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Ghosts Roam Royal Residencies - let's investigate.

Updated on May 16, 2014

It’s a difficult task to define a ghost and I don’t intend to try. However, inexplicable sightings and things that go bump in the night are an intriguing part of history.

If you’re into spooky goings-on, Britain is the place to keep your eyes peeled. Let’s wander some royal residences, definitely a touristy ghost buster’s paradise.

Source

St James’s Palace - the saddest sighting.


Princess Diana, with her usual flair, was reportedly quick to make a comeback.

At St. James’s Palace, immediately following her death, came a sighting to give you the goose bumps. The sighting is well documented.

The discovery came from a woman who had queued to sign the condolence book. Immediately afterwards, distraught and bewildered she sought out journalists: ‘I have to tell you something. At the end of the hall there's a painting. The light is shining on it and Princess Diana's face is looking out. It's not just me. Everyone's seen her face looking out.'

The painting is a portrait of Charles the First. Numerous people agreed. They all said they definitely saw Diana. They saw the image behind the king’s left shoulder.

Catherine Howard. Said to still roam Hampton Court Palace. Tourists are encouraged to look out for her
Catherine Howard. Said to still roam Hampton Court Palace. Tourists are encouraged to look out for her | Source

Hampton Court Palace

In May 2000 at Hampton Court eerie happenings were reported. Two women visitors fainted in the exact same spot in the gallery while on separate candle-lit tours.

Over time others claim to have seen a ringed hand knocking on the door and heard screams.

These spine tingling moments are credited to Catherine Howard, fifth wife of Henry the Eighth. Her appearances are so frequent they are responsible for the spine tingling name – The Haunted Gallery.

Catherine appears to be a regular prowler - and who could blame her? Barely 20, she was the fifth wife of the fleshy, ulcerated and aged Henry, who referred to her as 'My rose without a thorn' - until he discovered her prickly past and heard tales of current lovers. He was not pleased: ‘Off with her head.'

Young Catherine did not go to the block gracefully. When she was arrested at Hampton Court, she fled from the guards and ran screaming along the gallery to a chapel and Henry.

He ignored her cries for help. It’s said he was busy, prematurely praying for her soul. Or was he planning his proposal to the next Mrs. Tudor?

Terrified, struggling and screaming, Catherine was dragged away from Hampton Court and taken by boat, down the Thames to the Tower of London for beheading.

Visitors say her spirit remains at Hampton Court where she still runs along the haunted gallery, shrieking for help.

The chapel window at Hampton Court.Henry the eighth prayed here while his young condemned wife Catherine Howard screamed for his help/
The chapel window at Hampton Court.Henry the eighth prayed here while his young condemned wife Catherine Howard screamed for his help/ | Source

A Lady in Grey

Also roaming Hampton Court is the spectre known as the Grey Lady – Mrs Sibell Penn, nurse to Henry the Eighth’s children. She died of smallpox in 1562 and rested peacefully until 1892 when her body was removed from a church following storm damage.

Back at Hampton Court, residents began to hear voices and the whirr of a spinning wheel. A wall was removed to investigate, revealing a chamber containing a spinning wheel, thought to have belonged to Mrs Penn.

Many independent witnesses are said to have spotted her apparition since.

Hampton Court CCTV captures an image of a spectre?.
Hampton Court CCTV captures an image of a spectre?. | Source

Searching for Answers

In 2003, CCTV cameras were placed at Hampton Court. They captured a mysterious pale figure, wearing a long back coat, tampering with a set of fire doors. Initially officials concluded that the footage may well prove to be evidence that ghosts exist - others claim it as a hoax.

The Tower of London

Now, let’s visit that most haunted place - the Tower of London, where Henry’s second wife Anne Boleyn is a regular visitor.

Apparently Anne went to her executioner in a dignified manner. She knew a thing or two about beheadings. She reckoned the English executioners were a clumsy lot. An uneven chop perhaps. She requested a French chap be brought over to do the job cleanly.

You can tell Henry had a compassionate streak. He granted her wish. The French chop must have been a ripper. The ghost of Anne, who frequently paces the tower, is headless.

Anne Boleyne - went to her execution in a most dignified manner.
Anne Boleyne - went to her execution in a most dignified manner. | Source

A Countess replays her death scene

Yes folks, there’s plenty of action at the Tower. Margaret, Countess of Salisbury, often replays her execution. And little wonder. She was terrified. The man with the axe (presumably English) had difficulty restraining her.

He chased her around, missing several times, before finally striking a number of heavy blows to her head. This whole terrifying scene is said to be replayed in full ectoplasm.

