Hampton Court Palace is said to be haunted by Henry VIII's wives. Here are 5 eerie stories about the former royal home.

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hampton court
Hampton Court Palace has been the site of multiple ghost sightings. Shutterstock
  • Visitors have reported seeing the ghosts of Henry VIII's wives at Hampton Court Palace in England.

  • Jane Seymour, who died inside the palace after giving birth in 1537, is said to appear on her son's birthday.

  • Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII, is also said to haunt the palace with her screams.

Hampton Court Palace was built by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey in 1514. In 1528, the property was acquired by King Henry VIII, who lived there over the years with his six wives.

hampton court palace staircase
A grand stairwell at Hampton Court Palace. Gordon Bell/Shutterstock

In the early 16th century, the palace was expanded and renovated to be fit for a king, complete with lush gardens, banquet halls, and Henry VIII's state and private apartments. The palace has over 1,390 rooms and is located in East Molesey, Surrey, about an hour outside of London.

Many royals occupied Hampton Court Palace over the years, from Henry VIII to William III and Mary II, George I, and finally George II. George II was the last monarch to use the palace as a royal residence.

Beginning in 1737, Hampton Court became a site for "grace and favor residents," according to Historic Royal Palaces. These residents were mostly aristocrats and their wives who were in need of free accommodation in return for servicing the king. People were granted apartments at Hampton Court up until the 1960s, and elderly residents still reside in some apartments today.

In 1838, Queen Victoria opened the property to visitors. This paved the way for what Hampton Court Palace is today: a destination for visitors and tourists from all over the world who come to marvel at its architecture, impressive art collection, and undeniably eerie past.

Henry VIII's third wife, Jane Seymour, died inside the palace after giving birth in 1537. She is said to appear on her son's birthday.

a portrait of Jane Seymour
A portrait of Jane Seymour, the third wife of Henry VIII. Bildagentur-online/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

According to Historic Royal Palaces, a charity that manages Hampton Court, Jane Seymour has been spotted carrying a lit candle on the Silverstick Stairs. The staircase is located close by to the room where Seymour gave birth to Prince Edward and where she died soon after.

Edward would go on to become king at the age of 9. He died when he was 15 following an illness.

An apparition known as the "Grey Lady" has been reportedly seen multiple times over the years.

Hampton Court Palace
The main entrance to Hampton Court Palace. Matt Kent/WireImage/Getty Images

The "Grey Lady" is believed to be Sybil Penn, a former servant at the palace who served as a nurse to both Edward VI and a young Queen Elizabeth I. While nursing Elizabeth I back to health as she suffered from smallpox, Penn is believed to have caught the disease and died.

Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII, is also said to haunt the palace.

an illustration of the ghost of catherine howard at hampton court palace
An illustration of the ghost of Catherine Howard at Hampton Court Palace. Apic/Getty Images

Catherine was accused of adultery and treason, and she was arrested at Hampton Court in 1541. According to Historic Royal Palaces, she managed to escape the guards and ran through a hall, screaming for the king to be compassionate, but she was apprehended again and ultimately executed at the Tower of London.

Visitors have reported hearing her screams in the hall, which is now known as the Haunted Gallery.

An elderly woman reported hearing banging on the walls of her apartment before human remains were discovered nearby in shallow graves at the palace.

the fountain court at hampton court palace
The Fountain Court at Hampton Court Palace, around 1910. ullstein bild/ullstein bild/Getty Images

According to Historic Royal Palaces, the graves were found in 1871 during a routine excavation of a cloister in Fountain Court.

The bodies were believed to belong to two men who were killed during the Civil War in the 17th century. After they were properly buried, the disturbances reportedly stopped.

In 2003, security staff were disturbed to see a ghostly figure on the building's CCTV.

Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace in 1960. Kenneth Rittener/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The spooky video showed what appeared to be a ghost opening a fire exit door. According to Historic Royal Palaces, no one has come forward to claim the incident as a prank, so no one knows if the "Skeletor" is the work of a human or a real-life ghost.

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