Wednesday 6 January 2016

First Roman Catholic service to be celebrated in Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace since 16th century

Ceiling of Hampton Court Palace - installed for Henry VIII
Ceiling of Hampton Court Palace - installed for Henry VIII
On Tuesday 9 February 2016, Vespers will be celebrated in the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace, according to the Roman Catholic rite and will be mostly in Latin; the first such service in the chapel for 450 years. The service will bring together the hierarchies of the English Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches as Vespers will be celebrated by His Eminence Vincent Nichols, Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster and will include a sermon from The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dr Richard Chartres, KCVO, Bishop of London and Dean of Her Majesty’s Chapels Royal.

The service is organised by the Genesis Foundation and the Choral Foundation, music will be provided by  Harry Christophers and The Sixteen, along with Genesis Sixteen (the Sixteen's young artists' scheme which is supported by the Genesis Foundation). The ensembles will sing Thomas Tallis’ Magnificat, William Cornysh’s Salve Regina and John Taverner’s ‘Leroy’ Kyrie. Both Thomas Tallis and William Cornysh were Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal, Tallis keeping his career under four consecutive monarchs.

Before Vespers is celebrated, the Cardinal and Dean will be in conversation under the heading Faith and the Crown in the Great Hall.

The chapel at Hampton Court Palace was originally built by Cardinal Wolsely, but none of his work is visible. The chapel as it is today is the result of two major re-fittings, one done for King Henry VIII from which the ceiling survives, and another done by Sir Christopher Wren (with carvings by Grinling Gibbons) for Queen Anne and it is this that gives us the baroque altar and the woodwork.

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