Wednesday, 10 February 2010

On This Day in London History…

The year is 1840. The place is the Chapel Royal at St. James's Palace, in the heart of the West End of London. The principals are 20-year-old Queen Victoria and her German cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (in a portrait by Landseer, left). The occasion – you've guessed by now (see also our Twitter feed today) – is their wedding.

That chapel – we see it on The Old Palace Quarter walk – is pretty d. special. Along with the adjoining gatehouse, it's all that remains of the original Tudor (1530s!) palace. Its importance simply cannot be gainsaid. It's the nursery of church music (Thomas Tallis, William Byrd and Henry Purcell played in the chapel). Charles I received Holy Communion in the chapel on January 30, 1649 – prior to being taken across St. James's Park to the Banqueting House to be executed. The body of Diana, Princess of Wales lay in state in the chapel.

The Old Palace Quarter Walk takes place every Monday at 11.00, meeting at the Ritz exit of Green Park Station.

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