Class field trip this morning to Hampton Courts, which were castle grounds built for show, not for defensive purposes, by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey.  Wolsey was Henry the 8th’s right hand man and advised him with all military strategies.  Henry the 8th basically stole the property from Wolsey and made the plot his own.  Interesting how power can enable monarchs to get their hands on anything they desire.

I wandered through the courts and old meat butchering rooms, listened to the choir sing a few hymns in the Great Hall, and toured the apartments (equivalent to royal living quarters).  I learned a more sensitive story about Henry VIII’s struggles with Katherine of Aragon to produce a male heir to secure the crown within the family line. Incredible to think that over a period of 11 years, she gave birth to 6 children of which only one survived, 4 were stillborns, and the last survived only 7 weeks after birth before dying.  Speaks to the struggle many families endured to successfully produce children with terrible medical technology.

Out back, the gardens were beautiful, especially the half acres of thousands of roses in full bloom.  I solved a hedge maze by finding the middle.  A side note, the hedge maze was the oldest of its kind and affirmed by a Guinness Book of World Records plaque by the entrance (pictured below).  It was a rainy and slightly chilly day, about 55 out, but thank goodness for no wind (that would have driven me inside immediately).