Queen of America

Queen of America

Here is a glittering portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn - that you can see at the National Portrait Gallery. Elizabeth I lived from 1533-1603 and reigned from 1558-1603.  This portrait was by an unknown English artist in c.1600 and is known as 'The Coronation portrait' - because [...]

Where 007 was created

Where 007 was created

This is one of a collection of buildings in Whitehall that was the centre of British naval power from the mid-1700's to the 1960's.   It is officially called the Admiralty Extension, and is on Horse Guards.  Completed in 1904, it was the workplace of Ian Flemming; creator of James Bond (and Chitty Chitty Bang [...]

How to visit Buckingham Palace all year round

How to visit Buckingham Palace all year round

Think you can only visit the interior of Buckingham Palace during the summer months?   In fact you can visit The Queen's Gallery all year round.  It may not have the magnificence of the State Rooms, but it's actually inside the Palace and shows artworks from the Queen's vast 'Royal Collection'.  It's a privately owned collection; [...]

Spencer House

Spencer House

We took a tour last week of Spencer House in central London.   Spencer House was built by John Spencer, 1st Earl Spencer; an ancestor of Princess Diana!   The family still own the freehold, but the meticulous refurbishment is down to Jacob, Lord Rothschild, of the banking dynasty, undertaken during the 1980’s.   It's a Palladian villa [...]

Somerset House

Somerset House

The courtyard of Somerset House was originally a lawn leading to a Renaissance palace and a catholic chapel by the river.  The original Somerset House was built by the Duke of Somerset (protector to Edward 6th) on this land and subsequently used by the Danish Queen of James I.  It was replaced by today's glorious [...]