Article by Khatija Hussain
The Queen’s House is one of London’s most historic buildings and one of the only few remaining in Greenwich, London. This beautifully creamed stone paved palace brings the rich history of the lineage of the royals and how the monarchy was passed onto the Queen today. Some visitors have reported of a ghost that lurks in the Queen’s House, a photo was captured in 1966 of a hand but nothing further has been discovered until 2002, when a worker reported a figure dressed in a grey/white dress passing though the walls.
The Queen’s house was built in 1616 by Inigo Jones for the Queen Anne of Denmark, but it was put on hold once the queen had passed. In 1635, the Queen’s House was finished for Henrietta Maria, the wife of Charles I.
Although, Henrietta lived here until 1642, she was able to experience the house before she was sent into exile as her husband Charles I was executed for treason and starting the civil war.
The House holds over hundreds of paintings collected over the years and artwork created recently to celebrate the house’s 400th anniversary. The Queen’s House was closed off in 2016 to be refurbished to match the style of the original décor of the house. Inigo Jones’ architectural design was inspired from his journey from Italy and designed one of the first geometrical floorings along with the stunningly blue Tulip Stairs, which was the first geometric self-supporting spiral stair in Britain. This is where the supposed Queen’s House ghost was reportedly seen.
Each room in the Queen’s House presents paintings of the members that once stood in the house and the finest seaman in Britain. The King’s presence chamber is decorated with royal blue walls and outlined with a rich gold plated carved designs throughout the ceiling and corner of the room. This room hangs the portraits of the king and his courtiers who were royals, philosophers and naval officers.
The top left is a portrait of Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Teddeman. The canvas below is of Vice-Admiral Sir William Berkeley. The top right is Vice Admiral Sir Joseph Jordan and the portrait below is Sir Jeremiah Smith. They were created in 1665/1666.
The gallery has many beautiful artistic works, some created were described as pen paintings displayed in the King’s antechamber. The pen paintings were drawn by the famous Dutch artist Willem van de Velde, the Elder. He was one of the artists to sketch naval battles that he had witnessed. The small room was darkened with grey walls to enhance the sketches and give the viewer a clearer visual of what each detailed mark of the naval ships looked like.
The pen paintings by Willem van de Velde, the Elder were of ‘The First Battle of Schooneveld 23 May 1673’ This was sketched in 1684 (the bottom left). The second sketch was of ‘A Kaag and a Galjoot Close to the Shore with Witte de With in the ‘Brederode’ Leaving the Vlie, 9 June 1645’ (bottom right). The pen painting above was of the ‘The Battle of the Sound, 8 November 1658’. This was fully drawn in 1660.
The Queen’s Privy chamber is filled with portraits of the Tudor Family, the Stuart Family, and the Hanoverians. Each royal family had their turn in ruling England in their own way whilst working with parliament.
The gallery hosted a talk in the Queen’s Privy chamber by a volunteer named James Ears. He delivered a fantastic detailed and informative talk on these three bloodlines. Discussing how each member in these families came to power. The Tudors time was before the Queen’s House and Queen Elizabeth I was just shy of her 70th birthday before she had passed away and remained childless with no one to pass the throne onto. James I of England (6th of Scotland) was next in line for the throne. He was known for being influential and was quick with settling deals with parliament and others. James I was the transition from the Tudors between the Stuarts. The story of how the Hanoverians took the throne continues to be how the monarch is run today by her majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The Queen’s House last room ends with a very detailed painting on the roof of many influential figures in history. This gallery has so much to offer, it is a lovely day out for taking the family and learning something new about England. The queen’s house is not the only place to visit, with this historical site, the Maritime Museum is nearby along with the Royal Observatory. These monuments are the last original historical buildings left in Greenwich that make up some of the history of London and the current royal family.