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SheKnows tours the palace from Jack the Giant Slayer

Shanee is a screenwriter and educator living in Los Angeles. She created the web series She Blinded Me w Science to encourage young girls to explore science and technology. You can also read her blog where she chronicles her filmmaking ...

Find out which lusty royals lived here

Jack the Giant Slayer, starring Nicholas Hoult and Ewan McGregor, was shot at the Hampton Court Palace in London. Once home to the blood-thirsty King Henry VIII, SheKnows takes you on a private tour of this 16th century royal palace.

Jack the Giant Slayer

Known as a “Pleasure Palace”, real-life Tudor King Henry VIII threw lavish parties at Hampton Court Palace for up to 800 people at a time — when he wasn’t chopping the heads off his wives, of course.

Hampton Court Palace

But whatever you do, don’t call it a castle! Brits make a clear distinction between palaces and castles. The difference? A castle is fortified to provide protection to the royal family in times of war and usually has a drawbridge and a moat. A palace is a beautiful structure with elaborate gardens ideal for celebrations and entertaining.

Hampton Court Palace

This courtyard was used as one of the locations where Jack the Giant Slayer was filmed. When SheKnows sat down with the film’s star Ewan McGregor, he told us, “We set up a marketplace with sheep and cows, horses and a circus tent of sorts. So this is where we started the movie.”

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Hampton Court Palace

This fountain is a replica of a fountain the real-life Tudors would have used during spring soirées. It would have been filled with wine and palace guests would just refill their cup at their leisure. On the edge of the fountain is a statue representing a woman who drank too much wine and passed out — no doubt a common occurrence back then.

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Hampton Court Palace

It’s no surprise this palace, built in the early 1500s, is rumored to be full of paranormal activity. For more than 500 years, people have been living and dying here. King Henry VIII’s teenage bride, Catherine Howard, was arrested for adultery and held captive in her apartment at the palace.

History says that one evening Howard was able to escape her room and make her way to the Royal Pew (or chapel), where her husband was praying. She screamed for Henry, begging and pleading for her life to be spared, but the guards dragged her back to her room, where she awaited her beheading. Modern-day visitors claim to hear her screams at night and have been known to feel cold drafts and even faint in this location.

Jack the giant slayer

But Jack the Giant slayer director Bryan Singer said he didn’t experience any ghostly goings-on, at least none of which he was aware. But when SheKnows chatted with him, he did admit that any place where Henry VIII had wives was creepy, saying, “A lot of dark things went on in these rooms, I imagine.”

Hampton Court Palace

What looks like a lush green play area was actually once the location of a moat. This waterway wasn’t used for protection, however, it functioned as the palace’s sewer. All the toilets emptied into this area and was considered state-of-the-art plumbing.

Hampton Court Palace

This clock in the second courtyard did more than tell time — in fact, it was considered cutting edge technology. This dial kept track of the date and also the ever important sea tides, which would be crucial information to have if the king was planning to travel by sea.

Jack the Giant Slayer stars Nicholas Hoult, Ewan McGregor, Eleanor Tomlinson and Stanley Tucci, and opens today, March 1.

Jack the Giant Slayer photos courtesy of Warner Bros.
Hampton Court Palace photos courtesy of Shanee Edwards
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