Continuing our quest to have a Royal invite us to stay at one of their palace apartments, we traveled nearly 12 miles to the southwest of London to visit Hampton Court ( but once again, we did not receive any invitation to stay. However, next week we head to Scotland,, so we can always hope for an invitation to either Balmoral or Holyroodhouse). In 1515, Cardinal Wolsey purchased a private courtier's house and renovated it into a magnificent bishop's palace. Wolsey's friend, King Henry VIII visited often and became so enarmoured by Hampton Court, that in 1529 he seized it. Henry did his own renovations, creating one of the most glorious palaces in England. Henry owned at least 60 houses and palaces throughout England. Hampton Court is one of only two of Henry's properties to have survived through the centuries. When William III and Mary II captured the throne in 1689, they hired Sir Christopher Wren to rebuild it. Enthralled by the Palace of Versailles, Wren completely overhauled Hampton Court to rival its French counterpart. Since the 18th century, it was not inhabited by the Royal Family and fell into neglect by 1760. Then, in 1838, Queen Victoria began an ambitious restoration project in order to open Hampton Court to the public. A major fire in 1986 destroyed the King's apartments section, but was quickly rebuilt. Currently, Hampton Court is cared for the independent charity, Historic Royal Palaces.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.