The execution of Charles I by beheading occurred on Tuesday 30 January 1649 outside the Banqueting House on Whitehall. The execution was the culmination of political and military conflicts between the royalists and the parliamentarians in England during the English Civil War, leading to the capture and trial of Charles I. On Saturday 27 January 1649, the parliamentarian High Court of Justice had declared Charles guilty of attempting to "uphold in himself an unlimited and tyrannical power to rule according to his will, and to overthrow the rights and liberties of the people" and he was sentenced to death.
Charles spent his last few days in St James's Palace, accompanied by his most loyal subjects and visited by his family. On 30 January, he was taken to a large black scaffold constructed in front of the Banqueting House, where he was to be executed. A large crowd had gathered to witness the regicide. Charles stepped onto the scaffold and gave his last speech, declaring his innocence of the crimes of which parliament had accused him, and claiming himself as a "martyr of the people". The crowd could not hear the speech, owing to the many parliamentarian guards blocking the scaffold, but Charles' companion, Bishop William Juxon, recorded it in shorthand. Charles gave a few last words to Juxon, claiming his "incorruptible crown" in Heaven, and put his head on the block. He waited a few moments and gave a signal; the anonymous executioner beheaded Charles in one clean blow and held Charles' head up to the crowd silently, dropping it into the swarm of soldiers soon after.
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|Sunday||10:00 AM – 5:00 PM|
Nicolás La Bella | Mar 3, 2018
It didn't seem to me an interesting place to pay for it. I just went because I had bought the London Pass and I can enter into without paying more. It looked rather bold and poor as I could only watch a video telling the history of what it was and what happened with it, nothing that you can't read out there...
Sharon Boston | Feb 1, 2018
One place not to miss. Visit the video to learn the history of the Banqueting House first and then amend the staircase. Enter the hall and you will find paintings by Rubens adorning the ceiling. Make sure you do the audio tour as it gives you so much information to hand. Thoughtfully they have supplied 8 beanbags to sit on as well as the benches along the sides of the hall. So comfy to settle down on and gaze at the ceiling for the 45 minute audio tour. They are popular but after a relatively short wait my husband and I both secured a beanbag to settle on to. Oh, and to finish you must dress up in the costumes on the rail. Go and stand in front of the throne and pretend you are the King and Queen of England. Great fun!
Nicola Hill | Feb 9, 2018
Visited on a Sunday. Lots of good activities for children, and in fact they would have stayed longer. Helpful introductory video. As much as possible has been done to help you see and interpret the ceiling paintings. However, unless you are a significant art appreciator, there is a limit to the amount of time you can stare at a single set of paintings for. Do go; don't expect to spend the day there.
Karen Harvey | Feb 24, 2018
I had this on my bucket list due to studying medieval history up to the English Civil War /Restoration and I wanted to share it with my son, who is studying Art with Photography. Unfortunately, we were on a flying visit because of timed tickets at the Royal Academy to see King Charles I's collection of paintings. I would have appreciated more time but, due to being there earlier on a week day, we were able to take in the short film and I recommend the audio guides. Very atmospheric to imagine King Charles I climbing out of the window to his execution. Staff were all pleasant and friendly but would have appreciated a cloakroom.
David Bowers | Feb 22, 2018
The painted ceilings are gorgeous, as is pretty much everything about the building. It's also well worth the entrance fee just to lay down on the beanbag chairs which are provided so you don't strain your neck looking at the ceiling. Large mirrors on tables with caster wheels are provided for the same purpose.
The Future | May 11, 2018
Fantastic. Beautiful baroque ceiling precisely described in an audio guide. Optional bean bags to lie on whilst viewing the ceiling. Chilling story of Charles I and his downfall. Friendly staff. Clean washrooms with great soap and towels!
Satish Chandran | Jun 6, 2018
Well preserved, well maintained place which has some amazing artwork adorning the ceiling which apparently was brought all the way from Belgium. One typically would spend about an hour here. There is a documentary to view first, enlightening people of the history behind this place along with an audio guide which is provided free of charge with the ticket. Entry fee applicable. Credit cards accepted but not Amex.
Gi Zielke | Jun 8, 2018
Audioguide in ticket included. Relaxing and comfortable visit. The wonderful paintings at the ceiling don't cause a stiff neck because you literally can lay there on sacks and listen to the guide while watching Rubens' paintings.
Justin Gillett | Jul 12, 2018
A lovely venue, we went for the quiz night which was fantastic - for that it would have been five stars. But as this is primarily a tourist attraction, I'm rating it on both its events and normal touristy appeal. Events are great fun and not overly priced considering the venue, but there isn't a huge amount to see/do as a tourist, nice to stop and see but you wouldn't spend long here.
Thomas Miller | Jun 29, 2018
Was looking forward to having something delicious to eat here. Contrary to the advertising, they offer no banquets at all! I had to satisfy myself with the (admittedly rather good) Rubens and the best set of windows in England. I left starving, though did better than Charles I. Sigh.
Carole Hunt | Jul 31, 2018
One large hall only, but a wealth of history and information in the audioguide. Lovely and cool in the summer heat. Fabulous toilets! Short film downstairs. Check opening times as still used for banqueting.
Anne Pearson | Jul 15, 2018
Beautiful architecture and canvas paintings. Love the fact they have magnifine mirrors so you can see the paintings on the ceiling clearer. Love the fact you can sit on puffy cushions to listen to all the information on the info phone. Ecspected a little more but if you have an hour or so it's worth it.
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