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Haunted Gallery and Processional Route

Walk Henry VIII’s route from his private apartments to the Chapel Royal — now lined with 16th century paintings including portraits of Tudor monarchs — and see the infamous Haunted Gallery in the State Apartments at Hampton Court Palace.

Experience the Haunted Gallery

In 1541, Catherine Howard, Henry VIII’s fifth queen, discovered that she was to be charged with adultery. Only a few years earlier, her cousin and Henry's second queen, Anne Boleyn, had been executed after similar accusations had been made.

Legend has it that Catherine, terrified and desperate, broke free from her guards stationed outside her rooms at Hampton Court Palace and ran along the processional route in the hope of finding Henry in the Chapel, to plead her innocence.

Just before Catherine reached the door, she was seized by guards who took her screaming back to her rooms.

Catherine was executed at the Tower of London just three months later; her body still lies in the Chapel Royal of St Peter Ad Vincula, within the Tower walls.

Catherine’s ghost can, allegedly, be seen running through what is now called the Haunted Gallery at Hampton Court Palace, wailing for mercy.

The Processional Route and Tudor portraits

Henry VIII's 'Coming Forth' from his private apartments to the Chapel, on Sundays and special holy days, became the principal occasion when the King made himself available to his wider court.

Today, the route is lined with 16th century paintings including portraits of Henry and his family.



Ticketing information

50% off tickets until 09 February. 

Included in palace admission (members go free)

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Highlights of the Processional Route

'The Embarkation of Henry VIII at Dover' depicts the King setting sail with his court from Dover to Calais in 1520 to meet King Francis I of France for a grand summit, which became known as 'The Field of the Cloth of Gold'.

Henry is shown in the background on a ship with golden sails. On the left is Dover Castle and in the distance the coast of France. The ships are not necessarily the ones that the court used to travel in 1520 but were painted (at a later date in Henry’s reign) to represent the grandest ships in Henry’s navy. This means the painting is really a celebration of Tudor power. The most prominent ship in the picture may be the famous Mary Rose, pride of Henry’s fleet, which sank near the Isle of Wight in 1545.

Royal Collection Trust/© His Majesty King Charles 2023

This bright painting shows Henry VIII and his fleet setting sail from Dover to Calais on 31 May 1520 on the way to meet Francis I at The Field of Cloth of Gold.

'The Family of Henry VIII' is an extraordinary dynastic portrait of Henry VIII and his family. The painting shows the King at the centre, flanked by Jane Seymour, his third wife, and their son, Prince Edward (later Edward VI).

To either side of Henry’s canopy of state are his two daughters, who would later become Mary I and Elizabeth I. In the background, it is believed that we can also see two of the court 'fools', Will Somers and Jame, rare portraits of two Tudor servants.

The painting is also remarkable because it depicts an imaginary scene; Jane Seymour had died shortly after giving birth to Edward, eight years before the portrait was painted.

Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

This painting is currently not on display at Hampton Court, while it features in the exhibition Holbein at the Tudor Court, at The Queen's Gallery in London, between November 2023 and April 2024. 

Portrait of The Family of Henry VIII c. 1545. Henry VIII sits under a canopy of state surrounded by Prince Edward, Jane Seymour, Princess Mary and Princess Elizabeth.


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Great Hall

Experience the splendour of the Tudor court in Henry VIII's Great Hall, complete with his magnificent tapestries.

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  • Included in palace admission (members go free)
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Wolsey Closet

Explore this hidden Tudor space that is thought to be the only surviving room of Cardinal Wolsey's apartments.

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  • Included in palace admission (members go free)
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Henry VIII's Kitchens

Transport yourself back to the heyday of Tudor feasting and entertainment in Henry VIII's Kitchens at Hampton Court Palace.

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  • Included in palace admission (members go free)
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Henry VIII, Terrible Tudor?

Who was the real Henry VIII?

Catherine Howard

A young woman whose marriage to Henry VIII would end in tragedy

Jane Seymour

Henry VIII's third and favourite wife

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