Hampton Court Songs of Praise


Hampton Court

2017 is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, so Aled Jones goes behind the scenes at Hampton Court Palace, favourite haunt of Henry VIII and his six wives.


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Transcript


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Welcome to Songs Of Praise 2017.

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And we'd be hard-pressed to find a more impressive location

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to herald in the New Year than Britain's finest Tudor building,

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Hampton Court Palace,

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famously the residence of the king of extravagance himself, Henry VIII.

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And it was here that Henry would engineer his split

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from the Church of Rome and trigger the English Reformation,

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changing the church, and Britain, forever.

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'Within the palace walls, I get closer to the character of Henry,

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'his passions, his motivations, and his faith.

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'And I discover the marks he left here in the Great Hall,

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and in the Chapel Royal.

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This is the defining moment of Henry's reign.

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And you can see up in the ceiling it's written, "God and my right".

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I also explore the lavishness of Henry's court and sample one of his

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'favourite tipples.' This is a first for me. Here we go. Bottoms up.

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Cheers.

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We'll also be looking back over some of the highlights

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from our music and stories from the past 12 months on Songs Of Praise.

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And we begin our music with a royal favourite,

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chosen by Her Majesty the Queen for her coronation and her wedding.

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Hampton Court Palace, on the banks of the Thames,

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is known the world over as Tudor England's most iconic building.

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And in the early 16th century it was the royal playground

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of King Henry VIII.

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2017 is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in Europe,

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the Protestant break from the Roman Catholic Church.

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And it was here at Hampton Court that King Henry resolved

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to also split with Rome 17 years later.

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But what were the religious and personal motivations of the man

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whose actions changed the faith of the country?

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The Great Hall was where Henry could show off his power and his

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influence, as joint chief curator Tracy Borman explains.

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-So this is the Great Hall?

-This is Henry VIII's big statement piece.

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Wow. ALED JONES LAUGHS

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-Yeah.

-Certainly is.

-It's built to impress, you can tell.

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-Oh, it's magnificent.

-It's amazing, isn't it?

-That ceiling.

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That's Henry's original hammer-beam ceiling.

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-It's all built on the most massive scale.

-It is.

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The biggest surviving Tudor Great Hall in the world.

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So he would have, what, sat and dined there?

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He would have been on the top table there, at the great feasts of court.

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So would his wives have been entertained here as well, then?

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-Absolutely, all at different times, of course.

-Yeah.

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His first wife, Catherine of Aragon,

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now she was a very, very good wife to Henry for 24 years.

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-But what she did fail to do was to give him a son.

-Right.

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Hence the need for the second wife, Anne Boleyn.

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Now, she was the great love of Henry's life, and you'd have seen

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traces of her all around the Great Hall, intertwined H&As.

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-OK.

-But Anne failed, too. She didn't give Henry a son.

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She fell spectacularly from grace,

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so all trace of her was removed, except up in that far corner there

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where you can still see where the royal carpenters

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-missed one of the H&As.

-Really? Amazing.

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-So I think that's a lovely piece of history, right there.

-Absolutely.

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It's well-known that Henry totted up six wives in his lifetime,

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but it was his decision to end his first marriage that was pivotal

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in changing his relationship with the church.

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-So where are you taking me now?

-This is the processional route.

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It's where Henry would have processed every day from his

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-private apartments through to the chapel.

-Right.

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-Lots on his mind, no doubt?

-Indeed.

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It's the dying days of his first marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

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He can think of nothing but his desire for a divorce

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-so that he can marry Anne Boleyn.

-But how did he justify all that?

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Because, you know, deep down he was a man of deep faith.

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He was intensely pious, so he set a team of scholars to work,

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scouring the Bible for a justification.

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So we're here in the Royal Pew.

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This is where Henry would have heard mass.

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Of course, he was incredibly pious,

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and it took a very big decision to finally resolve

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the conundrum of the great matter.

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He knew the Pope wasn't going to agree to the divorce.

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He had to make himself head of the church.

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So what's the significance of this crown?

