Greenwich has long held an important significance for the monarchy. Beneath the site of the Old Royal Naval College are the foundations of one of the largest and most important Tudor palaces in England.

The site was occupied in the 1420s by Bella Court, a manor house owned by the powerful nobleman Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, brother of Henry V.

Later, the equally influential Queen Margaret of Anjou - wife of Henry VI - extended the manor to create the lavish Palace of Placentia (or Pleasaunce). Henry VII, having taken the throne and ended the Wars of the Roses, extended the palace into Greenwich Palace, and it was here that Henry VIII was born in 1491.

Henry VIII, who thrived on lavish displays of wealth and power, would make the palace the centre of courtly life. You can learn about the exploits of Henry, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I here.

During the English Civil War, however, the palace fell into disrepair, and most of the buildings were subsequently demolished: today only their foundations exist, buried beneath Grand Square.

You can learn more about the early history of Greenwich Palace, as well as visiting the buildings that followed it, by visiting! Today the Old Royal Naval College is open to the public and home of three unique and free to visit attractions; the Painted Hall, the Chapel, and the Visitor Centre, where archaeological artifacts from the old Palace are on display. 

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