Ten things you should know about the Queen’s House

Key facts about the history and uses of the Queen’s House Greenwich, designed by Inigo Jones and the first Classical building in England.

It's inspired by Italy  

The famous English architect Inigo Jones designed the Queen’s House, inspired by his travels in Italy. It is widely known as the first Classical building in England.

Inigo Jones used a lot of symmetry and proportion in his design, which is reflected in the perfect cube of the Great Hall. 

He also worked on the outfits for many of the masques that took place in the Queen's House. 

 More about Inigo Jones

Inigo Jones portrait by William Hogarth 1757-1758

It's an apology

The Queen’s House was commissioned by James I’s wife Anne of Denmark. She had reportedly been given the manor of Greenwich after he swore in front of her when she accidentally killed his favourite hunting dog. 

More about Greenwich and the royal connection

Anne missed out

Anne of Denmark never got to see her vision for the house fulfilled – she died in 1619, before the ground floor was completed. After her death building work on the house stopped. 

Anne of Denmark

Henrietta saw it through 

It was under the direction of Charles I’s wife, Henrietta Maria, that the building was finally finished, around 1638.

It's still got its original design 

Inigo Jones’s original design features can still be seen in the Great Hall, which is a perfect cube in shape, and the Tulip Stairs, as well as the distinctive marble flooring with its black and white, geometric pattern. 

More about the Great Hall and Tulip Stairs


It was sold off (in part)

The English Civil War saw Henrietta Maria flee the country in 1643 and when her husband Charles I was executed in 1649, his estate – including artworks in the Queen’s House – was sold off.

Charles had it extended

Charles II took an interest in Greenwich and the Queen’s House, extending the building, and renovating what became known as the Queen’s Presence Chamber. More about the Queen's Presence Chamber

It's got a good view

Queen Mary asked that the Royal Naval College not block the view from the Queen’s House to the Thames, a request taken into account by Sir Christopher Wren’s design for the building. 

It's an art gallery 

The Queen’s House is now home to a collection of great artworks, including paintings by William Hodges, George Stubbs, Hans Holbein, William Hogarth and Thomas Gainsborough. There's also a large collection of work by Dutch maritime artists the Van de Veldes, who had a studio here for 20 years, starting in the 1670s. More about our outstanding fine art collection

It's haunted

The house is famously thought to be haunted, after visiting tourists from Canada had their photographs developed and saw what appears to be a ghost (or ghosts) on the Tulip Stairs. More about the Queen's House ghost