With the incredible popularity of TV programme Wolf Hall many people have rediscovered a fascination for the lives and loves of the Tudors.
But how many realise that one of the younger stars of the programme – Anne Boleyn’s daughter Elizabeth, the future Queen of England - spent a considerable amount of her childhood at our very own Hertford Castle?
As viewers of the BBC2 hit show starring Mark Rylance and Damian Lewis will be aware, Elizabeth’s father Henry VIII was bitterly disappointed that Elizabeth was not a boy. At the tender age of just three months old she was packed off to the royal palace at Hatfield which she was given as her own private household away from her parents to be managed by a staff of nurses, courtiers and tutors.
Throughout her childhood she spent a great deal of time at Hertford Castle in the care of her governesses. At the age of nine she wrote a book of prayers which currently resides in the British Library and is dated in her own hand “Hertford 1535”.
Despite her father’s initial antipathy and subsequent ruling that she was “illegitimate” she was eventually reunited with him thanks to the efforts of his sixth wife, Katherine Parr. As a result Elizabeth was reinstated in the line of succession and following the early deaths of her half-brother Edward and half-sister Mary she became Queen in 1558 at the age of 25. She received the news that she was to become Queen whilst sitting under an oak tree at Hatfield House. Her subsequent reign lasted 45 years and she is still considered to be of England’s greatest ever monarchs.
During her reign Parliament met at Hertford Castle when it was driven from London by the plague. This is where Parliament Square in the town gets its name from whilst Queens Road takes its name from the tradition that Elizabeth would climb the hill from the Castle to enjoy the view from a spot afterwards known as Queen's Bench.
Here at Hertford Castle we like to think that perhaps despite her troubled childhood the benefits of growing up in such beautiful surroundings in the wonderful county town of Hertford shaped her in to the Queen who has gone down in history for defeating the Spanish Armada and saving England from invasion, reinstating Protestantism and forging an England that was a strong and independent nation.
If you would like to enjoy this historic venue we hire it out for weddings, naming ceremonies, birthday and anniversary celebrations. To find out more contact us on 01992 552 885 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to make your event fit for a Queen (or King)!
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