Explore James I's 'great hall', completed in 1622 as a venue for extravagant entertainment
The Banqueting Hall was built for the performance of masques and for grand ambassadorial receptions.
William of Orange and his wife Mary Stuart were read the Bill of Rights in February 1689 in this room, before they jointly accepted the crown.
In 1698 the rest of Whitehall Palace burnt down, leaving only the Banqueting House.
The hall was refurnished after the fire as the principal Chapel Royal. The altar was at the north end, and a royal pew was placed opposite at the south end, where the replica throne is today.
Even when the Chapel Royal moved to St James's Palace the hall was used for preaching and public ceremonies. In 1808 the room became a military chapel. Rich velvet swags hung between the pillars and pew boxes ran down the long sides of the hall. Up to 2,000 soldiers took part in a service.
In 1895 Queen Victoria granted the building to the Royal United Services Institution to use as a museum. Cases full of military curiosities were crammed into the hall while banners hung from the ceiling.
Exclusive English fine bone chine tea sets inspired by our historic royal palaces. Collect our traditional Palace china afternoon tea sets, with designs including elements from all our royal palaces.