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Hatfield Palace
The Old Palace, Hatfield House. 2008
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe Old Palace, Hatfield House. 2008 - Credit: Pram Fray

The Royal Palace of Hatfield in Hertfordshire is where Elizabeth spent part of her childhood. It is also where she held her first Council of State as Queen in 1558.

Despite the disappointment at the birth of a daughter rather than a son and heir for Henry VIII, Elizabeth was immediately proclaimed princess and treated as such. When she was just a few months old, Elizabeth was established in her own household and court at Hatfield Palace. But according to David Starkey, it was only when she officially acquired it in 1550 that it became important to her, and then for strategic rather than sentimental reasons. The bulk of Elizabeth's properties lay within the Hertfordshire-Buckinghamshire area, with her main residence, Ashridge, in the west. Her sister Mary's heartland was towards Essex, although Mary's main residence, Hunsdon, was in the east of Hertfordshire. Hatfield, being in the middle, with the added benefit of close proximity to London, was identified by the shrewd Elizabeth as a convenient base from which to keep in touch with events at court.