Like all four-hundred-year-old sites, the Queen’s House has had a complicated history. As a public institution, we are committed to sharing stories that are often overlooked or hidden. In honour of LGBT History Month, we wanted to share two of these stories.
By Zoe Mercer-Golden, Assistant Curator
The language friends used to address each other and how people engaged with each other physically in public has changed over time.
The role of the Queen’s House
The Queen’s House was commissioned by Anne of Denmark, the wife of James I, who was gifted the land. It was an apology from the king for swearing at her after she accidentally shot one of his hunting dogs. Anne hired Inigo Jones to design the Queen's House. Jones was an English architect who had spent time in Italy. During is travels there he became interested in classical architecture.
James I 1566-1625
Two other men are frequently linked to James as potential long-term romantic and sexual partners. Robert Carr, for whom James created the Earl of Somerset, and George Villiers, who James made the Duke of Buckingham. The King and Somerset had a very public falling-out over a scandal that erupted over Somerset’s marriage. Buckingham remained loyal to James until James’ death. Both men and their relationships with James were the subject of gossip, poetry, and prose during James’ lifetime and after.
Later queens in the Queen’s House
The Queen’s House was later completed for Henrietta Maria, the wife of Charles I (son of James I). It remained largely in the hands of the women of the royal family for the next century. Henrietta Maria became an important patron of the arts. She commissioned works for the royal collection as well decorating royal residences, including the Queen’s House. Orazio Gentileschi produced a notable set of panels for the ceiling of the Queen’s House.
Queen Anne 1665-1714
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