Boys bow to School’s Founder

QE boys seized the opportunity to make small talk with the Founder of their School, Queen Elizabeth I, during a visit to Hampton Court Palace!

A number of characters – including the Virgin Queen – were represented by actors as part of Tudor re-enactment taking place during the Year 8 History trip.

The boys were also given insights into the palace’s grand architecture. They learned about the history of the site, built on the instructions of Cardinal Wolsey in the early 16th century. It was acquired and developed by Henry VIII as his favourite home and was one of only a few royal palaces that could accommodate his household of over 1,000 people. The boys were shown the marked contrast between the original Tudor gothic architecture and the baroque palace developed by William and Mary during their reign in the late 1600s.

“It’s very much a palace of two halves,” said Head of History Helen MacGregor. “Inside we saw the Grand Hall, where Shakespeare’s original company performed. We saw actors dressed as Tudors – including Queen Elizabeth I. Our boys took the opportunity to bow down to her as Founder of our School and to make small talk with her!”

""The boys discovered that the Great Hall is still used for modern-day conferences and hosted a meeting of EU leaders in 2005. They also witnessed some of the conservation work that is constantly being undertaken at the palace, notably the restoration of ancient books. Part of the tour included a recital on the organ in the chapel, said to have been played by Handel himself. 

“The trip had great education value and the boys enjoyed seeing for themselves the scenes of so many famous events, including the death of Jane Seymour after the birth of her son and future king Edward VI,” said Miss MacGregor. “The boys were fascinated by the rumours of various hauntings and kept a look-out for the ghost of Catherine Howard!”