Reading is situated on two small eminences, whose gentle declivities fall into a pleasant vale, through which the branches of the Kennet flow till they unite with the Thames at the extremity of the town.
This is the nearest station for Esher and Claremont; the former, once a place of some importance, is now little better than an inconsiderable village. Esher Place is remarkable as having been the residence of Wolsey, when Bishop of Winchester; and a small castled turret, near the River Mole, is exhibited as the place of his temporary imprisonment.
Claremont, which is adjoining, has a melancholy interest, from the death of the lamented Princess Charlotte, which took place in 1317. The palace has since belonged to her husband, the King of the Belgians, who subsequently appropriated it to the use of the exiled Orleans family, when Louis Philippe left France in 1848, and who have resided in it since his death, in comparative seclusion.
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The seat of her majesty the Queen, and of her ancestors from the period of the Conquest. Eton College also is within a short distance.
Hampton Court stands on the north bank of the Thames, about twelve miles from London. Numerous sovereigns have made it their temporary abode; and the last who resided here were George II. and his Queen.