The Tower of London

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Since the Tower of London was so dangerous, King Henry VII formed a personal bodyguard. Henry moved into the Tower in 1485 after killing Richard III in a battle. His protectors were called the Yeoman Warders, who to this day still guard the tower. King Henry was a very frugal man. He seldom gave parties and tried very hard to avoid war, which both cost a lot of money.

After the death of Henry VII, the Tower of London was never again used to house an English queen or king. The dungeon was still used to hold England's enemies, and the Tower was still used for many celebrations. The marriage of King Henry VIII to his second wife, Anne Boleyn, took place at the Tower on May 19, 1533. A huge party was thrown for the next 11 days at the Tower, topped off with an enormous feast.

But the Tower of London was not always a place of celebration. On May 19, 1536, Anne Boleyn was executed under Henry's orders at the Tower Green. Anne had been accused of misconduct, but the plain truth was that she had born a daughter rather than a son, who would become a future king of England. This daughter was Elizabeth I, who would later become the Queen of England. Elizabeth was held prisoner in the Tower for two months by the order of her half sister, Queen Mary. Mary felt that her throne was being threatened by Elizabeth, so she imprisoned her in the Tower. If you look really carefully, you can see Anne Boleyn's Ghost about the tower. She will tell you about the royalty.

Elizabeth was innocent, and people knew it, leading to a public outcry. Elizabeth was released on May 19, 1554 (ironically, May 19 was the day on which Anne Boleyn was married and killed, and the same day that Elizabeth was released from jail.) In 1558, Elizabeth became the queen of England. She spent three days on her coronation in the Tower, to symbolize that it was her duty to "take possession" of it as the royal monarch of England. (Fisher, 1987) On January 15, 1559, she left in a festive parade to be crowned at Westminster Abby. Elizabeth would never return to the Tower.

In 1603, part of the Tower of London became a museum. King James I had ordered that the royal jewels be kept in the Tower Jewel House and be put on display for the Tower visitors. Though its roots trace back to a non-Englishman, the Tower of London has had a very interesting place in English history. It has been the sight of murders, marriages, uproars, museums, and zoos. But the Tower of London will always be remembered as a "symbol of royal power, a fortress for the monarch, and a prison for the monarch's enemies".

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