Queen’s House

    The Queen’s House, Greenwich, London
    The Queen’s House in Greenwich, London. Credit: National Maritime Museum
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    A king’s temper resulted in one of London’s finest royal residences

    Next time you utter a swear word in frustration, spare a thought for King James I. Legend has it that he was so distraught after cussing in front of his wife, Anne of Denmark, that he commissioned Inigo Jones to build this classical mansion as a gift to say sorry. A box of chocolates and some gas station flowers, this is not.

    Anne died in 1619 before the house was completed, yet four centuries on it stands as a remarkable piece of Italian-inspired building design. Look out in particular for the cube-shaped Great Hall and the floral bannister of the spiralling Tulip Stairs.

    The latter was also the setting for a famous photo taken by Canadian tourists Rev and Mrs R W Hardy in 1966. When the film was developed, the picture appeared to confirm a ghostly presence in the Queen’s House. Could it be that Anne herself has been returning to haunt any foul-mouthed guests visiting her house?

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