Lucy Worsley’s Royal Palace Secrets

  • Fred Vigeant

In this newly-completed documentary special, Lucy Worsley, royal historian and Chief Curator of England’s Historic Royal Palaces, invites viewers on an exclusive tour of London’s most extraordinary palaces. But even for these formidable buildings, these are unprecedented times.

For the first time in centuries, these beloved sites are closed to the public because of the global pandemic. Filmed with a skeleton crew under stringent health protocols and with the cooperation of the Royal Palaces, this documentary offers viewers a uniquely intimate tour of these magnificent structures, currently emptied of visitors and staff. Lucy takes viewers inside the forbidding Tower of London, glorious Hampton Court and treasure-filled Kensington Palace, going beyond the velvet ropes into each building’s most secret places to uncover how each palace shaped a monarchy and a nation. Lucy Worsley’s Royal Palace Secrets premieres Sunday, September 13 at 7:30pm on WITF.

As the camera follows her through stately corridors, up grand Georgian staircases, behind the closed doors of Tudor bedrooms and through beautiful Baroque gardens, Lucy unravels captivating tales of the private lives of favorite historic royals. Each room and hidden treasure help unlock moments of triumph, tragedy and scandal, uncovering the dramatic events that changed the course of British history.

Lucy Worsley’s Royal Palace Secrets is the story of the power of the monarchy as seen in three unique buildings: from the Tower of London, a Norman symbol of oppressive terror, to the magnificent display of political Tudor power in Hampton Court, to the makings of a very modern Royal Family with Kensington Place.

Each year, over two million visitors walk through the gates of the Tower of London to discover its glittering and grisly past. But for the first time ever, the iconic building is hauntingly empty. With exclusive access, Lucy invites viewers in and shares the Tower’s history, taking us back to the Norman conquest in 1066 to show how the Tower has gone from being William the Conqueror’s oppressive stronghold to Royal fortress, impenetrable prison and notorious place of execution.

Lucy’s next stop is the splendid Tudor wonder Hampton Court Palace. The spectacle and excess of this royal home encapsulate the fascinating story of the British monarchy’s thirst for absolute power. It was here that Henry VIII would lay the foundations for his role as the supreme leader of both church and state. And it was here that the Stuarts would build on Henry’s tyrannical legacy — until Charles I lost his head.

The final stop on this special tour is Kensington Palace. A hugely popular tourist attraction, it’s also the home of today’s younger Royals. Without disturbing its current residents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their young children, Lucy gives a private look at this magnificent home that produced a different notion of monarchy — the Royal Family.

Watch Lucy Worsley’s Royal Palace Secrets Sunday, September 13 at 7:30pm on WITF and through the PBS Video app. You can now watch WITF TV through a webstream free through our website and on your Roku through the PBS Video app. Find out more…

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Up Next

Human Nature a NOVA special