image for Talk item typePlaying the fool at Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

Talk, Tue 23 May 2017


Hampton Court Palace

0844 482 7777


East Molesey,

Events at this Venue

date event
Mon 1 May - Tue 31 Oct Horse-drawn charabanc tours
Sun 21 May - Thu 31 Aug Live historic cookery
Tue 23 May Playing the fool
Sat 27 May - Sat 3 Jun The Best of Barmy Britain at Hampton Court Palace
Sun 28 May Choral Evensong
Thu 1 - Mon 5 Jun Heads, Hearts and Heresy


‘Natural fools’ – understood today as people with learning disabilities – were prized entertainers who often held favour and authority with the king. They were described as ‘foolish’ and ‘lacking judgement’, yet their perceived directness and humour were greatly admired.

Henry VIII’s court jester Will Somers had ‘admission to the King [at all times], especially when sick and melancholy’. Discover how the ‘foolish things of the world’ delighted, and uniquely influenced the Tudor elite.

Speaker: Dr Suzannah Lipscomb is an historian, author, broadcaster, and award-winning academic. She is also a Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History and Fellow of the New College of the Humanities.

Credit cards accepted (no fee)Disabled toiletsEnglish Heritage PropertyGift shopOn-site cateringOn-site light refreshmentsPublic toilets

Children welcome

Event details

Dates Times
Tue 23 May 2017
Doors open: 18.30
Event starts: 18.50
Event finish: 20.00


£15.00; £13.00 concessions



See location of Hampton Court Palace on Google mapsSee location on Google maps

Map reference: TQ 149686  Lat: 51.40479 Long: -0.34950

By car: The palace is located on the A308 and is well signposted from all the major local roads. From the M25 take either exit 10 on to the A307 or exit 12 on to the A308. The palace is also accessible via the A3 and then the A309.
By train: South West Trains run services direct from London Waterloo to Hampton Court. The journey takes only 35 minutes and the palace is a 2-minute walk across the bridge from the station.
By bus: Bus routes: 111, 216, 411, 451, 461, 718, R68, 416, 513, 267 (Summer Sundays only).
By River boat: From Richmond or Kingston with Turk Launches (April - mid September) and from Westminster with Westminster Passenger Cruises (April - September).
For further information visit

Car parking
Green car park - pay and display
Charges from 08.00 - 20.00
£1.00 per hour until 30 April 2015
£1.50 per hour from 1 May 2015

Palace car park - pay on foot
Charges from 08.00 - 20.00
£1.50 per hour until 30 April 2015
£1.60 per hour from 1 May 2015

Parking: with charge

Accessible by Public Transport


  • Credit cards accepted (no fee)Credit cards accepted (no fee)
  • Disabled toiletsDisabled toilets
  • English Heritage PropertyEnglish Heritage Property
  • Gift shopGift shop
  • On-site cateringOn-site catering
  • On-site light refreshmentsOn-site light refreshments
  • Public toiletsPublic toilets
  • Children welcomeChildren welcome