St James's Palace

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Main gate of St James's Palace
St James's Palace 1819

The St James's Palace was until 1837, the official London residence of the British monarch . Even today it fulfills an important ceremonial function: This is where the foreign ambassadors to the United Kingdom are accredited and the proclamation of a new monarch takes place here.


Erected between 1532 and 1540 under Henry VIII , the building is separated from Buckingham Palace by the eastern corner of Green Park . Before that there was the St. James Hospital at this point , a leprosy hospital that James the Younger was the patron of.

After the fire at the Palace of Westminster in 1529, Henry VIII moved his residence to the neighboring Palace of Whitehall , which he had confiscated from the overthrown Lord Chancellor and Archbishop of York, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey . He used St James's Palace as a retreat and home for his family. The initials HA for Heinrich and his second wife Anne Boleyn can be seen on the tower-like gatehouse . In 1544 he had the ceiling painted by Hans Holbein the Younger . Two of his children died here, on July 23, 1536 Henry Fitzroy, 1st Duke of Richmond and Somerset, and on November 17, 1558, Mary I Tudor , Queen of England. During the Cromwell rule the palace was used as a barracks.

After the Palace of Whitehall burned down in 1698 , King William III relocated . his official residence at St James's Palace, but preferred the out-of-town manors of Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace as residences. At the beginning of 1714 lasting until 1837 personal union of Great Britain with the electorate and from 1814 Kingdom of Hanover inhabited George I and George II. The palace as London's main residence. The clock on the tower was installed in 1731. In 1762 Georg III. Buckingham House, the predecessor of Buckingham Palace , and moved there. St James's Palace was only used for official occasions and served as the residence of the officials of the King's German Chancellery , who maintained the connection between the monarch and his homeland.

The former seat of the British Queen Mother , Clarence House , is within the palace walls. St James's Palace is now inhabited by the Prince of Wales and other relatives of the British Queen .

Changing of the guard

Since 1660, the Household troops ( guard troops ) have been responsible for guarding the royal palaces. After Queen Victoria moved to Buckingham Palace in 1837, the troops split up. One guard stayed at St James's Palace, the other followed the Queen to Buckingham Palace. Even today, a part of the guard marches at 11:15 a.m. through St James's Park to Buckingham Palace and returns to St James's Palace at 12:05 p.m. The changing of the guard only takes place on the days on which the one at Buckingham Palace is carried out (daily in the summer months April to July, otherwise every two days).



  • Wolf Burchard: St James's Palace: George II's and Queen Caroline's Principal London Residence , in: The Court Historian. The International Journal of Court Studies , Volume 16, No. 2, 2011, pp. 177-203.

See also

Web links

Commons : St James's Palace  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 51 ° 30 ′ 17 ″  N , 0 ° 8 ′ 15 ″  W.