Get out the bunting and pour out the tea (or Champagne) as this year is the Coronation of King Charles! With so many historic houses and magnificent manors here in Hertfordshire, it comes as no surprise that we happen to have quite the regal history of our own. In fact, Hertfordshire has served as a country retreat for many monarchs. Serving as the backdrop to key points throughout history, including one queen learning of her ascension to the throne and even a modern retelling of Britain’s royal past. Ready to learn about our royal links, and maybe even plan your own break that’s fit for a queen? Read on.
The absolute diamond in Netflix’s crown, everything from Buckingham Palace to Sandringham has been filmed right here in Hertfordshire. While the acting prowess of Clair Foy and Olivia Colman may have you fooled into thinking those Buckingham Palace scenes are in central London, we happen to know the Elstree Studios backlot has its very own palace façade. What’s more, Knebworth’s fairytale features had us all believing we’d been transported to Scotland for those tense Balmoral scenes in series four, but ibble dibble was actually played within the house’s impressive rooms. While just down the road, Hatfield House’s opulent interiors really lent themselves to doubling up as some of those Buckingham Palace interiors…we’re sure the corgis approved too.
An icon in its own right (just take a look at our filming locations round up), the deer park surrounding the incredible Hatfield House once belonged to King Henry VIII. Set in the manicured gardens of the (ahem) more modern Jacobean House, the Old Palace was once home to his daughter Princess Elizabeth, and was the very place where she learnt of her accession to the throne to become Queen Elizabeth I. There are symbols of the young Queen throughout the house and grounds, but the vibrant Rainbow Portrait in the main house is a real highlight. Take a guided tour and you’ll learn of the iconography found in the portrait and the not so hidden messages it is said to reveal.
Home to the Lytton family for more than 500 years, Knebworth House and its inhabitants have played a key role in literature, politics, and foreign service over the years, with a visitor book that can claim Charles Dickens, Winston Churchill, and even Noel Gallagher…And in 2010 the house played host to Hollywood royalty, Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter in the hit film, The King’s Speech. Once again the house was used as the setting for Balmoral, with the Banqueting Hall taking centre stage. When you tour the house, keep an eye out for the painting at the head of the Banqueting Hall, which features in the film and was actually painted by Winston Churchill – how’s that for an insider tip?
Anyone who has watched the ITV series, Victoria, will know this one, as Brocket Hall was the setting for many scenes between Jenna Coleman and Rufus Sewell. Brocket Hall was the ancestral home of Prime Minister Lord Melbourne, confidant, and advisor to Queen Victoria. The young Victoria was a frequent visitor to the house, with weekly bunches of flowers sent from here to Buckingham Palace. It is said Lord Melbourne taught the young princess, and later queen, everything she needed to know to become one of Britain’s most impressive rulers, even breaking the news to her that she was to take the throne in 1837.
Sitting pretty in the centre of the town is Hertford Castle, which has been stood at its current position since 1066. Through its tumultuous, almost 1000 year history, it hjas been strengthened by Henry II, been a royal prison and a replacement for the House of Parliament during the plague. Most notably it was used by monarchs during the 14th century, during Elizabeth I's reign as a Royal Palace.