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Charles I’s execution site

Walk in the footsteps of the condemned King and stand at the spot where Charles I's execution took place.

Walk in the footsteps of the condemned King and stand at the spot where Charles I's execution took place.

When

  • Open Daily

Ticketing info

Included in palace admission

The day of Charles I's execution

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 his fate.

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 as not to shiver from the cold, in case it was misunderstood as trembling from fear.

He was also persuaded to eat a little bread and drink a glass of claret so that he would not faint before reaching the execution block.

The mysterious executioners

After Charles's trial and condemnation the execution axe was brought from the Tower of London.

The usual waist-high execution block could not be found and a much lower one was brought to Whitehall. This block was normally used for dismembering the bodies of traitors.

The public executioner, a man called Brandon, refused to undertake his duty and his assistant could not be found. Their places were eventually taken by two men in disguise whose identities remain unknown to this day.

Famous last words

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 contributed to his later cult status as a royal martyr.

The execution of King Charles I is remembered each year on 30 January with a service in the Banqueting House.

I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible Crown, where no disturbance can be.

King Charles I.

Explore what's on

Performance of the Elizabethan Christmas at Hampton Court palace

A heart-warming Christmas story for all the family, set at the court of Queen Elizabeth I and performed around the palace.

22 to 23 December and 27 December 2017 to 1 January 2018

Hampton Court Palace

Highlights

11:00- 15:30

Dare you visit the Tower at night and take one of our Twilight Tours? Discover secrets of the Tower's history with exclusive after-hours access.

Selected dates

Tower of London

Tours and talks
Fountain Court, looking west. The courtyard fountain can just be seen through an archway on the left.

Get an expert’s guide of what there is to see and do at each palace with one of our State Apartment Warders at Hampton Court.

21 December 2017. 20 January, 08 February and 10 March 2018

Hampton Court Palace

Member only Tours and talks

Tours begin at 11:00 and 14:00

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