St James's Palace

Built in 1532 by Henry VIII on the site of a former leper hospital following the destruction of the Palace of Whitehall in 1698, it remained the chief London palace until the accession of Queen Victoria 1837. Charles II, James II, Mary II and George IV were born here. It was from here that Charles I took leave of his children before walking across St James's Park to his execution, outside the Banqueting House in 1649. The main gateway, the Tapestry and Armoury Rooms and the Chapel Royal are all that remain of the original building.

Foot Guards are maintained on sentry duty, and foreign ambassadors are still accredited to the Court of St James. It is from here that the Royal Proclamation 'the King is dead, long live the King' is made after the death of a Monarch.

Here are the Headquarters of The Yeoman of the Guard ('Beefeaters', formed in 1485 by Henry VII) and Gentlemen at Arms (formed in 1509 by Henry VIII) who together comprise the Sovereigns dismounted bodyguard at State ceremonies; their uniforms are unmistakable, the former in Tudor style red emblazoned with gold and purple, the latter with white plumed helmets, white gauntlets and black boots.

The Chapel Royal was built as part of Henry VIII's palace and in honour of his marriage to Anne of Cleves, Royal marriages to have taken place here include that of Queen Victoria, it has a painted ceiling attributed to Holbein.

The Queen's Chapel, added 1623-7 to designs by Inigo Jones, was the private chapel of Charles I's Queen Henrietta Maria and Charles II's Queen Catherine of Braganza. Features include the wooden coffered ceiling, Carolean panelling and Royal pews.

See Also: Banqueting House, Clarence House

Opening Hours:
To Queen's Chapel: Sunday morning service at 11.15am (Easter to July)
To the Chapel Royal: for the Sunday morning service at 11.15am (October to Easter)

Address: Pall Mall, SW1

Website: St James's Palace

Nearby Stations: Green Park Station

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