by terrifying torture instruments and learn more about the unfortunate prisoners who experienced torture at the Tower of London.