Watching Henry VIII go to the toilet is one way to spend an afternoon!

On the 26th July the BBC came to do some filming at Knole with Lucy Worsley Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces. They were filming a short piece as part of the new BBC history programme ‘National Treasures Live’ which is airing during August on BBC1.

Two actors came to re-enact Henry VIII with one of his most important courtiers, who would aid the King in going to loo…but his position also meant he was a close confident of the King, and he would have been highly involved in the politics of the day and would have had a certain amount of influence over the King. 
Lucy Worsley did a piece to camera about ‘closed stools’ while looking at our very own Jacobean closed stool in the King’s Closet at Knole.

The top of the closed stool is just visible in the bottom right of this photo

The re-enactment took place in Cartoon Gallery, the biggest of 3 long galleries at Knole.  The Conservation Team supervised the crew and actors to make sure that the collection in the rooms they were using was not damaged in any way.  Although professionals, sometimes film crews aren’t always aware of the environment they are in. Collections in the National Trusts care are the real authentic objects and not props.  The collection at Knole is incredibly fragile so we have to be vigilant that accidents don’t occur and everyone is careful with what they are doing while in the show rooms.

It was an interesting afternoon and we learnt some new facts about Henry VIII…he had stamps with his signature carved in to it so his courtiers could sign documents for him!  I wonder if the Queen does the same now?  probably not though!


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