Inside The Tower Of London | Series 6 Preview (Channel 5)
It’s 2023 and we’re back behind Tower walls for another year at the nation’s best-loved historic attraction. For the first time in 70 years a new monarch is about to be crowned and it’s all hands to the pump as the fortress prepares to mark this historic event.
In the first episode: it’s March 2023 and the Tower is preparing for one the most important events in its 1000-year history – the crowning of a new monarch.
Since the sad death of Queen Elizabeth II last year, the fortress has been serving King Charles III and slowly transitioning into a new era, but with the coronation date now on the horizon, it’s a race to get everything ready for the big day.
Top of the agenda is changing all the royal cyphers – or personal monograms of the monarch - around the Tower. They’re everywhere from buttons on the staff uniforms to sentry boxes, and one of the biggest updates needed is on the Beefeaters’ ceremonial partisans.
These ancient weapons would have been employed to defend the king or queen during Tudor times, although nowadays they’re carried by the Yeoman Warders in the much more friendly ceremonial parades and gun salutes at the Tower.
But updating a 70-year-old bit of kit isn’t easy - for Chief Yeoman Warder Pete McGowran, it’s a race against the clock to get the partisans ready in time.
Assistant Curator Alfred Hawkins needs to oversee the replacement of the Tower’s biggest cypher. Sitting atop the iconic Jewel House and signalling the ownership of the priceless crown jewels by the monarch, this marks the start of the King’s new reign.
Over at the raven enclosure, Ravenmaster Chris Skaife’s precious flock are under serious threat. A nationwide outbreak of deadly avian flu means he’s had to make a tough decision and put his seven feathered charges under lockdown. Although the enclosure has been enlarged for them, Chris also comes up with some imaginative ways to keep them entertained.
The Coronation may be the biggest event of the year but the first date in the Tower’s calendar is Easter. In the café, Sous Chef Denis Idahosa has rustled up some delicious seasonal treats, while Curator and Public Historian Charles Farris and Yeoman Warder Barney Chandler investigate the fascinating history of Easter gift giving at the fortress – it didn’t include chocolate eggs...!
The Yeoman Warders put their best foot forward in a traditional Easter Parade - it’s the last time they will be wearing their state ceremonial dress bearing the late Queen’s initials, and it’s a fitting way to say a final goodbye.
And Historic Royal Palaces Chief Curator Tracy Borman turns detective to reveal the truth behind an incredible treasure: a beautiful gold sovereign ring found by a metal detectorist in Kent.
It’s engraved with a mysterious bull symbol and a single initial and Tracy believes it could possibly belong to the family of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s notorious second wife. Tracy’s hunt takes her all the way to Shurland Hall on the Isle of Sheppey, the ancestral home of one of Henry VIII’s courtiers.
Visited by King Henry and Anne Boleyn and their huge entourage on the way to France, Tracy reveals that the ring might have been owned by Anne’s father Thomas, or brother George, before their dramatic downfall left one of them with their head on the block.
Inside The Tower Of London returns Thursday 2nd November at 8pm on Channel 5.