This was another thrilling day. Scott, when we were discussing what we were going to do, said that we would be able to do the Tower, then St Pauls, then leave at 4 to go back to the apartment to get ready for our early dinner and the theatre. (The Book of Morman.) I had my doubts. The Tower? All that History? I knew it’d be Hampton Court Palace all over again.
The Roman wall.
The White Tower. This is the one that William the Conqueror built.
From another angle. How impressive (and scary) would this have been when everything else around it was only one story high and made of wood?
The King’s chapel inside the White Tower. This is so incredibly old, considering that the Normans invaded in 1066 and this was the first thing they built in London. I could hardly believe my luck in being able to sit here, just as they did.
Sure enough, it was a full day. It was amazing.
The first thing we did when we got through the gates was to head for the Crown Jewels. Scott said that the queues get really massive later in the day, which was correct. They went for miles. However, we walked straight in. That decision saved us at least half an hour. It’s so great to be travelling with someone who knows the ropes and does the research. 🙂
I took this photo of the queue mid-afternoon. The queue didn’t stop here; it went all the way down the street to the left. Word to the wise… do what we did and go there first thing in the morning. You won’t regret it.
After that we went to the White Tower for a tour. This was really good.
It began in the chapel, then we moved to the big room outside, where Queen Elizabeth, Henry VII’s wife (Princess Elizabeth for the Richard III Shakespeare people) died in childbirth. It’s a massive space and even with partitions for privacy, it can’t have been pleasant for her, quite apart from the whole dying bit.
We heard about all sorts of interesting things, like how they arranged their fireplaces so that the smoke wouldn’t give away how many people were inside to the Saxons outside; how their loos were made and other interesting titbits.
Here’s a longer view of it.
The rest of our day was spent going around the various halls and towers and looking at what was inside. I found the saddest thing was looking out the windows down at the scenes below. It must’ve been so hard for the prisoners to see life going on as normal just a few feet away and yet be stuck in the small rooms with nothing to do. No wonder they graffitied the walls.
This is the view the little Princes would’ve had, before they vanished.
Here’s their room:
In Beauchamp Tower, here’s where the prisoners passed the time:
Lady Jane Grey; either her or a supporter. She was only 16 when they beheaded her.
Try getting out of that! Here’s the view going up the staircase:
Here’s the place where Anne Boleyn, Katherine Howard, Margaret Pole and Lady Jane Grey were beheaded. Not all at the same time. George Boleyn’s wife, Lady Jane Rochford, was also beheaded there.
See the church behind it? It’s closed, unless you go on a Yeoman’s tour. We hadn’t done that, but Scott saw them open the chain to the entrance and he said, “Quick! Join the tour!” So we got into the church, where St Thomas More, Anne Boleyn, Katharine Howard, Jane Grey and countless others are buried. It was unforgettable.
The following shot is his room:
In contrast, the following shots are showing how the King’s bedroom would’ve looked when Edward I was King.
The tiled floor in his personal chapel was a huge luxury for the day.
As is the clotted cream I had as part of my lunch. OMG, somebody stop me…
Incidentally, just look at the thickness of the wall beside our table at the café:
No wonder Royalty always scuttled into the Tower when political times were restive. You’d feel pretty safe behind walls that thick.
I don’t think this has any need for explanation…
This is where the ravens live.
I just like this shot of the White Tower.
I also like the contrast of this shot, with the Shard rising up behind.
After this we nipped off to an early dinner and then saw ‘The Book Of Morman’ at the West End. Not a bad day, really. 🙂