The Banqueting House in Whitehall was built between 1619 and 1622 by Inigo Jones, who had been commissioned by King James I to create a splendid new classical building for masques, banquets, and receptions. Along with the Queen’s House in Greenwich, this building is one of the first examples of Palladian design in British architecture.
In 1635, Charles I commissioned Peter Paul Rubens to paint the ceiling for £3000, shortly after which nightly galas ceased because the smoke from the candles was damaging the artwork.
It is probably most famous as the site of Charles I’s 30 January 1649 execution on a platform outside one of the windows. Many years later, William & Mary accepted the crown inside, and after the Whitehall Fire of 1698 the Banqueting House became a Chapel Royal until it was restored to its original state in 1829. Interestingly, in the undercroft, there is a design for the decorations that were to be used during the secular wedding of Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson which was to take place here, had Edward not decided in the end for abdication in 1936.