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This is where the English Parliament executed the King of Great Britain and established a republic in England and Wales. It was also a place of extravagant Jacobean entertainment. Banqueting House is a surviving relic of the great Palace of Whitehall, which was originally the medieval London home of the Archbishops of York and known as York Place. When the once powerful Cardinal Wolsey, Archbishop of York, fell from grace, King Henry VIII grabbed his London home, enlarged it, renamed it Whitehall, and it became a favourite of subsequent Tudor, and Stuart, monarchs. The current, spectacular, Banqueting House (there were predecessors) was designed by Inigo Jones, completed in 1622 and provided a venue for excessive celebration. Underneath it is a vaulted drinking den, used by James I for decadent goings-on. Banqueting House has a breathtaking ceiling, probably commissioned by King Charles I in 1629-30 and the only surviving in-situ ceiling painting by Flemish artist, Sir Peter Paul Rubens. It would have been one of the King's final sights on 30 January 1649, before stepping outside to meet his end on a scaffold that had been specially erected so that everyone could see their king die.
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