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This is a replica of Henry's crown,

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and, as you can see, there are tiny little saints all the way around.

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They're not just any old saints. They're former kings.

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It's making a very bold statement. The Crown is a head of the church.

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Henry's actions sent shock waves through Catholic Europe,

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and in 1538 he was excommunicated by the Pope.

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And here we have proof of this seismic change that Henry

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-has brought in. It's a prayer book.

-How rare is this?

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This is incredibly rare.

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And actually it dates from 1515,

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so the very same year that Hampton Court was built.

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-And you can see the word "Papa" for Pope is crossed out...

-Oh, yes!

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..and written over with "Rex Hen" for Henry the King.

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I'm up in the minstrels' gallery here at Hampton Court,

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where entertainers have performed across the centuries.

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In 2016, we treated you to over 365 performances of inspiring hymns,

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songs and carols, enough for every day of the year.

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Here's a look back at some of our favourites.

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# This train has left the station

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# This train

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# I said, this train has left the station

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# Woo, this train

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# I said this train has left the station

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# This train takes on every nation

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# This train... #

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# ...Jerusalem, builded here

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# Among those dark Satanic mills... #

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# Our father, who art... #

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The Songs Of Praise Junior School Choir of the Year,

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-the Lindley school.

-SCREAMING

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# Daniel, servant of the Lord... #

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Senior School Choir of the Year...

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-Tring Park school.

-CHEERING

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# Be still my soul

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# Thy best, thy heavenly friend... #

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# She'll always be my song of praise... #

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# Her fortress is a faithful heart

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# Her pride is suffering... #

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# There's a place for us

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# A time and place for us... #

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# And I will never find another love like you, boy

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# So be love... #

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# Swing low, sweet chariot

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# Coming for to carry me home... #

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The Songs of Praise Rugby League Challenge Cup Fans Choir...

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# Oh Lord, abide with me. #

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Welcome to the Royal Albert Hall in London

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for our annual musical extravaganza.

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# Oh, when they sing the Saviour's praise

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# Oh, when they sing the Saviour's praise... #

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A whistle-stop tour through our musical year.

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I hope you enjoyed it.

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And what better message for the New Year than Julian Ovenden

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with Get Happy.

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# Forget your troubles and just get happy

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# You better chase all your cares away

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# Sing hallelujah Come on and get happy

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# Get ready for the judgment day

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# The sun is shining Come on, get happy

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# My lord is waiting to take your hand

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# Shout hallelujah Come on and get happy

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# We're going to the Promised Land

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# We're heading across the river

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-# Wash your sins away in the tide

-In the tide

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# It's all so peaceful

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# Peaceful on the other side

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# Forget your troubles and just get happy

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# You better chase all your cares away

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# Shout hallelujah Come on, get happy

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# Get ready for the judgment day

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# We're heading across the river

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# Wash your sins away in the tide

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# It's all so peaceful

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# Peaceful on the other side

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# Whoa

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# Whoa

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# Whoa

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# Whoa

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# Forget your troubles Come on, get happy

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# So happy

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# Come on and chase all your cares away

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-# Come on, baby, by my side

-Sing hallelujah

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-# Come on, get happy

-Get happy

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# Get ready

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# Get ready

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# Get ready for the judgment day

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# Get ready for the judgment day

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# Oh, yeah. #

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Henry VIII's decision to call himself the supreme head

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of the Church of England would trigger

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a split between Catholics and Protestants

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that still reverberates to this day.

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But last year at Hampton Court, the first Catholic service for

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over 450 years was held in the Chapel Royal.

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Taking part was Cardinal Vincent Nichols,

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leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales.

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Father Anthony Howe,

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Chaplain to Her Majesty the Queen was also there.

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It was an amazing experience.

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So much that caused the Reformation in this country happened,

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really, in this palace, and so it was very holistic for Anglicans

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and Roman Catholics to worship together

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in words and music that unites us.

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It brought together people from different traditions

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back to worship the same God who is the God of us all.

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What's it like for you being a chaplain in this place,

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a building steeped in history?

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It's not a bad place to say your prayers, really.

