Owners of Queen Anne Boleyn’s home need to apply for planning permission – to move a wardrobe
- Owners of Hever Castle in Kent are seeking planning permission from council
The owners of Anne Boleyn’s family home have been required to seek planning permission in order to move a 1970s wardrobe.
Broadland Properties Ltd wants to restore the former Queen’s bedroom in Hever Castle in Kent to appear as it would have looked when she lived there as a young woman during her courtship with King Henry VIII.
To do so, they will have to rip out built-in wardrobes installed by its former owners, the hugely wealthy American Astor family in the 1970s.
Because it is a Grade-I listed building, the current owners will have to apply for planning permission.
The Queen, whose marriage to Henry VIII led to the establishment of the Church of England, spent much of her life in the 13th century castle – which was owned by her family from 1461 to 1539.
Hever Castle in Kent wants to restore Anne Boleyn’s bedroom to how it would have looked when she lived there as a young woman
Anne Boleyn spent much of her youth at Hever Castle, which was the setting of her courtship with King Henry VIII throughout the 1520s
1970s wardrobes sub-dividing the Tudor ‘Small Chamber’ – first floor north west room of the Hever Castle
‘The Pink Bathroom’. In Tudor times, this was Anne Boleyn’s closet – her private room of business, study and devotion. It is proposed to relocate the fittings into the new portion of the Astor Wing, and enable the room to be furnished for display, better enabling understanding of the heritage asset
The owner plans to remove the bathroom fittings from what was Lady Irene Astor’s pink bathroom, dating from the 1970s, and to restore the room to resemble its Tudor use as Anne Boleyn’s closet or study
The wealthy American Astor family bought Hever Castle in 1903 and kept it until 1983 when it was sold to John Guthrie, chairman of Broadland Properties Ltd
Anne Boleyn: Famously beheaded mother of England’s most famous Queen
Anne Boleyn was said to have been born in the Boleyns’ ancestral home of Blickling, Norfolk, in 1501.
She was sent to the court of Margaret of Savoy in modern-day Belgium as an adolescent, eventually finding her way to the French court as a lady-in-waiting to Francis I’s wife Queen Claude.
Upon her return to England in 1522, she joined her family at Hever Castle and dazzled the English with her unmatched sophistication, catching the eye of King Henry VIII.
After years of failed negotiations, the King broke away from the Roman Catholic Church and annulled his marriage to Katherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne in 1533.
Later that year, she gave birth to Elizabeth I – perhaps England’s most famous monarch alongside her father – but failed to produce a male heir and she was beheaded in 1536 after a political downfall orchestrated by her enemy, Thomas Cromwell.
The castle was bought by America’s richest family the Astors in 1903 who spent five years and vast sums redeveloping it as a Tudor castle of old, but with all the modern conveniences of the early 20th century.
William Waldorf Astor was reputedly America’s richest man when he moved to England in 1891, with a personal fortune of $100 million.
His descendants remained at Hever until 1983 when it was sold to John Guthrie, chairman of Broadland Properties Ltd.
The trouble is, the castle’s owners feel, is that the two stories are too often confused for visitors.
A project is under way to disentangle the two histories so visitors will be able to immerse themselves fully in one historical time period or the other.
In particular, it is intended to restore two rooms currently set out as they were in the time of the Astors and return them to how they would have been in Anne Boleyn’s day.
This has resulted in a planning application to remove some built-in wardrobes which were actually only installed in the 1970s, which sub-divide the space that was the queen’s old bedroom.
In addition, it is intended to remove the bathroom fittings from what was Lady Irene Astor’s pink bathroom, also dating from the 1970s, and to restore the room to resemble its Tudor use as Anne Boleyn’s closet or study.
It will be refurbished with a medieval writing desk with a model of Anne herself.
The bathroom will be recreated in one of the new rooms of the Astor Wing.
A third facet of the castle’s history will also be given more weight – that of the influence of Anne of Cleves, another of Henry VIII’s six wives.
It was she who had the castle’s Long Gallery constructed, but that’s another story.
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