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Greenwich Palace


No Longer There

The Old Royal Naval College, an impressive Baroque building designed by Sir Christopher Wren, stands on the site of the Tudor palace at Greenwich.

At the beginning of the sixteenth century, Henry VII demolished the old Manor of Pleasaunce, or Placentia, and built a red-brick palace in its place. Greenwich Palace was the site of many significant Tudor events: the birthplace of Henry VIII (1491) and his daughters, Mary I (1516) and Elizabeth I (1533), it was also where the young Edward VI died (1553). Henry VIII married two of his wives, Katharine of Aragon (1509) and Anne of Cleves (1540) at Greenwich and it was there, too, that Anne Boleyn was arrested in 1536. Elizabeth I used Greenwich as her principal summer residence and William Shakespeare is known to have performed there for her.

The palace fell into disrepair during the Civil War and was demolished soon afterwards. All that remains of Greenwich Palace is its foundations, buried beneath the Grand Square. Recent archaeological excavations found the remains of two service rooms from the Palace’s Friary buildings and these can be viewed beneath the Painted Hall, whilst a number of artefacts from the old palace, are displayed in the Visitor Centre, along with architectural models and reconstructions.

See also: Eltham Palace, Palace of Whitehall, St James's Palace, Hampton Court Palace