It is traditionally believed that Henry VIII stayed at the Castle on several occasions during his courtship with Anne Boleyn. Whilst it is impossible to know for certain in which room he slept, this is one of the largest bedchambers in the Castle and was restored by the Astor family to be fit for a King of Henry’s importance. It is true to say that the Castle’s best rooms would have been prepared for the King, and hosting him and his retinue would have been a large burden for any household; particularly for a relatively small one like Hever.
The magnificent bed in this room, with its blue velvet hangings, is certainly the type that the monarch would be used to. It dates from 1540 and is a ‘tester’ bed, named after the solid wooden canopy suspended above it. It could possibly be a marriage bed due to the initials on the posts and the faces carved into the headboard, though we do not know who the initials refer to at this point. By the fire hangs a Dutch brass warming-pan dating from the 18th century, which would have been used as an early form of bed heating in an otherwise cold and draughty Castle. The pan would have been filled with hot embers from the fire and placed under the bedclothes to heat and air the bed. The earliest known example of a warming pan was made in 1616.
The ceiling in the bedchamber is the oldest in the Castle, dating from around 1462. The panelling dates from 1565, with the exception of the section over the fireplace, which commemorates the two wives of Henry VIII who lived at Hever Castle – Anne Boleyn and Anne of Cleves.
Read more about the fascinating rooms in Hever Castle.