Hampton Court: Behind Closed Doors

Thursday 22 July, 8pm, Channel 5

Thursday 22 July, 8pm, Channel 5

Watch Hampton Court: Behind Closed Doors on My5


Hampton Court: Behind Closed Doors, a new two-part series that started in the UK on Thursday 22 July at 8pm on Channel 5, is an intimate look behind the scenes of King Henry VIII’s beloved royal palace on the Thames. We follow the team who care for the palace, it’s spectacular rooms and magnificent gardens along with all of the many visitors that come to visit Hampton Court.

We explore behind the scenes with the Palace Hosts as they reveal magnificent and unique rooms like the Great Hall, built for Henry VIII himself. Outside, we follow the gardeners as they maintain the 300 year old historic maze, alongside up to 60 acres of spectacular gardens and the grooms who look after Hampton Court’s own team of rare Shire horses. 

With the help of Historic Royal Palaces Chief Curator Tracy Borman, we’ll discover the kings and queens who lived and died at Hampton Court – from Elizabeth I to Henry VIII and his unlucky wives Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour and Catherine Howard.


Series 1, Episode 1

20:00, Thursday 22 July on Channel 5

The Tudor Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace, showing the Abraham Tapestries and the room set out for day visitors.

In this episode, we meet the team who keep Hampton Court Palace running in the present day - Palace Host Kitty shows us some of the palace’s extraordinary highlights such as the Great Hall where Henry VIII danced with his second wife Anne Boleyn. A mile away at the stables, head coachman Ed prepares his team of rare breed Shire horses including their very own new shire foal George. Once the palace doors are open, Palace Host James shows visitors the last remaining evidence of Henry’s passion for Anne Boleyn in the Great Hall- intertwined initials carved into the panelling, which Henry insisted should be removed after he fell out of love with her.

Historic Royal Palaces Chief Curator Tracy Borman follows the story of Henry VIII’s third wife Jane Seymour, and goes behind the scenes to discover the suite of rooms he had built for her at the palace. Today the enormous stone fireplace is the only hint of the luxurious space where Jane gave birth to Henry’s desperately wanted heir, Edward. But Henry’s joy wasn’t to last as Jane tragically fell ill after Edward’s christening and died.

Out in the palace gardens, Russell the Wildlife Officer checks on the Royal deer herd originally established by Henry VIII. Head coachman Ed gets to know young George, the first Shire horse foal to be born at Hampton Court in a generation.

Series 1, Episode 2

Thursday 29 July on Channel 5

In episode two, it’s time for Hampton Court’s world famous hedge Maze to get a haircut, carried out by gardener Deputy Head of Gardens, Graham Dillamore and his team. It’s a process that takes three weeks, even with modern tools.

Chief Curator Tracy Borman visits the chaplain of Hampton Court’s Chapel Royal, Father Anthony.  He’s discovered an incredible treasure on eBay – a prayer book that could have been used in Hampton Court’s Chapel Royal by Elizabeth I’s priest. Tracy also follows the tragic story of Henry VIII’s unluckiest wife, the teenage Catherine Howard who moved into the palace after a whirlwind marriage. Henry was forced to confront the fact his young wife was alleged to have been having affairs. Catherine was placed under house arrest at Hampton Court and interrogated before being sent to the Tower of London to be executed.

Palace Host Errol explores the creepiest part of the palace – the Haunted Gallery – where people have seen the ghost of Catherine Howard running down the corridor, screaming and pleading for her life. 

Out in the stables Head Coachman Ed gives new Shire horse foal George his first hoof trim, to prepare him for joining the team of rare breed Shires at Hampton Court.

Staff member cutting the hedge of the maze
A family of two women, a boy and a girl look around them in Base Court of Hampton Court Palace

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Henry VIII (1491-1547) June 1526-June 1527, by LUCAS HORENBOUT (C. 1490/5-1544)
Events Things to see

Immerse yourself in Tudor history as we reunite stunning works of art, gold, weapons, manuscripts and clothing from the Field of Cloth of Gold, Henry VIII's legendary encounter with his great rival François I of France.


Hampton Court Palace

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Aerial view of a formal garden with green lawns on either side of a main path running towards the baroque palace. A fountain runs in the foreground at the centre of the path
Things to see

Take time to explore and relax in these world-renowned gardens without the usual crowds.


Hampton Court Palace

Included in all admission tickets (members go free)