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That's the understatement of the year, I think.

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I sit in my stall and look up at the roof and think, goodness,

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am I actually here?

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It's beautiful both physically and beautiful spiritually.

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Faith and theology were hugely important to Henry

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but he was also fascinated by astronomy.

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This huge clock was commissioned by Henry and installed in 1540.

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At over three metres across, it tells the time,

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the date, the movements of the sun,

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phases of the moon, as well as all 12 signs of the Zodiac.

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Pretty ambitious at the time, just like the man himself.

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Next up, a song that's just perfect for this time of year.

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It was composed by Benjamin Britten and it's known as a New Year Carol.

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# Here we bring new water

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# From the well so clear

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# For to worship God with

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# This happy new year

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# Sing levy dew, sing levy dew

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# The water and the wine

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# The seven bright gold wires

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# And the bugles that do shine

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# Sing reign of fair maid

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# With gold upon her toe

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# Open you the west door

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# And turn the old year go

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# Sing levy dew, sing levy dew

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# The water and the wine

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# The seven bright gold wires

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# And the bugles that do shine

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# Sing reign of fair maid

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# With gold upon her chin

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# Open you the east door

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# And let the New Year in

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# Sing levy dew, sing levy dew

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# The water and the wine

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# The seven bright gold wires

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# And the bugles that do shine. #

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Coming up later, I see the extravagance of a banquet

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fit for a king and sample one of Henry VIII's favourite tipples.

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2016 was another very busy year for us on Songs Of Praise,

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bringing you inspirational stories from home and abroad even if it

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meant getting up very early in the morning.

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It's five o'clock in the morning and I've been invited

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here to the famous Billingsgate Fish Market.

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Wow! Look at that. It's a shark.

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Over the past 12 months we've met people from many walks of life.

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I feel like a foreigner in my own town.

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It feels like, really, if the sunshine was there

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all the time one would assume one was on holiday.

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Hello. I was wondering,

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I'd like to give you these for the weekend just to enjoy.

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-Thank you very much.

-OK, bye-bye.

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I know what my relationship with God is like.

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I know who I am. He made me.

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He was obviously having a laugh in that he made me deaf and

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he made me gay and I'm a musician.

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And we hope we've given you a bit of inspiration.

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# The sun comes up it's a new day... #

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We met the man who went viral after singing a hymn during brain surgery.

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I got loads of Twitter followers all of a sudden

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and I had to send out a tweet saying thank you

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for all these prayers, please don't just pray for me,

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pray for all the people that don't have anyone.

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In those instances where it is literally life or death,

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that's... God is sometimes the only thing that people have.

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We've marked some poignant anniversaries including

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the hundredth since the Battle of the Somme.

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It's a strange mixture of emotions - when I first arrived

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here I felt relieved that I had finally come

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because I felt so guilty that I hadn't been here sooner.

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And 50 years ago, the Welsh town of Aberfan was hit by tragedy.

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This is something I have not spoken about for 50 years

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because it stirs me so much.

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Where the little bodies were laid out on the pews,

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covered with a blanket.

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And we cried and cried and cried.

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2016 was also a year when Christians faced many challenges

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with a war in Syria and terror attacks in France.

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When praying and when actually centring oneself on Christ,

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we are open to a new way,

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or Christ's way to deal with the situation

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because he was also confronted with violence and

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he reacted in such a way which was peaceful.

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Now, at any given moment an act of violence can occur

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anywhere in the world.

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Where is God in all this?

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If I was God, I think I'd be despairing at the human condition.

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Quite often, people think of hope as being

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so secure in the present they can face an uncertain future.

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I rather turn it round. The Christian virtue of hope is living

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an uncertain present in the light of a firm and clear future.

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Here at Hampton Court, I've been exploring how Henry VIII's

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burning desire for a male heir led him to discard his first two

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wives and break with the Catholic Church of Rome.

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I'm going back to the Chapel Royal to find out more.

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And this Chapel played a huge part in Henry's life?

