November 2nd – On this day in 1529 Henry VIII appropriated York Place from the then Archbishop of York, Cardinal Wolsey, and renamed it Whitehall Palace (whence, from Shakespeare’s “King Henry the Eighth”, “You must no more call it York Place: that is past; For since the Cardinal fell that title’s lost. ‘Tis now the King’s and called Whitehall”). The palace was later extended both by Henry and by James I. It was undamaged in the Great Fire of 1666, but substantially burnt down in another fire in 1698. Essentially only the Banqueting House, designed by Inigo Jones in 1622, and notable as the first Renaissance building in London, with a ceiling by Rubens, still stands (together with “Henry VIII’s wine cellar” in the nearby Ministry of Defence building in Horse Guards’ Avenue, the site of his tilt-yard in Horse Guards’ Parade, part of his tennis court in the Cabinet Office at No. 70 Whitehall, and “Queen Mary’s Steps”, built in 1691, on the Embankment). The Holbein Gate, built in 1532, and notable as the probable place of the clandestine marriage of Henry and Anne Boleyn in 1533, survived both fires, but was demolished in 1759. Charles I was executed outside the Banqueting House in 1649.
The site of Whitehall Palace is visited on our “St Paul’s to Westminster Abbey – Priories, Palaces and Parliament” walk.
Please note that this walk, or indeed any of our others, can be booked by e-mail (email@example.com) or phone (020-8998-3051).