Charles I’s execution site
The place where a king was killed
Outside the Banqueting House, on the pavement of Whitehall, is the site of Charles I's execution on 30 January 1649. Though the wooden staging erected for the execution has long been dismantled you can imagine the scene on that cold winter's day...
Charles I had lost the Civil War. His enemies convicted him of high treason and decided that execution would be the best fate for him.
On the day of the execution Charles said goodbye to his children at St James's Palace before being escorted to the Banqueting House.
It was bitterly cold. Charles wore a second shirt so not to shiver from the cold, in case it was misunderstood as trembling from fear. He was also persuaded to drink a glass of claret so that he would not faint before he reached the execution block.
Charles was led out of an upper window onto a temporary scaffold stage especially erected on Whitehall. He was composed on the scaffold and died with dignity.
Charles I's famous last words
Charles I’s famous last words contributed to the later cult of the king as royal martyr: 'I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible Crown, where no disturbance can be’.
The execution of King Charles I is remembered each year on 30 January with a service in the Banqueting House.