Home Kent News The secret life of Kent’s versatile Hever Castle from Henry VIII to...

The secret life of Kent’s versatile Hever Castle from Henry VIII to Star Wars

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Original article from Kent Live

Tucked in between Edenbridge and Tonbridge, the village of Hever may seem a little in the middle of nowhere.

Just over 1,000 residents live in Hever which sits on the River Eden in Kent.

It is most famous for being the home of Hever Castle which dates all the way back to the 13th Century.

It's in tip-top condition thanks to the work of American millionaire William Waldorf Astor who restored the castle in the 20th century.

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Now, the castle, its grand gardens, and golf course are tourist attractions.

On a normal non-pandemic day you could see families walking with their kids, excited children on a school trip, or green-fingered visitors admiring the Italian Gardens.

What many visitors might not realise is that they are walking in the same footsteps as royalty who would meet gruesome ends and intergalactic Jedis.

Hever Castle has a fascinating history

The childhood home of Anne Boleyn

From 1462 to 1539, Hever Castle was the home of the Boleyn family.

In 1505 the property was inherited by Thomas Boleyn, the father of Anne and grandfather of Queen Elizabeth I. Thomas is buried there today.

It's not known whether Anne, who would later become the second wife of Henry VIII, was actually born at Hever, but she certainly spent her childhood in those halls up until 1513 when she was sent to the Netherlands.

Hever Castle is said to be haunted by Anne Boleyn and her father Thomas Boleyn

As a little child, Anne would have walked the halls of Hever with no idea of where her future would take her.

Anne followed Catherine of Aragon in the line of wives taken by Henry VIII, becoming his second.

At first, she spurned Henry's advances, his courting done in Kent, as she did not want the place as his mistress.

Eventually, the two married after an infamous fall out with the church and Anne gave birth to Elizabeth.

The story from there is well known as miscarriages and failure to provide a son led to Anne being beheaded by Henry in 1536.

Today, it is said that Anne's ghost haunts the castle halls!

When Thomas Boleyn died in 1539, Hever Castle fell under Henry's ownership.

The king would go on to bestow it to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves.

Hever Castle has passed through various ownerships since then but is still one of few places to have one of Henry's original private locks which he would take with him when travelling.

The intergalactic home of Star Wars

As well as being the home of some of history's most infamous and tragic figures, Hever Castle is also of fictional importance in a whole other world.

Last week photographer Thomas Duke, who runs an Instagram account dedicated to finding obscure filming locations, took to Hever Castle to expose its Star Wars importance.

The castle's Italian Gardens were used in a deleted scene from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

Hever Castle is famous for its glorious gardens

Hever's grand lawns and majestic fountain were transported to a galaxy far, far away in 1999.

Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn are pictured in the gardens in the deleted film, as dug out by Thomas.

All those years after Anne Boleyn, it was now Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor who wandered its grounds.

Posting on Instagram, Thomas wrote: "Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn stand here in the Italian Gardens in a deleted scene from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

"The scene is an extension of an original sequence still present in the 1999 cut of the film which was partially shot in the water tank at Pinewood Studios.

"It took a little digging to find out about this location but what a little gem it was to find!"

Commenters were quick to share their shock that a place that seemed so far off could be on their doorstep.

One wrote: "That’s just up the road!!! My goodness!!!"

Another said: "Amazing! I had no idea about that!! It's a beautiful place!"

Other shocked followers added "I've been to Hever Castle so many times, I never knew Star Wars was filmed there" and "Woah, I did not know this! I've stood exactly in that spot and taken a photo."

Original Article