Fireworks for Henry VIII 500th Anniversary
On Saturday 20 June 2009, Historic Royal Palaces will mark the 500th anniversary of King Henry VIII’s coronation (24 June 1509) with a magnificent Tudor river pageant rowing from the Tower of London up the River Thames to the King’s favourite surviving royal residence, Hampton Court Palace. This event is being held in association with Thames Alive.
Henry VIII’s Coronation weekend celebrations will be the highlight event in Historic Royal Palaces’ year-long celebrations marking the 500th anniversary of the mighty monarch’s accession to the throne. The Tower of London is holding a major exhibition, Henry VIII: Dressed to Kill, bringing together the most stunning display of the King’s personal arms and armour ever seen in the UK, whilst Hampton Court Palace is hosting Henry VIII: heads and hearts, a series of unmissable special events and exhibitions at the great Tudor palace which has been majestically transformed for the landmark year.
At 10am on Saturday 20 June, visitors to the Tower of London will see King Henry VIII and his Queen boarding the Royal Shallop ‘Jubilant’, followed by a splendidly attired entourage of Tudor courtiers and musicians. Accompanied by a flotilla of traditional shallops and Watermen’s cutters, the King will proceed along the River Thames with more boats joining the procession at Richmond for the final leg of the journey to Hampton Court Palace.
King Henry’s loyal subjects are invited to line the banks of the river Thames between central London through Fulham, Putney, Chiswick, Richmond, and up to Hampton Court Palace, cheering the King and Queen and the flotilla as they pass by on their journey.
Meanwhile, at Hampton Court Palace, preparations will be underway in anticipation of their arrival at around 3pm. Visitors will be invited to explore King Henry’s palace and picnic in the East Front gardens on this special day, The Tudor cooks will be hard at work in Henry VIII’s kitchens preparing a feast fit for a King, which will be served to the royal party in the palace’s famous gardens. Music, dancing, and entertainment from the King’s fools will take the celebrations into the evening at the palace, with Henry VIII’s State Apartments open until late and fireworks at 9.45pm, so get ready to party like its 1509!
On Sunday 21 June, festivities will continue at Hampton Court Palace with traditional Tudor court fun and games on the river, such as boat races and tug of war, with further opportunities to meet the King, Queen and members of the court throughout the day, By late afternoon the royal couple will bid farewell to Henry’s palace playground, once again boarding the ‘Jubilant’ to travel back downriver, and bringing the historic weekend’s celebrations to a close.
The event is part of the Story of London festival - a month-long series of cultural activities celebrating London's heritage, past, present, and future - The highlight, the fireworks of course.