View of Greenwich by Johannes Vorsterman
Greenwich's royal history
Discover the Tudor and Stuart monarchies who lived at Greenwich Palace.
The Old Royal Naval College
Royal connections with Greenwich can be traced back to the reign of King Alfred the Great who inherited the land from his father Ethulwulf in 871AD. In 1081 William the Conqueror confirmed Greenwich as a possession of the Abbey of St Peter.
Later, Anglo-Saxon kings lived at Greenwich with the last king, Edward 1, reigning between 1272 and 1307.
A significant year was 1415 when Henry V formally created the Manor of Greenwich establishing what would be a long relationship with the monarchy.
Henry V's brother Humphrey, the Duke of Gloucester, obtained the freehold to the Manor of Greenwich around 1427. He began building a palace that became home to many future Kings and Queens.
The palace was named Bellacourt Placentia, or Pleasaunce by Queen Margaret, wife of Henry VI.
Henry VIII was born at The Palace of Placentia, Greenwich on June 28, 1491 and he spent much of his time at the palace. He held many jousts, festivals and banquets here and married Catherine of Aragon.
The Queen's House
He also later signed Anne Boleyn's death warrant at Greenwich. Their daughter Elizabeth later became one of England's most famous Queens reigning for over 40 years from 1558 to 1603.
The Queen's House, now the centre building of the National Maritime Museum, was originally built in the early 1600s by Inigo Jones for the Queen to King James I - Anne of Denmark.
It was originally known as the 'House of Delight' and was one of the first classical buildings in England.
The palace fell into disrepair during the civil war and was demolished in 1661 during the reign of Charles II.
His plans to build a new King's House were never finished but the Royal Observatory did get built in 1675-76. It was located on the site of the watchtower overlooking the park and its purpose was to solve accurate measurements of longitude.
The last monarchs to use Greenwich were King William III and Queen Mary II. After severe casualties at the Battle of La Houge in 1692 Queen Mary II gave permission for the remaining buildings to be used as a naval hospital.
TALES FROM THE PALACES
A warm, funny and sometimes moving ten-part series filmed over a year with the conservation teams inside Britain's Historic Royal Palaces: Hampton Court, The Tower of London, Kensington Palace, The Banqueting House and Kew Palace.
last updated: 10/04/2008 at 14:07