Tower of London

On Tuesday, June 20, we took a ferry to the Tower of London; this is a view of Big Ben from the ferry.

I’d imagined the Tower of London as a single structure but it’s more like a village, with many buildings surrounding a courtyard. In addition to being a prison, it had been the residence of the royal family and was (and still is) the keeper of the crown jewels.

We started our visit with an hour-long tour guided by a beefeater (below). He showed us Traitor’s Gate, where Henry VIII’s wife Anne Boleyn would have entered the tower for her imprisonment, and took us into the church where Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard are buried (no pictures were allowed inside).

Here is the site where both women were beheaded for infidelity to the king:

I just read a book about Henry VIII’s wives. Although it’s likely that Katherine Howard was unfaithful (she confessed), the charges against her cousin Anne Boleyn are dubious. Henry VIII wanted to get rid of Anne because she hadn’t yet given him an heir and he had fallen in love with Jane Seymour.

There’s also a section of the tower called the Medieval Palace, where the royal family would have stayed (usually for a specific purpose and not for very long). They were built by Henry III and his son Edward I.

This is a recreation of Edward I’s bedchamber (I believe the bed is mentioned in Lucy Worsley’s book, If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home).

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