William III's apartments

The State Apartments and private rooms of William III (1689-1702)

The State Apartments and private rooms of William III (1689-1702)

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William III's State Apartments

The grand staircase leads to William III's State Apartments. On the wall is 'Victory of Alexander over the Caesars', by Italian artist Verrio. The 12 Caesars represent the Catholic forces that William has ousted in the Glorious Revolution. William is the hero Alexander.

The Guard Chamber displays a remarkable collection of weapons on the walls. Yeomen of the Guard would have been stationed at the door, checking courtiers were suitably dressed and behaved before allowing them into the Presence Chamber. This is the official throne room, with the chair of estate under its formal canopy. Usually empty, visitors would still have had to bow to the throne as they passed through. The State Apartments look empty to modern eyes but they would have been filled with beautifully dressed courtiers, meeting, gossiping and playing politics.

Next comes the Privy Chamber where only statesmen and courtiers close to the king are allowed entry. You can see the spectacular Privy Garden from the windows.

Don’t miss the ornate wood-carvings throughout William’s apartments. These incredibly delicate, virtuoso carvings are the work of Grinling Gibbons, a master-craftsman of the seventeenth century.

The spectacular Great Bedchamber wasn’t for sleeping in but for the King to be dressed in public. Next door, the Little Bedroom has a painted ceiling by Verrio with a bed-time theme; here Mars, the God of War, lies snoozing in the arms of Venus, Goddess of Love. Only the King’s most personal staff and close courtiers come in here.

Williams III’s Private Apartments

Downstairs the rooms are on a more human scale – this is where William III really lived, displaying his prized possessions and entertaining his favourite people. The closets contain paintings hung on ropes. It’s a clever device – which allowed the King to re-hang them whenever the fancy took him. They’re all pictures he particularly liked and give us a good idea of his taste. The amazing centrepiece is by Steinwich, the Flemish artist, of his liberation of Saint Peter.

In the Orangery William’s orange and bay trees are stored during the winter months. In the summer, the doors open on to his Privy Garden.

William’s private dining room is laid out as it would have been in 1700, towards the end of his life, when he sat surrounded by the famous Hampton Court Beauties paintings. In the alcove at the far end is a marble-topped table designed for a display of gold plate. Wine was served from this alcove, and dirty plates removed to it, then after dinner the shutter would be dropped, leaving the king and his companions in complete privacy.

A History of Royal Fashion

Want to take a peek into the wardrobes of the kings and queens of the past?

With exclusive access to the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection, this free online course from Historic Royal Palaces & the University of Glasgow explores clothing from the Tudors to the Windsors.

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Illustration of the entrance to Hampton Court Palace, two beasts on either side and 'Beast Quest' logo in the center.
Events Families

A dark wizard has brought the Beasts of the palace to life. To stop them, you’ll need brains, bravery and magic. Do you have what it takes?

20 October - 28 October 2018

Hampton Court Palace

11:00-16:00

Events

Dare to spend a night in the King's State Apartments at the Hampton Court Palace sleepover.

3-4 November 2018

Hampton Court Palace

Overnight (18:30 Saturday to 10:00 Sunday)

Fountain Court, looking west. The courtyard fountain can just be seen through an archway on the left.
Member only Tours and talks

Get an expert’s guide of what there is to see and do at each palace with one of our State Apartment Warders at Hampton Court.

27 September 2018

Hampton Court Palace

11:00 and 14:00

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