Wednesday, 6 Jul 2022

Haunted royal houses including murdered princes and spectre of Elizabeth I

They are the royal residences where Her Majesty the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family have been able to retreat from public gaze during her long 70-year reign.

But given the number of restless souls roaming these palaces, castle and stately homes it’s a wonder they ever get any peace!

Here are just a few of the ghosts said to that lurk among the battlements and ballrooms…

Buckingham Palace

Becoming the British monarch’s London residence from 1837, Buckingham Palace was built on lands that were once in the hands of a monastery.

A ghostly monk, said to have died in a punishment cell, wearing a brown cowl and chains has been seen on the palace’s back terrace.

Another spooky story involves Major John Gwynne, King Edward VII’s private secretary, who shot himself following a divorce scandal.

Palace staff have reported hearing the sound of a ghostly single gunshot coming from inside one of the first-floor offices.

Windsor Castle

It is said to be the Queen’s favourite home, but Windsor Castle also appears to house a host of royal spectres.

Her Majesty herself is said to have seen the ghost of Elizabeth I when a child, in the library.

Henry VIII’s ghost is heard thudding around the deanery cloisters with his gammy leg, while George III, who suffered bouts of “madness”, has been seen staring from the window of a room where he was confined.

Apparitions of Queen Victoria and the executed Charles I have been sighted too.

In fact, 25 different ghosts have been reported at the Berkshire pile and also include a young Grenadier guard as well as a boy who shouts: “I don’t want to go riding today.”

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Balmoral Castle

The Queen’s Scottish holiday home first became a royal residence when Prince Albert bought it for Queen Victoria in 1852.

After Albert’s death, Victoria spent much of her time at the estate in Aberdeenshire, supported by her close friend and servant John Brown, who was played by Billy Connolly in the 1997 film Mrs Brown.

His ghost has been spotted several times – wearing his trademark kilt – still stalking the castle’s corridors.

Some reports say the current Queen is one of those who has encountered him.

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Sandringham

Traditionally a place where the Queen and family spend Christmas, Sandringham House in Norfolk certainly has a chilling pedigree. Both George V and George VI died there.

Poltergeist activity has long been reported from cards and books moving by themselves, doors opening on their own and lights turning on and off, as well as eerie footsteps.

Prince Charles and his valet once “fled in terror” after feeling a disembodied presence there.

A footman also said he’d seen a servant who had died the year before in the property, while other staff have even refused to go in a creepy downstairs bedroom.

The Queen’s great uncle Prince Albert Victor, once touted as a Jack the Ripper suspect, is said to haunt his former York Cottage home on the Sandringham estate.

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Hampton Court

A royal home since Henry VIII’s time, the ghosts of at least two of his wives are still reckoned to be in residence at Hampton Court Palace on the banks of the River Thames.

The screams of Henry’s fifth wife Catherine Howard, beheaded in 1542, are heard in the gallery where she was arrested – now called the Haunted Gallery.

And the ghost of Jane Seymour, his third wife, appears on a set of stairs leading to the room where she gave birth to his heir – Edward VI.

The spectre appears on the anniversary of her death, two weeks later, in 1537. A “grey lady” often spotted at the palace is thought to be Tudor nurse Sybil Penn, whose spirit seems to have been aroused when her tomb was disturbed in the 19th century.

Also, in 2003, security staff struggled to explain a Skeletor-style figure in period dress caught on CCTV cameras going through a fire door.

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Holyrood Palace

On March 9, 1566, David Rizzio, the personal secretary to Mary, Queen of Scots, was stabbed 57 times inside her private apartments at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

Today Holyrood is the Queen’s official Scottish residence. But ever since the brutal murder, which was believed to have been sanctioned by Mary’s husband Lord Darnley, bloodstains are said to mysteriously reappear on the floorboards – even after they have
been cleaned.

The ghost of Darnley, himself murdered in an explosion just a year later, is said to haunt the palace too.

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Kensington Palace

Now the official residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the palace has been used by members of the Royal Family since the 17th century.

The spirit of a deformed child known as Peter the Wild Boy, who once lived there after being brought to London by George I, is reckoned to cause mischief in the nursery. And King George II’s ghost has been seen gazing from a window at the palace, pleading to know where his troops are.

The Tower of London

The Tower is still a royal palace and fortress –and it has plenty of ghost stories associated with it.

The most famous ghoul to wander its grounds is Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife, who was beheaded there in 1536.

Other sightings include the “Princes in the Tower” – the sons of King Edward IV who were supposedly murdered in the Tower on the orders of Richard III back in the 15th century.

Spooked staff and visitors have reported seeing the ghostly pair dressed in medieval clothing at the site.

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