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King’s Beasts

King's Beasts - Hampton Court Palace - Joy of Museums

King’s Beasts

Ten statues of heraldic animals called the King’s Beasts, stand on the bridge over the moat leading to the great gatehouse. These statues represent the ancestry of King Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour. The animals are:

  • the lion of England
  • the Seymour lion
  • the Royal Dragon
  • the black bull of Clarence
  • the yale of Beaufort
  • the white lion of Mortimer
  • the White Greyhound of Richmond
  • the Tudor dragon
  • the Seymour panther
  • the Seymour unicorn.

King's Beasts - Hampton Court Palace - Joy of Museums - 2

Jane Seymour (1508 – 1537) was Queen of England as the third wife of King Henry VIII. She succeeded Anne Boleyn as queen consort following Boleyn’s execution and died of postnatal complications less than two weeks after the birth of her only child, a son who became King Edward VI. Jane Seymour was the only one of Henry’s wives to receive a queen’s funeral, and his only consort to be buried beside him in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

King's Beasts - Hampton Court Palace - Joy of Museums - 3

Thomas Wolsey, Archbishop of York, Chief Minister and a favourite of Henry VIII, started building Hampton Court Palace in 1514. However in 1528, knowing that the King had turned against him and was engineering his downfall, Wolsey passed the palace to the King as a gift. The King almost immediately began his own rebuilding and expansion. The architecture of King Henry’s new palace followed the existing design of perpendicular Gothic-inspired Tudor with Renaissance ornament.

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King’s Beasts

  • Name:                 King’s Beasts
  • Dates:                   1530’s
  • Historic Site:      Hampton Court Palace


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
– Charles Dickens


Photo Credit: JOM