Hatfield House was the childhood home and favorite residence of Elizabeth I. The home was built in 1497 by one of Henry VIII's ministers, John Morton; the house was seized by Henry along with church properties during the destruction of the Abbeys. Elizabeth and her half-brother (by Henry's third wife, Jane Seymour) Edward, lived at Hatfield House during their youth. When Elizabeth was 15 years old, she was under suspicion of illegally planning to wed Thomas Seymour; the house and servants were seized by one of Edward VI's minister, and Elizabeth was further interrogated. She defended herself, retaining always the postion of innocence. It was supposedly at the "Queen Elizabeth Oak" on the grounds of Hatfield House where Elizabeth was told she was Queen after the death of Mary I.
These pictures actually show the Old Palace, as there is a "newer" part of Hatfield House that was built in 1607. The "newer" House was built by Robert Cecil, the son of William Cecil (the longtime chief of minister to Elizabeth). James I did not particularly like Hatfield House, and so exchanged it for the Cecil Family home Theobald House. On exhibit at Hatfield House are some of Elizabeth's belongings, such as a hat, gloves, and silk stockings. On display are the Rainbow Portrait, and Ermine Portrait, two of the most iconic portaits of Elzabeth. There are also documents written by Elizabeth and a scroll containing Elizabeth's family tree (which "dates" back to Adam and Eve!).