The speaker at our meeting on the 14th October 2021 was Sarah Slater who has been a Guide/Lecturer at Hampton Court since 2008. Sarah turned up in a blue silk gown that would have been worn during this time – although she didn’t have as many petticoats on underneath as she would not be able to drive with all that bulk! It was a “relaxed” gown that would have been worn by the ladies in the evening – it was off the shoulder and underneath was a linen shift. All clothing was made of natural fibres to keep the ladies “fresh” – the linen shift was changed up to 15 times a day!! Sarah’s hair was worn up with tendrils to frame the face – these were known as “spaniel ears”. The finishing touch was a pearl necklace which was seen as a sign of purity.
Her talk was very entertaining and covered the scandal and gossip at the royal court from 1660 to 1860. Apparently “the 1960s had nothing on the 1660s”!! Sarah set the scene giving us a history of Hampton Court which was built in 1515 by Thomas Wolsey as an entertainment centre, was the home of Henry VIII where he held many extravagant events for visiting royalty and statesmen. Sarah then went through the family tree of the House of Stuarts and the House of Hanover talking of the many marriages, a lot of which were arranged, many mistresses (who lived in houses on the Hampton Court estate), ladies who fell in love, illegitimate children and much more.
Sarah finished by talking about the make-up of the period. Up until 100 years ago, women used make-up to create a pale skin – the make-up was lead-based, no health and safety in those days!! The ladies also painted on blue veins – which may be why royal blood is referred to as “blue”. They also painted on beauty spots and the location on the face meant different things.
It was certainly interesting to hear another side of life in Hampton Court Palace!
Our meetings for the next two months are:
11th November 2021: Trevor Vidler, Hampshire Search and Rescue – this is a voluntary organisation that works alongside the police in searches for vulnerable missing persons in Hampshire.
Thursday 9th December 2021: Christmas Party!! Details to follow.
If you are interested in joining us at one of our Meetings, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org