The Commonwealth

The Commonwealth

A section of ceiling

During the English Civil War Oliver Cromwell takes over the Banqueting House as his hall of audience in 1654

Cromwell in Whitehall

After the death of Charles I, Whitehall Palace remained practically deserted for several years. A commission had already been appointed by Parliament to dispose of the King's property and the splendid Stuart art collection was gradually broken up.

This was interrupted when Oliver Cromwell formally became the new Head of State as Lord Protector and took up residence at Whitehall in 1654.

The Banqueting House became the Lord Protector's hall of audience where he held his first reception for the ambassadors of the Estates-General in Holland. There was probably little difference between Cromwell's receptions and those of the king on whose court etiquette they were based.

Cromwell’s daughter was married at Whitehall Palace. The wedding was a luxurious affair with 48 violins and 50 trumpets, and dancing until 5am.

Whitehall Palace stands empty

After Cromwell's death at Whitehall in September 1658 an unsuccessful attempt was made to put the palace up for sale. It then stood empty until 1660 when a new parliament called for the monarchy to be restored and the palace returned to the new king.

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