Last days of Whitehall

Last days of Whitehall

William and Mary Copyright Historic Royal Palaces

From a furniture store to a lying-in state, the final ceremonies of Banqueting House

James II (1685-8)

The last king to live at Whitehall Palace was James II who reigned for four short years from 1685 to 1688. During this time the Banqueting House was used as a store for furniture and other goods from the royal apartments while alterations to the palace were made for the King.

William III (1689-1702) and Mary II (1689-94)

One of the last great national ceremonies to be held in the Banqueting House was the offering of the Crown to the Prince and Princess of Orange (the future King William III and Queen Mary II) which took place on 13 February 1689 in the presence of the assembled Lords and Commons.

After 1689 Whitehall Palace and the Banqueting House within it began to decline in importance.

William III was an asthmatic and disliked staying at Whitehall because of its damp riverside location. When he had to stay in London, he much preferred the higher ground and cleaner air of his new palace at Kensington.

The death of Queen Mary

However, in 1694, his wife, Queen Mary, died and the Banqueting House once again used for a ceremonial occasion when it was used for the Queen's lying in state on a catafalque (coffin setting) designed by Sir Christopher Wren.

Lead image of William III and Mary I copyright Historic Royal Palaces                                                                 

You may also be interested in...