The Tower of London is one of the most imposing and popular of London’s historical sites. It comprises not one, but 20 towers. The oldest of which, the White Tower, dates back to the 11th century and the times of William the Conqueror. Nowadays a lot of tourists visit the Tower of London, because of the Tower’s evil reputation as a prison. The Tower is famous as home of the Crown Jewels.
Today they can be viewed in their new jewel house. They include the Crown of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother which contains the celebrated Indian diamond.
Many stories associated with British history come from the Tower. In 1483 King Edward IV’s two sons were murdered in the so-called Bloody Tower. Over two centuries later the skeletons of two little boys were found buried beneath steps in the White Tower.
Traitor’s Gate has steps leading down to the River Thames. Countless prisoners, including the future Queen Elizabeth I of England, were brought to the Tower by barge and ascended the steps before being imprisoned. For many it was their last moment of freedom before their death.
But Elizabeth was released from the Tower and became Queen. The King’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, was brought to trial there in 1536 and beheaded. Six years later her cousin, Catherine, Henry VIII’s fifth wife, suffered the same fate.
Sir Thomas More was beheaded there in 1535.
Of course, no visit to the Tower would be complete without seeing the ravens; huge black birds who are an official part of the Tower community. Legend states that if the ravens were to leave the Tower the Crown will fall, and Britain with it. Under the special care of the Raven Master, the ravens are fed a daily diet of raw meat.
And there is no danger of them flying away, because their wings are clipped.