Tower Green - Scaffold site today - Anne Boleyn was executed here. Tower of London
Tower Green - Scaffold site today - Anne Boleyn was executed here. Tower of London | Source

Move over for other hauntings

Should you happen to visit the Tower on February 12, look out for Lady Jane Grey - the Nine Day queen. She often makes an appearance on the anniversary of her death - February 12, 1554.

Sir Walter Raleigh is also said to wander freely around the tower. He’s been spotted by a Yeoman Guard and other sentries. Raleigh knew the tower well. He was imprisoned for many years (1603-1616) finally being beheaded in 1618.

And should screams assail you while visiting the tower, it’s just Guy Fawkes, probably wishing he hadn’t attempted to blow up parliament. His anguish, as he was tortured before being hung, drawn, and quartered, is said to be clearly audible on occasions. Ouch. Can’t blame him can you?

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace is known within the Royal ranks as Hoodoo House. It has a history of tragedy and early death including Mary, wife of William the third, who died there of smallpox at the age of 32. William was next, dying in agony after a fall from his horse.

The most frequent spectre wandering the rooms at Kensington Palace is King George the second. He is said to stop and check the weather vane, just as he used to, as he waited for ships bringing news from his native Hanover.

It’s rumoured he suffered from painful haemorrhoids and died after falling off the loo. Perhaps good enough reason to come back and haunt the place. The foreboding connected to Kensington Palace may appear histrionic. However, it was the residence of the ill fated Diana and Princess Margaret.

Ghosts - figments of imagination? Folklore? Tourist attraction? Or the real thing? I don't know. But having a resident ghost is not necessarily a hindrance. As tourists we love them.

Do you believe in ghosts?

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    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Hello aesta - I enjoy researching ghosts - it can be fun - but face to face - no thanks. Totally agree.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I am not sure about ghosts but I certainly don't want to meet them.

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      ladyguitar - I take your point and agree although I still find this fascinating. Thank you.

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 3 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      Hi, never worry about the dead worry about the people alive. A very good story.

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      Hi Elsie, thank you for this, love the roaming ghosts...

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 3 years ago from New Zealand

      Very interesting story. I have heard of some of those ghosts roaming in the royal residencies, but not the one about Princess Diana.

      Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading it.

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      Thanks Michelle - ghosts on the move...

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Back to share!

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      ignugent - thanks so much for reading and approving of a few royal apparitions - best wishes...

    • profile image

      ignugent17 3 years ago

      It really interesting and I enjoyed reading your hub. I am not really a fan of horror books and movies but your hub is just enough to get my interest.

      Have a nice day! :-)

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      Nadine May - thank you so much for your lovely comments and voting. Much appreciated...

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      What a great hub. Every section was an intriguing read. Awesome. voted up and tweeted.

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      liesl - Lovely to hear from you again. Thank you for such positive comments and vote. Hope all is well in your UK. Best wishes...

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      CrisSp - I like your style, I'm not totally sure I'd like to be confronted by a ghost. Then again part of me wants to. Thank you heaps for your interesting comments, vote and sharing the spirits!

    • liesl5858 profile image

      Linda Bryen 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Another great hub travmaj, well done, interesting, awesome, and voted up and pinned.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Yes, I believed in spirits! I've read about Princess Diana's ghost and I wouldn't mind seeing it myself.

      Great hub. I enjoy reading stories like this.

      Voting up and sharing the spirits. :)

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      praseti030 - thank you for reading and commenting - much appreciated.

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      lisavanvorst - good to have your comments and your visit to Cape May and the ghost stories from there. They are indeed universal. Many thanks.

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      heidithorne - yes, it was an emotional time with people queuing to sign condolences for Diana so who knows what energy that conjures up. I hope you visit Uk one day, the history is amazing. Thank you comments and the vote.

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      Nell - thank for comment and votes/share - grey ladies do seem to rule in the haunting business...would love to know more....

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      DzyzmsLizzy - I loved reading about your own spirits and the recording. Most intriguing. Thanks for this and the vote.

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      Flourish - many thanks for comments and votes, much appreciated. There must be 'something' behind all these stories...

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 3 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I had never heard about this before. Ghost is always become a mystery. Thanks for sharing with us. Voted up!

