Fact of the day: 4 January 2013.

This is something I used to do on my old blog so I thought I’d bring it back.

 

On this day in 1698 The Palace of Whitehall was destroyed by a fire. The palace was built in 1530 and had been used as the main residence of the English monarchs. The palace had grown to be one of the largest in Europe,  with over 1500 rooms. by 1691 it was one of the largest and most complex palaces in Europe.

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By the 13th century, the area had become the centre of government in England, and had been the main London residence of the king since 1049. The surrounding area became a very popular, and expensive, location.

Through the centuries, the palace was home to Edward I, who enlarged the building. It was then home to Cardinal Wolsey during the 15th century who rebuilt it and expanded it so much that it rivalled only Lambeth Palace as the greatest house in London. After the Cardinal’s dismissal, Henry VIII acquired the palace and made it his main London residence.

The palace was chosen as the place for Henry VIII to marry two of his wives and where he died in 1547. In 1611 the palace was also hosted the first known performance of Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest.

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The palace was also chosen as the place for the execution of Charles I. His son also died at the palace, though from a stroke not an execution.

Towards the late 17th century, the palace started to wain interest. There was a small fire in 1691. Mary II died of smallpox in 1694. After that, the monarchy avoided the palace, in favour of Kensington Palace. In 1698 another fire broke out causing major damage to the building. Today, the Banqueting House is the only original part of the house still standing.

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