Hampton Court Palace was originally built for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, a favourite of King Henry VIII.
Cardinal Wolsey used the palace to entertain his monarch and receive foreign dignitaries. In 1529, however, the Cardinal failed to persuade the Pope to annul the king´s marriage in order to allow Henry VIII to divorce Queen Katherine of Aragon. It was the disgrace of Thomas Wolsey who lost Hampton Court.
The palace became propriety of the King, who enlarged it. Since then, Hampton Court has been a Royal Palace, transformed by different monarchs. Its halls, rooms and gardens are like a mirror of different ages, symbols and tastes, but the memory of Henry VIII is still felt very strongly.
Henry VIII´s private WC
King William II private dining room laid out for dessert
Not to be missed is the Cumberland Art Gallery. King Charles I turned the Royal Collection into the largest private collection of art in the world. Nowadays we can admire masterpieces by the great court artists such as Holbein, Rubens, Van Dyck and a set of 12 paintings by Canaletto.
When king George II dined publicly he did it in style. The skilled art of napkin folding was popular in the royal courts of Germany.