1. The Armada Portrait
The iconic Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I commemorates the most famous conflict of her reign – the failed invasion of England by the Spanish Armada in summer 1588.
In 2020 visitors can see the Woburn Abbey Armada portrait join the Royal Museums Greenwich version.
2. Woburn Treasures
An historic collaboration between Woburn Abbey and Royal Museums Greenwich sees works from the renowned Woburn Abbey art collection come to the Queen’s House.
Featuring works by artists including Canaletto, Rembrandt and Gainsborough, the paintings and objects from Woburn Abbey will hang alongside significant pieces from the Royal Museums Greenwich collection. Wander the Queen's House and discover the works for yourself, or join a special guided tour.
3. The Tulip Stairs
The iconic Tulip Stairs are not only insta-ready, they’re the first of their kind. The first geometric self-supporting spiral staircase, they are the jewel in the Queen’s House architectural crown.
Thought to be named after the ‘tulips’ depicted in the banisters, these flowers are in fact ‘fleur-de-lis’ - the royal arms of France. These would have been chosen by Henrietta Maria of France, the wife of Charles I who oversaw the completion of the Queen’s House in 1636.
4. The Great Hall and ceiling
A perfect cube, the Great Hall is situated at the heart of the Queen’s House. With its patterned marble floor framed by balconies above, it is a true architectural wonder.
Originally the ceiling above the Great Hall was decorated with a series of nine paintings by Orazio Gentileschi. However, they were gifted by Queen Anne to her favourite Sarah Churchill, and now reside at Marlborough House.
When the Queen's House was reopened in 2016, the space revealed its newest jewel: a delicate gold leaf ceiling fresco designed by Turner Prize-winning artist Richard Wright. A fitting 21st addition to an historic building.
5. The painted ceiling in the Queen's Presence Chamber
Once Henrietta Maria’s bedroom and now home to the Armada Portrait, the Queen’s Presence Chamber is a room with a rich history. No one knows who painted the central ceiling panel or when it was installed, but we do know that it is called Aurora dispersing the shades of the night.
In the ceiling you can also see Henrietta Maria and her husband Charles I’s joint coat of arms.
6. View of the Old Royal Naval College and River Thames
When the Old Royal Naval College was being built, Queen Mary stipulated that the new buildings should not block the view of the Thames from the Queen’s House - a request that Sir Christopher Wren fulfilled.
Despite not spending time at the Queen’s House herself, Mary’s decision has defined this stretch of Royal Greenwich, creating one of the most beautiful views of London. While this side of the river has altered little since the 18th century, the view across the Thames has changed radically, not least with the building and development of Canary Wharf.
8. Discover royal history
It’s called Royal Greenwich for a reason! Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and Mary were all born in Greenwich, and Henry VIII had two of his weddings here.
Anne of Denmark and Henrietta Maria were key to the building of the Queen’s House, and Henrietta Maria helped to develop the court culture that the House was renowned for.
Stand where they stood, and learn about the history of the house on one of our guided tours.