Nobody does historical better than the royals! I am thrilled to have Amy from Passages To The Past walk us through the harrowing after lives of the historical figures with whom she is most familiar.
It is such a pleasure to be guest posting for Allie and Nicole’s Harrowing Historicals event! It has been a great month of reviews and guest posts, so kudos to Allie and Nicole!
For me, Halloween is synonymous with ghosts and when I was approached about this event I knew instantly that that was what I wanted to write about! And what’s better than ghosts, but ones of the royal variety. For your entertainment pleasure, I have put together a post about some of the most infamous of royal ghost sightings. So sit back with a bag of your favorite Halloween candy, lock your doors and prepare to be spooked!!
At Hampton Court palace the ghost of Jane Seymour, the third wife of King Henry VIII, has been seen in a white robe and carrying a candle walking through the Palace. Jane died in childbirth in 1537 and her ghost has been spotted in different areas of Hampton Court, such as the Clock Court, walking along the cobbled courtyards or in the Silver Stick Gallery on the anniversary of her son Edward’s death.
Henry VIII once called his fifth wife his “rose without a thorn”, but now Catherine Howard is known as the Screaming lady in the Haunted Gallery at Hampton Court Palace. When Catherine was imprisoned in Hampton Court on the charge of adultery she broke free from her guards and ran down the Haunted Gallery in a vain attempt to reach her husband the King and plead for her life. Reports tell of a ghostly figure seen running the same path and visitors have heard screams coming from the gallery. In 1999 two female visitors to the Palace (in separate tours) fainted in the same spot in the Haunted Gallery within 30 minutes of each other.
At the Tower of London, where she was beheaded on the Tower Green in 1536, her ghost has been seen wandering the grounds or in the White Tower, sometimes with her severed head under her arm.
Also at the Tower of London, in the Chapel Royal, an incident occurred in the 19th century. A Captain of the Guard saw a light coming from the locked Chapel one night and went to investigate. The following is an excerpt from Ghostly Visitors by “Spectre Stricken”, London 1882: Slowly down the aisle moved a stately procession of Knights and Ladies, attired in ancient costumes; and in front walked an elegant female whose face was averted from him, but whose figure greatly resembled the one he had seen in reputed portraits of Anne Boleyn. After having repeatedly paced the chapel, the entire procession together with the light disappeared.
Sightings of Anne’s ghost have also been spotted walking the path from the Queen’s House to visit her grave in the Chapel of Saint Peter ad Vincula. In 1864 a guard at Queen’s House saw a misty figure coming towards him and was shocked to discover that when as he moved his bayonet into the figure it went straight through it. There were 2 people who witnessed the event from the window of the Bloody Tower and they believed it to be the ghost of Anne Boleyn.
One of the more gruesome sightings has been reported in both Blickling Hall in Norfolk and Hever Castle in Kent (her childhood home). Anne, with her bloody severed head in her lap, is driven by a headless horseman in a coach pulled by headless horses. At Blickling Hall, the coach disappears as her ghost enters the Hall and walks the corridors until dawn. And at Hever, Anne is said to appear at Christmas time beneath the oak tree where her and Henry once courted.
LADY MARGARET POLE, COUNTESS OF SALISBURY
Lady Margaret Pole, the 8th Countess of Salisbury was killed horrifically in 1541 in a botched execution on the Tower Green. Her son had the gall to oppose King Henry VIII’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon and because Henry couldn’t get his hands on Reginald Pole he took retaliation out on his mother. The old and frail Countess was dragged to the block and as her head was forcefully held down. The executioner made his first attempt but missed and struck her on the shoulder. She then jumped up and ran around the block with the axeman pursuing her. Sources vary as to how many blows it actually took to kill her, the number ranges from three to eleven blows of the axe before she mercifully died. On the anniversary of her execution her ghost is seen and heard re-enacting that horrible scene on the Tower Green.
THE PRINCES IN THE TOWER
When King Edward IV died in 1483, his two sons Edward (heir to the throne) and Richard were declared illegitimate and theiruncle was crowned as Richard III. The boys were “accommodated” at the Tower of London where they would eventually disappear forever. Theories abound as to their fate, but the most popular remains that they were murdered at the request of Richard III, a theory which is still hotly debated to this day. Two skeletons were found in 1674 under the staircase leading to the White Tower and some believed them to have been belonging to the two boys. They were reburied in Westminster Abbey by Charles II and in 1933 were exhumed for further testing, but there is still no conclusive evidence as to the identity of the skeletons.
In the 15th century a guard in the Tower of London saw the ghosts of two children wearing white nightgowns and holding tightly to one another, trembling with fright and when witnesses walk toward them the figures fade away.
LADY JANE GREY
Jane Grey, also known as the Nine Days Queen, was only 17 years old when she and her husband Guildford were beheaded on the orders of Queen Mary I. On the 403rd anniversary of her execution Jane’s ghost was seen by two Guardsmen as a “white shape forming itself on the battlements”. Her husband Guildford has been spotted weeping in the Beauchamp Tower.
MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS
The apparition of Mary, Queen of Scots has been spotted dressed as a page boy at Borthwick Castle in Scotland. Mary had stopped at the castle after marrying the Earl of Bothwell and she barely escaped with her life disguised as a man.
A headless Mary has also been said to haunt Craignethan Castle, where she spent one night before the Battle of Langside. The battle resulted in Mary’s forced abdication of her crown to her son, James VI.
Holyrood House Palace is another of Mary’s haunts; though she is not alone…Lord Darnley and Mary’sfavorite Rizzio also have their spirits roaming the castle. The outer door of Mary’s apartments have been seen stained with Rizzio’s blood that will not wash away.
The Talbot Hotel in Northamptonshire houses the original staircase from Fotheringhay Castle, where Mary was executed in 1587. Visitors to the hotel have reported pictures moving on their own, seeing a gaunt faced woman staring out from the hotel windows and one night a guest was awakened with the sense that someone had sat on the bed.