Hampton Court Palace is a royal palace in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Greater London, and the historic county of Middlesex; it has not been inhabited by the British Royal Family since the 18th century. The palace is located 11.7 miles (18.8 kilometres) south west of Charing Cross and upstream of central London on the River Thames. It was originally built for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, a favourite of King Henry VIII, circa 1514; in 1529, as Wolsey fell from favour, the palace was passed to the King, who enlarged it.
The following century, William III's massive rebuilding and expansion project intended to rival Versailles was begun. Work halted in 1694, leaving the palace in two distinct contrasting architectural styles, domestic Tudor and Baroque. While the palace's styles are an accident of fate, a unity exists due to the use of pink bricks and a symmetrical, albeit vague, balancing of successive low wings.
Today, the palace is open to the public, and a major tourist attraction. It is cared for by an independent charity, Historic Royal Palaces, which receives no funding from the Government or the Crown.
The palace's Home Park is the site of the annual Hampton Court Palace Festival and Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. Along with St. James's Palace, it is one of only two surviving palaces out of the many owned by Henry VIII.
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