A Visit to Hever Castle

As part of the Jubilee Celebrations this weekend, we spent a glorious day at Hever Castle!

Hever, an incredibly romantic 13th Century Castle

kent, the garden of england

Hever Castle is situated in the English County of Kent, near Edenbridge, around 30 miles South-East of London. Kent itself, is a beautifully verdant County, often nick-named ‘The Garden of England.’ When driving through the pleasant leafy lanes and pretty villages, it’s not hard to see why. Kent is home to acres and acres of ancient woodland and is choc-full of beautiful gardens, both public and private. It’s generously peppered with historic places of interest to visit, such as Chartwell (home of Wiston Churchill), Sissinghurst and Canterbury Cathedral originally founded in the year 597!

Views over Kent, from Toy’s Hill, Westerham Chart, Kent.
Emily & Winston Churchill, on Westerham Green, Kent

hever’s history

Hever Castle may not be quite as old as Canterbury Cathedral, but its history does span back some 700 years! Originally built in 1270, Hever was a typical medieval defensive castle with gatehouse and walled bailey (a courtyard enclosed by a curtain wall). During the 15th and 16th Centuries, it became the home to the Boleyn’s, one of the most powerful families in the country.

Hever was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, the tragically ill-fated second wife of King Henry VIII. Anne Boleyn, Queen for 1000 days, was the mother of Elizabeth I, and played a huge role in England’s departure from Catholicism and the establishment of the Church of England at the start of the Reformation.

rESTORATION

As the centuries passed, the Castle gradually fell into decline. In 1903, it was bought by William Waldorf Aster, a wealthy American man with a passion for History.

He poured much money and time into restoring the castle and its extensive grounds, commissioning a Tudor Village, and creating the huge lake that was dug out by hand!

Side view of the castle with Aster’s Tudor Village’

Today, the castle is still privately owned, but it has become a much-loved place for the public to visit, attracting visitors from all over the world, all year round.

There is always something interesting going on at Hever, including jousting, open air theatre showings, fireworks displays, concerts and all sorts of other events. In fact, you can even get married at Hever – Can you imagine?

Without further ado, I really hope you enjoy some of the photos of the Castle and gardens from our visit. Apparently, we didn’t manage to see everything – which is always the perfect excuse to go back!

Hever is famous for its stunning topiary displays
The Castle entrance, suitably adorned for Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee

As you can see, some of the Queen’s Corgi’s were missing in the Castle Grounds as part of the Jubilee Celebrations!

The Italian Garden with huge Trellis of Wisteria
The roses were out in force!
What a wonderful day out!

A Jubilee Tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

On 6th February, 1952, a 25-year-old woman named Elizabeth Windsor, received the terrible news that her Father, King George VI had died.

In mourning, she immediately flew home from Kenya, knowing that as the eldest of two sisters, she would soon be required to dedicate her entire life to the service of her country and her people.

tHE CORONATION

On 2nd June, 1953, people all over the UK crowded around whatever television set they could find, to watch the BBC Broadcast of the Coronation. In fact, more TV sets were bought in the two months prior to the Coronation than in any other period of time since!

Amidst the earthly wealth of glittering crowns and golden carriages, a solemn promise was about to be made.

I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong. But I shall not have strength to carry out this resolution alone unless you join in it with me, as I now invite you to do: I know your support will be unfailingly given

God help me to make good my vow, and God bless all of you who are willing to share in it.

Queen Elizabeth II

A HIGHER KING

The Queen fully understood the significance of the role she was taking on and that ultimately, she served a Higher King – Jesus Christ – her Lord and Saviour.

Many of the rituals, symbols and artefacts that were used during the ceremony carried a far deeper meaning than one might first detect.

A golden orb, originally made for the Coronation of King Charles II in 1661, encrusted with over six hundred jewels was given to the Queen. On top of the Orb was a cross, symbolising the rule of Jesus Christ over the earth.

image courtesy of Fine Art of America

A single diamond, the magnificent ‘Star of Africa’ mounted in one of the royal scepters, is believed to have carried a value of £400 million. But when the Moderator of the Church of Scotland stepped forward to present the Queen with a Coronation gift, he described it as: ‘the most valuable thing this world affords’. It was a bible.

‘The most valuable thing this world affords’ Photo by Vidal Balielo Jr. on Pexels.com

faithful

Sixty-one years later, during her Christmas Day broadcast, the ongoing reliance and inspiration drawn from the Queen’s Christian faith remained clearly evident:

I hope that like me you will be comforted by the example of Jesus of Nazareth, who often in circumstances of great adversity, managed to live an outgoing, unselfish and sacrificial life.

Countless millions of people around the world continue to celebrate His birthday at Christmas, inspired by His teaching.

He makes it clear that genuine human happiness and satisfaction lie more in giving than receiving; more in serving than being served.

We can surely be grateful that two-thousand years after the birth of Jesus, so many of us are able to draw inspiration from His life and message, and to find in Him a source of strength and courage.

Words taken from the Queen’s Christmas Broadcast, 2008

JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS

Here in the UK, from 2nd – 5th June, people all over the UK are enjoying a rare four-day weekend in honour of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. No other monarch in UK history has ever reached the milestone of reigning for 70 years!

Red, white and blue bunting festoons our streets and shop window displays. Lanterns are being lit all over the country and street parties are taking place.

Over the next few days, I hope to post some photos of the celebrations!

It’s a joy to join in the wonderful Jubilee Celebrations of a Queen who has so honourably and openly held fast to her faith, often during seasons of great difficulty and testing.

I hope you will enjoy some of the photos and images of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Queen Elizabeth, thank you for serving us so well!