    • lisavanvorst profile image

      Lisa VanVorst 3 years ago from New Jersey

      Wow a lot of be-heading going on in those day. I do believe in Ghost. I visited Cape May, New Jersey and there are many ghost stories of sighting to be told. I found it very interesting. I also believe there are good and bad ghosts. Sometimes these ghosts do not even know they are dead and mean no harm as the roam around. Makes me thing of the movie with Bruce Willis when the child said "I see dead people". Great article.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Oooo, I'm not surprised that Princess Di's ghost has been reported as seen. Her in-life presence was strong. So whether it's her ghost--or the positive energy generated from her activities while alive--I think it will live on for years to come. I have got to get to the UK to see all the amazing places and things my UK hubber pals write about. Voted up and interesting!

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      MJennifer - thank you, I'm totally in awe of the lineage despite the dubious. Yes, the Tower is eerie and just to think of walking where so many historical figures have walked before. (shivers) Culloden, dark wet and chilly, more shivers. Have a good weekend and thanks.

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      suzettenaples - Thanks for your comment - and yes I also hope Henry VIII is having a haunting of is own. So much history in England, guess a ghost or two isn't uncommon. thanks again Suzette

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      phyllis - many thanks - I know these wanderers are well documented but still most fascinating. Difficult to imagine young women, Queen one day - taken for beheading the next. A good enough reason for a 'return' I reckon. Much appreciate your comments. Best regards...

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      Hi Michells, whoops, didn't mean to spook you! With thanks, have a good weekend.

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      thruthfornow, thank you, true it is probably easier to write about them than confront one! Have a good weekend.

    • MJennifer profile image

      Marcy J. Miller 3 years ago from Arizona

      This was great fun, Travmaj. Our family legend has it that one of Henry's targets for beheading at the Tower greens, Sir John Fisher, was an ancestor. (Now, since he was a canonized archbishop, the lineage is certainly dubious -- but it's interesting, nonetheless, that the family "adopted" that link!) If any place deserves to be haunted, it would seem to be the Tower (although I swear I felt the presence of spirits while walking Culloden battlefield on a rainy, cold day.)

      Thank you for the great read!

      Best -- Mj

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Very captivating as far as ghosts and history goes. I see a theme here that tells me mankind has been basically evil for most of history. Let's hope it changes for women or anyone controlled like that. Great job!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Great read travmaj, I never knew the story of Diana and the picture though! wow! we also have a grey lady in my town, or just over the bridge in bisham abbey, seems there are a lot of grey ladies! lol! voted up and shared, nell

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Most interesting. I do believe in ghosts--we have one or two spirits in our own home and surrounding property.

      One of them is a little girl, probably around 8 -12 years old; I got out my digital recorder one night when we felt activity, and recorded a very distinct small giggle.

      Voted up and interesting!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      What a great (and spooky) hub! I think spirits do visit us from another realm. Voted up and sharing, pinning.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      travmaj, I love reading about paranormal activity, ghosts and such. This hub of yours kept me intrigued all the way through. Even though I have read about some of these wandering spirits before (in fact written about them somewhere) You have a way of drawing the reader right into the stories. Well done, indeed.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      Jodah - appreciate your commenting - I do agree, ghostly happenings do capture the imagination. Certainly mine. thanks again.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

      These are amazing ghost stories! I have noticed that England does seem to have a lot of paranormal sightings. I hope the wives of Henry VIII are haunting him! He deserves it. LOL! I enjoyed reading this. Very interesting.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Creepy!!! The story of Diana is the creepiest of all. Makes me shy away from mirrors.

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 3 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Creepy. The stories are really interesting and disturbing. I would prefer not to see any spirits I think.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      This is very interesting travmaj. Ghosts and haunted building are always a topic that captures imagination. Thanks for sharing

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      janetwrites - hello. Yes, it is all a bit creepy but intriguing too - I guess no-one really has the answers - if the sightings are real or imagines. Thanks Janet...

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      grand o lady - thank you for being here, much appreciated -concerning the royals, it is a bit confronting when you examine the past hauntings. Regards...

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      enjoy life - I do agree, famous historical figures do 'rule' in the haunting stakes. Admittedly I chose well known figures and some that tourists are encouraged to look out for. Some of the places are most eerie. (I did write a hub Three Haunted British pubs and they of course have hauntings of everyday folk. Enjoyed your comments - thanks

    • janetwrites profile image

      Janet Giessl 3 years ago from Georgia country

      That's really haunting. Especially, the picture of the lady in grey looks so creepy. A very interesting and well-written hub. Thank you for sharing.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      And this is another thing why (as if I would even have the opportunity) I would not like to marry into the royal family. Great hub.

    • enjoy life profile image

      enjoy life 3 years ago from Europe

      It seems a good haunted storey adds to tourist interest, especially when it's famous historical figures. I wonder why there don't seem to be sightings of an old butler or maid who worked there who no one knew, it's always a well know historical figure!