House­keep­ing tips from the palace

Lewis Jones on a gos­sipy his­tory of royal house­holds, from Glo­ri­ana at Hamp­ton Court to our present Queen

The Daily Telegraph - Review - - BOOKS -


romp through the do­mes­tic ar­range­ments of the monar­chy.

El­iz­a­beth I in­her­ited more than 50 houses, many of which she never vis­ited, and at least five of which fell down dur­ing her life­time. Her main res­i­dences were her palaces along the Thames. She liked to hunt at Wind­sor, and stayed at Hamp­ton Court for weeks in au­tumn. An­other favourite was Green­wich, where she was born in 1533. But she spent most of her time at White­hall, in the apart­ment that had been oc­cu­pied by her fa­ther: bed­cham­ber, bath­room, privy cham­ber, dress­ing cham­ber, din­ing cham­ber and li­brary, with views over the gar­den and its top­i­ary, foun­tain, sun­dial and 34 painted beasts on col­umns.

She had a great num­ber of ser­vants, and the prin­ci­pal ones had ser­vants of their own. They “fought with each other and pil­fered any­thing that wasn’t nailed down”, broke win­dows and uri­nated ev­ery­where. Her house­hold ex­penses ran to about

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