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Absolutely, because the very year after all of these great

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seismic changes in England's religious life,

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Henry at last had a son by his third wife Jane Seymour,

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who gave birth to Edward here at Hampton Court and this is him.

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-Wow.

-You can see he is literally a chip off the old block, isn't he?

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-In his finery.

-In his finery. He's already dressed like a king.

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Am I right in saying that it was the norm for them to christen

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their children immediately almost after birth?

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Absolutely, because of the high rates of infant mortality

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but Henry delayed for three days.

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He wanted to give time for all the dignitaries of the kingdom

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to assemble here.

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He had a huge octagonal platform raised, on top of which

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the font was placed so everybody would get a view of the proceedings.

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There'd have been hundreds of people from all over

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the world crammed into this chapel here.

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This is the defining moment of Henry's reign

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and you can see up on the ceiling it's written, "God and my right."

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This is Henry really emphasising the fact he has divine authority.

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It's him and God, he's God's representative on Earth.

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At times of celebration, like the christening of Edward VI,

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the Tudor kitchens at the Palace would go into overdrive.

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Wow, this is what you call a serious feast.

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-Hello there.

-This is amazing.

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Lots of the meat I recognise, of course we eat it now,

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but some we definitely don't. Swan, peacock...

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Yeah, they're rather extravagant Tudor dishes, those,

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and the recipe's just as complex because it tells you

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to take the whole skin and feathers off the bird,

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roast it on the fire and then put it all straight back on

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so that when it's served in the hall, you've got all these,

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what looks like live birds being brought in by candlelight and

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-then they reveal the roasted birds.

-Ta-da!

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So how many people would this have fed?

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Well, oddly enough, this could be just for the King,

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placed in front of one man.

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-Wow! He had an appetite and a half.

-He did.

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And to wash it all down, were the drinks equally as elaborate?

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Yes, I mean, they love their beer here but they're all into

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expense, so as much imported wine as they can.

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So this is what they would have drunk?

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This is called hippocras, a spiced wine.

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This is a first for me.

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Here we go, bottoms up, cheers.

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-Wow! It's sweet, isn't it?

-And now peppery. It goes one, two.

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-Oh, yeah, it's lovely, though.

-I like it, too.

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And this is the drink they served at the christening of Edward VI.

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The promised son is celebrated with wafers and spiced wine

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and so this is the recipe.

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So this would have been the best that they could have had

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-for the festive special occasion?

-Yes.

-Cheers to that.

-Cheers.

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So what would you say Henry's legacy is?

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Without him, we probably wouldn't have had the Reformation,

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or at least not so early.

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He changed the face of England's religious life for ever.

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Ironically, though, Edward stripped away a lot of the excesses

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of his father's court but he was much more of a religious radical.

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He was thoroughly Protestant and I think, actually, so much so

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that his father would have been absolutely shocked.

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There's a twist in the tale, as well, isn't there?

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There is, because very early in Henry's reign,

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on New Year's Day 1511, his first wife Catherine of Aragon had

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given birth to a son, Henry, known as the New Year's Prince.

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Well, sadly, the little baby Henry died after just seven weeks.

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If he'd lived, though, history would have been very different.

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Arguably, Henry VIII wouldn't have married six times

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and perhaps we wouldn't have even had the Reformation.

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Next week, Josie is at the January Sales picking up some

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top tips on how to manage your money,

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and there's keep fit cathedral style.

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But let's end with a joyful hymn to send us out into the New Year.

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Bye for now.

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2017 is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, so Aled Jones goes behind the scenes at Hampton Court Palace, favourite haunt of Henry VIII and his six wives. It was at Hampton Court Palace that Henry engineered a split with the church in Rome. There is also a look back at the very best of Songs of Praise from the last 12 months.

Music:

Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven from Liverpool Anglican Cathedral Let All the World in Every Corner Sing from Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich Get Happy from St. James Church, Clerkenwell New Year Carol by Romsey Abbey Choir To God Be the Glory from Hackney Empire O Worship the King from All Saints Church, Cheltenham You Shall Go Out With Joy from St. James The Greater, Leicester.