It is the largest of four Royal Parks that form a chain
from the entrance of Kensington Palace through
Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park,
via Hyde Park Corner and Green Park
past the main entrance to Buckingham Palace.
The park was established by Henry VIII in 1536
when he took the land from Westminster Abbey
and used it as a hunting ground.
It opened to the public in 1637 and quickly became popular,
particularly for May Day parades.
Major improvements occurred in the early 18th century
under the direction of Queen Caroline.
Several duels took place in Hyde Park during this time,
often involving members of the nobility.
The Great Exhibition of 1851 was held in the park, f
or which The Crystal Palace,
designed by Joseph Paxton, was erected.
since the 19th century.
Speakers’ Corner has been established as a point of free speech
and debate since 1872,
and the Stop the War Coalition have all held protests there.
In the late 20th century,
the park was known for holding large-scale free rock music concerts,
Major events in the park have continued into the 21st century,
such as Live 8 in 2005,
and the annual Hyde Park Winter Wonderland from 2007.