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Written by JulieW
(5/1/2007 8:14 a.m.)
Let's “put St James on the map”: this is taken from Richard Horwood’s Map of London (1799) and is now published by the London Topographical Society as the “A-Z of Regency London”: a fun but very useful publication.
Here is a close up of that section , showing the palace and its grand position.
Here are two views of the outside of the Palace.
As you can see it is a place for pomp and ceremony.
This is a contemporary description of the palace from my copy of John Feltham’s guidebook to London( one of the first ever printed) , the Picture of London(1802):
The palace that first deserves to be noticed is St James's Palace, both for its antiquity, and its being the winter residence of the kings of England. On the site of this palace was originally a hospital, founded before the conquest, for 14 leprous females to whom eight brethren were afterwards added, so perform divine service.
In 1531 it was surrendered to Henry VIII who erected the present palace. and inclosed St. James's Park, to serve as a place of amusement and exercise, both to this palace and that of Whitehall. St. James's Palace does not seem to have been the court of the English sovereigns during their residence in town, till the reign of Queen Anne, from which time it has been uniformly such.
The external appearance of this palace is inconsiderable, yet certainly not mean. It is a brick building, that part in which the rooms of state are, being only one story, and having a regular appearance on the outside. Although there is nothing very superb or grand in the decorations or furniture of the state apartments ; they are commodious and handsome.
The entrance to these rooms is by a staircase that opens into the principal court, next to Pall Mal1. At the top of the staircase are two guard. rooms; one to the left called the Queen's, and the other the King's Guard-room, leading to the state apartments.
Immediately beyond the King's Guard-Room is the Presence Chamber, now used only as passage to the principal rooms.
There is a range five of these, opening into each other successively, and fronting into the park.
The Presence Chamber, opens into the center room, called the Privy Chambcr; where is a canopy, under which the king recieves the quakers( the nervous peole attending, not the religious bretheren-JW!).
On the right are two drawing-rooms, one within the other.
At the upper end of the further is a throne with its canopy, on which the king receives certain formal addresses.
This apartment is the Grand Drawing-room in which the king and queen are present on certain days; the nearer room being a kind of Anti-chamber, in which the nobtlity are permitted to sit down, while their ma-jesties are present in the further room, there being stools and sofas for the purpose. On the left, entering the privy-chamber from the king's guard-room, and presence-chamber, are two levee-rooms, the nearer serving as an anti-chamber to the other.
All these rooms were formerly very old and mean in their furniture. On the marriage of a Prince of Wales, they were fitted up in their present State.
The walls are covered with tapestry, very beautiful, and quite fresh in their colours ; for, though it was wade for Charles II. it had never been put up, having (by some accident)lain in a chest, till discovered a little before the marriage of the prince. The canopy of the throne was made for the queen's last birth-day, being the first since the union of the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland. It is of crimson velvet, with broad gold lace, having embroidered crowns and fine pearls. The shamrock( the badge of the Irish Nation) forms one of the decorations of the crown and I acccurately executed. In the grand drawing room, is a large magnificent chandelier of gilt silver; and , in the grand levee-room is a very noble bed, the furniture of which is of crimson velvet, manufactured in Spital-fields. This bed was put up, with the tapestry, on the marriage of the prince of Wales.
The other parts of St James’s palace are very irregular in their form, consisting chiefly of several courts. Some of the apartments are occupied b branches of the Royal family others by the kings servants and others are granted as a benefit to their occupiers.
The sole use the king makes of St James’s Palace is for purposes of state.
Here is a picture from William Pyne’s Views and Interiors of British Royal Residencesof the Queens Guard room:
And this is a picture by Rowlandson of people attending a levee, processing through the Kings Guard Chamber to the Presence Chamber. Note the hoi-polloi watching the honoured guests from the sidelines.
And here is a picture of a drawing room, again by Rowlandson. Note that both ladies and gentlemen attended these: only gentlemen attended levees ,and the Queen was not present at those either.
One could apply to the Court to watch the procession pass by. See this extract, again from Feltham’s Picture of London:
THE COURT OF ST JAMES
Persons who wish to see the nobility and other persons of distinction go to court on drawing room days, may easily obtain admission to the anti-room by permission of the officer of the guard, the yeomen or other person in waiting, provided application is made before the court begins.
On birth-days admission may be obtained to the gallery or the ball room, either by ticket of a peer or the introduction of a page or any persons in the royal household.
Admission may also be obtained to the Lord Chamberlain’s Box but it is necessary to be full-dressed. In this as in most other cases, a small fee properly applied is the readiest and most independent passport.
Ladies who happen to be in London on the King or Queen’s birth-day will be highly gratified by obtaining admission to the ball-room
It really is no wonder that this made such an impression on the mayor of a small town like Meryton is it?
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