Hampton Court celebrates 500 years

Anniversary cake for Hampton Court Palace Image copyright Hampton Court Palace
Image caption A five tier cake displaying centuries in the palace's history was created for the event

The history of Hampton Court Palace will be retold in one evening as part of celebrations to mark its five hundredth anniversary.

Live period music and a banquet prepared in the Tudor kitchen are just some of the activities being held later to mark the event.

Actors will also be performing palace stories throughout the day.

Declared a palace in 1530 by Henry VIII, the London building has hosted William Shakespeare.

'Bling palace'

Rebuilt under the orders of Cardinal Wolsey in 1515, the palace also hosted the religious conference which led to the creation of the King James Bible.

Deborah Shaw, from Hampton Court Palace, said the site had always been used to make a statement.

"It was a real bling palace. It was a place to show off for... first of all for Wolsey when he started rebuilding it," she said.

"He was on the European stage as a cardinal and he had to have a place to entertain ambassadors and obviously the king, and of course the king, Henry the VIII, loved it so much that he got Wolsey to rather obligingly hand it over."

Image copyright Hampton Court Palace
Image caption Hampton Court was declared a palace by Henry VIII in 1530

Celebrations will culminate in a party this evening where the historic palace's south facade will be lit up with animation and music displaying its 500-year history, ending with a 25-minute light show.

Thousands of young people have been recruited to contribute to an animated film covering the history of the palace. Workshops have been held at the venue since February.

Hampton Court Palace has hosted many royal honeymoons, meetings between Elizabeth I and her suitors and a performance from Handel.

It is the place where Jane Seymour died, where Charles I was imprisoned and where William III suffered a fatal accident.

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