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Pictures of St James's Palace

a Palace in the town of London, in the county of Greater London

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About St James's Palace

The origins of St.James's Palace lie deeply rooted in the reign of King Henry VIII, it was the King who started the building of the original palace in the year 1531. Following the destruction of Whitehall Palace, St.James's became the principal London residence of the monarch, even today the tradition of Foreign ambassadors appointed to the Court of St.James still exists.

Still visible above the Gatehouse facing St.James's Street (which is the main remnant of the Tudor building) are the carved initials of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Another relic from this period is The Chapel Royal, this was greatly altered in 1837, but still retains its original Holbien ceiling. This beautiful chapel has been the scene of several Royal marriages, including those of William III and Mary II, Queen Anne, George IV, Queen Victoria to Prince Albert, and George V.

On the feast of the Epiphany (January 6th) a service is held in the chapel at which an offering of gold, frankincense and myrrh is made on behalf of the Sovereign by two Gentleman Ushers of the Court. St.James's Palace is also where the proclamation of a new sovereign takes place, this is made by the Garter King of Arms from the balcony above Friary Court.

Charles II was born here, when he became King he commissioned Wren to build state apartments facing the park. Several monarchs have been born in these apartments, these include James II, Mary II, Queen Anne and George IV. Prior to Queen Victoria moving the court to the more suitable Buckingham Palace, George IV had employed Nash to redecorate.

Today, St.James's Palace is still considered the senior Royal palace, it contains a magnificent throne room used for state occasions, and the London residences of senior members of the Royal family. Most latterly, the Queens Chapel at St.James's Palace was used as a resting place for the coffin of Her Majesty the Queen Mother, prior to the Lying in State at Westminster Hall.

This is very much a private, living working palace and as such is not open to the public.

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