Join Henry VIII's court for his last wedding

Fri Oct 16, 2009 12:14pm EDT
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By Georgina Cooper

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Don a velvet cloak, practice your curtsey and join Henry VIII at Hampton Court Palace as he prepares to say "I do" for his sixth and last time.

Visitors to this attraction southwest of London can roam Henry's favorite royal residence on the banks of the River Thames and join the monarch and Catherine Parr as they prepare to wed.

"Heads and Hearts" is not so much an exhibit but an entire experience, immersing visitors in the sights, sounds and smells of the Tudor court.

Costumes of cloaks and gowns are handed out to those who want to join in the celebrations and follow performers playing the parts of the happy couple and nervous courtiers.

"It's much more of an immersive Tudor world. You really feel that you are visiting Henry's court and Henry is in the building, everything is happening and there is going to be a wedding," Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, which looks after Hampton Court, told Reuters.

The daily wedding extravaganza is part of a series of year-long events to commemorate 500 years since one of Britain's most famous kings ascended the throne in 1509.

The state apartments have been lavishly reappointed with new furnishings and 500-year-old tapestries, the Tudor roof refurbished and there is a new garden in Chapel Court, faithfully restored to exactly as it was in Henry VIII's time.

Visitors can chose to either follow Catherine Parr as she dresses in her sumptuous wedding gown and deliberates marrying a man who beheaded two of his previous wives, or go with Henry as he spends his last hours as a single man.   Continued...