King Henry VIII famously had six wives, but what he wanted most was a male heir. Henry’s first two wives, Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, tried in vain for sons, but each only bore a single daughter. Henry divorced Katherine for Anne, and the former queen died alone in January 1536. Accused of witchcraft and adultery, Anne lost her head on the chopping block just a few months later. The two former queens reportedly haunt several English properties, but they aren’t alone. Legend has it Jane Seymour, Henry’s third wife, roams Hampton Court Palace, searching for the baby she left behind.
Does the infamous Gray Lady of Hampton Court Palace appear in this photo?
“Two names sprang instantly to mind when I saw the image,” said Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces. “Catherine Howard, our celebrated ghost Queen and fifth wife of Henry VIII, and Sybil Penn, a royal nurse who is believed to be the ghostly spinner. Both are traditionally seen as The Grey Lady.”
Built in 1525, Hampton Court Palace has harbored kings, queens, and many other members of English royalty. Henry VIII’s third wife, Jane Seymor, died at Hampton Court while giving birth to the couple’s only son. Catherine Howard was imprisoned at the palace before being executed for adultery. Penn died of smallpox at Hampton Court.