The Queen’s House is one of the many historical buildings located within the Tower of London. It is a beautiful and elegant building that has been used for various purposes throughout its history, including as a royal residence, a mint, and a storage space for the Crown Jewels.
History of The Queen’s House
The Queen’s House was originally built by King Henry VIII in the early 16th century as a residence for his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. The building was constructed in a Tudor style, with large windows and ornate decorations. It was one of the first brick buildings in England, and its design was a significant departure from the more traditional medieval architecture of the Tower of London.
Over the years, the Queen’s House was used for various purposes. During the reign of King James I, it was converted into a mint, where coins were produced for the Crown. Later, it became a storage space for the Crown Jewels, a role it still serves today.
During the 19th century, the Queen’s House underwent a major renovation, and its interior was redesigned to make it more suitable for its current use as a display space for the Crown Jewels. Today, visitors can see the impressive collection of royal regalia, including the crowns, scepters, and other items used during coronation ceremonies.
The Queen’s House Design and Architecture
The Queen’s House is a beautiful example of Tudor architecture. It is a rectangular building, with two floors and large windows that allow plenty of natural light to enter the space. The exterior is decorated with ornate brickwork, including intricate patterns and designs.
Inside, the Queen’s House has been carefully designed to showcase the Crown Jewels in the best possible light. The space is divided into several rooms, each with its own theme and display. The lighting has been carefully calibrated to highlight the colors and sparkle of the jewels, and visitors can see the items up close through glass displays.
Video: The Queen’s House at the Tower of London
The Queen’s House Tour
The Queen’s House is open to the public as part of the Tower of London complex. Visitors can purchase tickets to see the Crown Jewels, which are displayed within the building. The Jewel House is open every day, except for a few days around Christmas and New Year’s.
When visiting the Queen’s House and the Jewel House, visitors should be prepared for some security measures. The Crown Jewels are, of course, priceless items, and they are heavily guarded. Visitors will need to pass through metal detectors and bag checks before entering the building. Photography is not allowed inside the Jewel House, but visitors are welcome to take photos of the exterior of the Queen’s House and other buildings within the Tower of London.
The Queens House was built about 1530, probably for Queen Anne Boleyn, but she lived there only as a prisoner for 18 days awaiting her execution. The second queen of Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth I, she was beheaded on Tower Green by a French executioner for alleged infidelity; it is said she felt the French more skilled at the task of beheading. As a princess interned at the Bell Tower, Elizabeth I was permitted to dine here. Despite the presence of these and future Queens, the building was known until 1880 as the Lieutenant’s Lodgings.
It is a very fine example of half-timbered Tudor architecture. Within a few years of completion, a floor was inserted at second storey level in the lofty hall making what is known as the Council Chamber. The chamber has a magnificent 16 century rafted ceiling and contains an elaborate tablet commemorating the Gunpowder Plot erected in 1608 by the then Governor, Sir William Waad. In this room, Guy Fawkes was interrogated and after torture on the rack in the White Tower, signed a confession incriminating his fellow conspirators.
If you have the opportunity to visit the Tower of London, be sure to take the time to explore the Queen’s House and the Jewel House and to see the impressive collection of royal regalia on display.