Housekeeping tips from the palace
Lewis Jones on a gossipy history of royal households, from Gloriana at Hampton Court to our present Queen
BEHIND THE THRONE
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