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London's Top 10 : Tower of London (part 2) - Tower Prisoners

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Tower Prisoners

Sites of imprisonment
  1. Bishop of Durham

    The first political prisoner to be held in the White Tower was Ralph de Flambard, Bishop of Durham. Locked up by Henry l in 1100, he was seen as responsible for the unpopular policies of Henry’s predecessor, William ll.

  2. Henry Vl

    During the Wars of the Roses, between the rival families of York and Lancaster, Henry VI was kept in Wakefield Tower for five years, until restored to power in 1470.

  3. The Little Princes

    The alleged murder of Edward, 12, and Richard, 10, in 1483, gave the Bloody Tower its name. It is thought their uncle, Richard lll, was responsible.

    Apartment in the Bloody Tower

  4. Sir Thomas More

    Chancellor Thomas More’s refusal to approve Henry VIII’s marriage to Anne Boleyn led to his imprisonment in the lower Bell Tower. He was beheaded in 1535.

    Bell Tower

  5. Henry Vlll’s Wives

    Some of the Tower’s most famous victims, such as the beheaded wives of Henry Vlll, Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard, are buried in the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula.

    Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula
  6. The Dudley Family

    Lord Dudley and his four brothers were imprisoned (before their execution) in the Beauchamp Tower for supporting Lady Jane Grey’s 1554 claim to the throne.

    Beauchamp Tower
  7. Lady Jane Grey

    In 1554 Lady Jane Grey was queen for nine days. Aged 16, she was held in the gaoler’s house on Tower Green and later executed by order of Queen Mary l.

  8. Catholic Martyrs

    Under the reign of Elizabeth I (1558–1603), many Catholics were executed. Most, including Jesuits, were held in the Salt Tower.

  9. John Gerard

    He escaped from the Cradle Tower with a fellow prisoner in 1597, using a rope strung over the moat by an accomplice in a boat.

  10. Rudolf Hess

    The Tower’s last prisoner was Hitler’s deputy. He was held in the Queen’s House in 1941, after flying to the UK to ask for peace.


The Crown Jewels

The lavish, bejewelled items that make up the sovereign’s ceremonial regalia are all in the care of the Tower of London. The collection dates from 1661 when a new set was made to replace those destroyed by Cromwell following the execution of Charles I in 1649. St Edward’s Crown was the first subsequent crown to be made, of pure gold, and is the oldest of the 12 crowns here. Other coronation jewels on display include a gold, jewel-studded orb, made in 1661, and a sceptre containing the 530-carat Star of Africa, the biggest cut diamond in the world. The Sovereign’s Ring, made for William IV, is sometimes called “the wedding ring of England”.

Imperial State Crown Heavily encrusted with 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 5 rubies and 273 pearls, this crown was designed for the coronation of George Vl in 1937.

Top 10 Jewels
  1. Imperial State Crown

  2. St Edward’s Crown

  3. Imperial Crown of India

  4. Queen Victoria’s Crown

  5. Royal Sceptre

  6. Jewelled State Sword

  7. George V’s Crown

  8. The Sovereign’s Ring

  9. The Sovereign’s Orb

  10. The Sovereign’s Sceptre

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