A Night of Dressing the Tudor Court at Hampton Court Palace

A Night of Dressing the Tudor Court at Hampton Court Palace

November 10, 2014

As I wandered through the passageways of Hampton Court Palace on the evening of 22nd October I saw a figure moving in the darkness……none other than Henry VIII himself!


On the invitation of Ninya Mikhaila, of The Tudor Tailor, I was one of the dressers charged with getting 90+ volunteers dressed for the filming of a new BBC documentary presented by Lucy Worsley and David Starkey.


In a room in the depths of Hampton Court we unpacked and organsied the costumes ready to get everyone dressed for filming. The men seemed particularly keen to get into their tights!

Joanna and Ninya get cracking unpacking the costumes. Photo thanks to N. Mikhaila

The volunteers were very patient as four of us dashed back and forth dressing everyone from monks to lords and ladies. They especially liked when I wandered down the line handing out extra bling!

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Lucy Worsley and the filming crew even popped in to see how we were getting on. They got a great shot of me bent over trying to pin someone into a doublet with my mouth full of pins. Thank goodness they hadn’t popped in 5 minutes earlier when I was helping one of the men into his hose!

Lucy Worsley popped in to see us getting the cast ready. Photo thanks to N. Mikhaila

Once everyone was dressed the filming could begin. The scene being shot that evening was of a procession through Hampton Court Palace made by Henry VIII to celebrate the birth of Edward VI. It looked very impressive at 10pm at night. A little eerie as well, like stepping back in time (if you ignored the massive cameras!).

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A very busy evening for everyone. The BBC team were fantastic and very helpful, they even came to remind us to get our dinner. One major perk of the job was having tea and cake on tap!

The cast dig into authentic Tudor….lasagna!

After the volunteers had processed for miles around the palace and the filming crew had called ‘cut’ for the last time we sprung back into action to get all the costumes packed back up again to send back to the various suppliers. Paperwork signed off, doublets folded and boxes taped up – 2.30am we were ready to call it a night!

We even got the chance to dress up ourselves as we packed up!

A great – and tiring – experience, I slept all the way home on the train! Thanks to everyone that was involved, can’t wait to see the documentary when it airs in the new year.