Here we have a 'close stool' at Hampton Court Palace. Groom of the Stool was a high Court position Henry VIII bestowed upon a favored and close friend. The duties of a Groom of the Stool were to empty and clean the close stool, as well as cleaning and drying the Royal derrière. The best known of Henry's Grooms of the Stool was Sir Henry Norris, who was convicted of adultery with Queen Anne Boleyn.
The Groom of the Stool was the most intimate of a monarch’s courtiers. In the 16th century both Henry VII and Henry VIII had grooms of this nature before the role evolved to become Groom of the Stole during the Stuart era. [Image: 16th century toilet]
Groom of the Stool The Independent reports that like most English monarchs Henry VIII employed a groom of the stool whose role consisted of conversing during defecation and cleaning of the royal rear. Though gross, the job was coveted because it provided unobstructed access to the king.