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Banqueting House

Attractions, Historic buildings and sites Whitehall
Banqueting House exterior (© Historic Royal Palaces)
© Historic Royal Palaces
Banqueting House exterior (© Historic Royal Palaces)
© Historic Royal PalacesA close up of the Whitehall side facade.
Banqueting House entrance (© Historic Royal Palaces)
© Historic Royal Palaces
Bust of Charles I (© Historic Royal Palaces)
© Historic Royal PalacesThe inscription reads: 'His majesty King Charles I passed through this hall and out of a window nearly over this tablet to the scaffold in Whitehall where he was beheaded on 30th January 1649'
Banqueting House interior (© Historic Royal Palaces)
© Historic Royal PalacesThe banqueting hall in Banqueting House
Rubens ceiling (© Historic Royal Palaces)
© Historic Royal Palaces
Rubens ceiling (© Historic Royal Palaces)
© Historic Royal Palaces

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This handsome Italianate mansion, which was designed by Inigo Jones and constructed in 1620, was the first true Renaissance building in London. The sole surviving part of the Tudor and Stuart kings' Whitehall Palace, the Banqueting House features a lavish painted ceiling by Rubens, glorifying James I, 'the wisest fool in Christendom'. Regrettably, James's successor, Charles I, did not rule so wisely. After losing the English Civil War to Cromwell's Roundheads, he was executed in front of Banqueting House in 1649; the event is marked each January.

'Charles I's Execution' is a permanent display telling the story of the demise of Charles I who, on January 30 1649, spent his final few hours inside Whitehall Palace before walking across the Banqueting Hall and out of a window on to the scaffold. The display outlines the story of the events leading up to his execution through a series of banners which visitors read as they climb the stairs to the main Banqueting Hall. There's also a short film that illustrates Charles's final few hours, when he burned his private papers, bid farewell to his youngest children and said his prayers, displayed beneath the full length portrait of Charles by Daniel Mytens.



Address: Palace of Whitehall
Transport: Tube: Westminster/Charing Cross
Price: Admission £6.10; £5.10 reductions; free under-16s
Opening hours: Open 10am-5pm daily; phone to check
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