Before continuing with additional posts on our visit to Disneyland Paris, I thought I would fast-forward and share more about our days in London.
On our first full day after returning from Disneyland Paris, we took the train to see Hampton Court Palace, located on the River Thames just a few miles outside London.
Hampton Court was the home of King Henry VIII and British monarchs until the 18th century.
As with most palaces, photography is only permitted outdoors. You can learn more about the palace at the official website (click the title of this post).
The Fountain Court, designed by Christopher Wren. It's shot at an off angle as I wanted to exclude a lawn mower from the photo!
The palace has beautiful formal gardens:
Click any photo to enlarge and view details.
In the gardens:
I especially loved the "wild" gardens:
In the rose garden:
More of the rose garden:
Hampton Court was interesting but was not kept up as well as other royal palaces we have visited. It's in definite need of some heavy-duty restoration work, which is no doubt extremely expensive. Paper signs appearing here and there were tacky and appeared sloppy; surely they can do better than that.
The Tudor era has never been of particular interest to me, but due to visiting Hampton Court I decided to try out the TV series THE TUDORS (2007) via Netflix. My opinion of the first three episodes, viewed over the weekend, is mixed. The "fresh look" at history is well done, with lots of interesting palace intrigue headed by the always-fascinating Sam Neill as Cardinal Wolsey.
There are other good performances, including Jeremy Northam (EMMA) as Sir Thomas More and Maria Doyle Kennedy as Catherine of Aragon, although I might have detected an Irish brogue peeking out from under Catherine's Spanish accent. Natalie Dormer shows promise as the manipulative Anne Boleyn.
However, thus far I've found Jonathan Rhys Meyers to offer a boring one-note performance (that note being "creep"), while the plentiful naked bodies -- this was a cable production -- were just silly and had me hitting fast-forward on my remote. (Parental advisory: x-nay on any children viewing this!)
Henry's liaisons with Lady Blount (Ruta Gedmintas) and Mary Boleyn (Perdita Weeks) may have been true to history, but it would have been more interesting if the filmmakers had invested the effort to depict these scenes with some subtlety. The filmmakers seem to have lost sight of the concept that "less is more." One has the sense that they were showing some things just because they could, but the scenes were not dramatically compelling in the least, nor were they necessary to understand the plot, as was proven by my using the fast-forward button.
I'll try the next disc and hope it improves and that we see beyond Henry's shallow exterior to the man inside. (Or maybe, given his track record, there was no "there" there?) If anyone has watched this series, I'd enjoy your thoughts.
London posts coming soon: Kensington Palace; Windsor Castle; Blenheim Palace; and more!