Monday, September 30, 2013


This gentleman has served 22 years in the Queen's service. 

Good Monday morning to you! Patty Smith Hall here with one of the beefeaters guarding the Tower of London during my recent visit to Great Britain. A good friend told me a trick on how to get the beefeaters to pose for pictures and as you can see, it worked out rather well!

Anne Boleyn's apartments. Notice the styling.

Today, we're traveling back to the early 1500s. Henry VIII has broken with the Roman Catholic Church over his pending divorce from Catherine of Aragon and his desire to marry Anne Boleyn. To please his soon to be wife, Henry begins working on the Tower's royal apartments, commissioning large wooden structures that would serve as Anne's home at court during the seven years in which they waited for Rome to decree a divorce. Once it became clear the Pope would not grant a divorce to the king, Henry formed his own church, The Church of England and married Anne in January, 1533.

The gate through which Anne was brought after her arrest.

But a happy union was not to be. Anne gave Henry a daughter--Elizabeth, then suffered three miscarriages that her husband viewed as punishment from God. In order to secure an heir, Henry needed someone who could give him a son and ordered an investigation of Anne. As a person in favor of religious reform, she'd made many enemies amongst the court who were happy to see her arrested for adultery and incest.

The execution block

In May, 1536, Anne was convicted by a jury of her peers which included her former fianc√©, Henry Percy and her uncle, Thomas Howard.  She was executed four days later at the hand of a French swordsman, an expert in beheading ladies of the realm. Behind the execution block is the church which is Anne's final resting place.

A frontal view of the Tower

Tower Bridge, not to be confused with London Bridge

One of the famous black crows that lives on the Tower's grounds.

GIVEAWAY: The first person to tell me the legend of the crows that live in the tower's walls will win a lovely tour guide of Buckingham Palace!


  1. At least six ravens are kept at the Tower at all times, in accordance with the belief that if they are absent, the kingdom will fall.
    Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

  2. Great post, Patty. Wish I could have tagged along on your trip to London. The reign of Henry VIII was a pivotal time in world history and one of my favorites to read about. How neat that you got to see where it all took place.

  3. Lovely pictures! I must confess, I've never understood Henry VIII. If ever there was a case for elected leadership of a country rather than hereditary monarchy, surely Henry VIII was it. I just can't understand why the people of England didn't stand up and do something about it. Instead they just sat around and said "Oh, he's our king so I guess we'll follow a crazed lunatic who likes killing people for no reason." I think I'm to Americanized and populist to ever understand English history. I mean, I can understand the facts, just not why British citizens would allow some of this stuff to happen. But then, I suppose the British weren't citizens back then, they were subjects. The difference between those two terms probably tells you a lot right there.

  4. Hi Patty, that was a fun tour! Thanks for sharing. So what is the trick to get the Beefeaters to have their photo taken with you? : )

  5. Great pictures! What a crazy history that was.

  6. The ravens are traditionally believed to protect the Crown and the Tower; the superstition is: "If the Tower of London ravens leave, the Crown will fall and Britain with it." I think the old English king and queen stories are just fascinating!!! And quite scary too!! :)


  7. Hi! I found this explanation at

    According to tradition, the curious raven prophecy can be traced back to the “Merry Monarch”, Charles II (1660-1685). On 22 June 1675, the King established the Royal Observatory at the Tower of London, housed in the north-eastern turret of the White Tower. The Royal Astronomer, John Flamsteed (1646-1719), allegedly complained to the King that the birds were interfering with his celestial observations. Charles therefore ordered their demise – only to be forewarned by an obscure soothsayer that: “if the ravens left the Tower, the White Tower would collapse and a great disaster befall the Kingdom”. There are various similar versions of the legend, but all maintain that a horrible catastrophe would be visited upon the country if all the ravens quit the Tower. After hearing the warning, the King decreed that at least six ravens be kept at the Tower at all times to prevent such a calamity. Now the birds’ wings are routinely clipped so they cannot escape.

    Thanks for the contest! pudy68 @ gmail dot com

  8. Such an interesting post! Thank you for sharing your wonderful trip. You have provided a taste of Europe for those of us who couldn't be there ourselves. Thanks again!

    melback at cebridge dot net

  9. Enjoyed the post, & the pics, Patty! Thanks!


  10. J Smith, this was a very interesting explanation of the History of the Ravens. Thanks Patty for this history lesson. Those people sure killed a lot of wives who didn't please them, iy seems. The man wasn't smart enough to know he was the cause of his first child being a girl, not his wife. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

  11. Good morning everyone! I'm sorry I've been absent this week--my sweet, sassy grandma stepped into Glory Monday morning and I've been with my family this week. But I'm happy to announce that the winner of the Buckingham Palace tour guide is. . .Kathleen! Congratulation! I'll be getting in touch with you this weekend! Thanks to everyone for dropping by.