As soon as Europe showed up on the radar of this trip, Jamie started babbling about castles.
“Can we stay in a castle? Let’s stay in a castle. I’ve always wanted to stay in a castle. Wouldn’t it be exciting to stay in a castle? Castle…castle…castle….” I kind of tuned out.
Nevertheless, I started searching for castles in which we could spend the night. I found Thornbury Castle, which was just a short drive from the Cotswolds. (Well, a short drive for most people, but we got lost four times and it turned into an all day excursion in which we visited most of southern England.)
I have to admit that Thornbury is pretty cool. It was originally founded more than a thousand yeards ago by King Athelstan, the grandson of Alfred the Great. This despite the fact that Americans have trouble thinking of anyone named Alfred as great.
Let’s truncate the history lesson and get to the juicy stuff. In the 1500s it was owned by King Henry VIII’s cousin, the Duke of Buckingham. Henry, like Jamie, thought it would be cool to spend the night in this castle, so he beheaded his cousin and took ownership of the entire estate.
In 1535, when Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn, they stayed here on their honeymoon. How cool is that?
We have no idea why, but we’ve been upgraded to a beautiful suite here at Thornbury. Jamie’s pretty sure it’s the one that Henry and Anne stayed in on their honeymoon.
Yup, Thornbury is a real damn castle. It has everything but a moat and a dungeon. If there is a dungeon, they now charge about $300 a night to stay in it.
St James Church sits on the Thornbury Castle grounds. It’s surrounded by a graveyard filled with gravestones dated all the way back into the early 1700s. Jamie actually looked at me this morning and said, “Do you want to go to church?” I immediately jumped away from her in order to escape the lightning bolt.
Parts of the castle look as though they haven’t been cared for since Henry VIII lopped off Buckingham’s head, but most of it is still spectacular. Our room is huge and beautiful.
I may be a bit biased, but have you ever seen a woman who looked more regal than this?
The British Empire has fallen on hard times. Here I am with what’s left of its army.