Go under cover at Hampton Court Palace bed exhibition
For the first time ever the world’s largest and rarest collection of 17th and 18th century state beds will be presented at Hampton Court Palace.
Through the stories of their royal owners and servants, visitors will be able to explore the elaborate, sometimes bizarre bedchamber rituals, unusual sleeping arrangements and enjoy the luxurious excesses of the Stuart and Hanoverian courts.
Historic Royal Palaces’ exhibition curator, Sebastian Edwards, says: “Visitors to the exhibition will discover that, far from being restful places of privacy, the state bedchamber was the seat of power – the equivalent of the modern day boardroom, from which the business of the Kingdom was conducted.”
The exhibition tells the story of how and why the bedchamber became the most public and important destination in the palace.
The regal beds have undergone 50 years of extensive conservation and restoration, with each one having its own unique story to tell. Edwards says: “Events which took place in and around these beds had enormous consequences for society, politics and history.
“Courtiers were knighted, wars were brokered, marriages consummated and mistresses wooed all in the shadow of the royal bed.”
For the first time, the tragic story behind Queen Anne’s magnificent velvet state bed will be revealed.
Visitors will be plunged into an interactive world of Stuart Court, and will experience something like nothing a Royal Palace has ever seen before.
Edwards says: “These are extraordinary beds – but not as we know them today.”
Secrets of the Royal Bedchamber; Hampton Court Palace; March 27 to November 3; 10am to 4.30pm; Cost included in admission, £8.80 - £17.60; 0844 4827799.