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Tower of London
Since William the Conqueror in 1066, English kings have slept, eaten and executed rivals in the Tower of London on the River Thames. Find primitive Norman toilets in the White Tower and the Crown Jewels in the Jewel House.Inside the Tower's formidably tall walls, English kings since William the Conqueror in 1066 have taken refuge from rebellious barons, imprisoned and executed their rivals, managed their treasury, stored their Crown Jewels, feasted, slept and prayed. At one time, the Tower even housed the Royal Menagerie, until the animals became too unruly and were removed to form London Zoo! The White Tower is the centre of the complex. On this side of the castle, the execution of the Earl of Essex (Elizabeth I's treasonous favourite) took place in 1601. Other famous figures to have lost their heads in the Tower of London include two of Henry VIII's wives (Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard). Free guided tours are given by the knowledgeable Tower guards, dressed in their bright red uniforms, who bring the building's dramatic and macabre past to life. Look out for the Koh-i-Noor at the Jewel House, the legendary large diamond which adorned the Queen Mother's crown.
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