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Charles Rex

Guidebook: Residences & Offices

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King's Apartments

 

The King's Apartment or Kings Lodgings was an entire wing of rooms, kitchens and withdrawing rooms that suited many people, and to which all of nobility had access. It was also, ironically, the Kings most private place. To guard what little was left of that Charles Rex had ordered that none may enter past the Presence room without his personal permission, save for those he considered family. Even the Life Guard on duty is only allowed into the anteroom just inside from the Presence chamber, leaving the King some modicum of privacy and peace in most of his apartments. The more inner rooms are attended by ushers, grooms, and gentlemen of the household, equally for the King's security, company, and service.

 

Well appointed, the ceilings covered in symbolic paintings by various Baroque painters (though not so well endowed as Windsor Castle had been) signalled that Charles was lord and master of his realm, Justice incarnate, subjecting Rebellion. In fact, most of his rooms were still in the style of his father, featuring Charles I and James I.

 

This is your entry point for:

  • King's Presence Room
    • The Kings Presence Room was the first room of the Kings Apartments, and open to all those of the gentry and even well respected merchants. Built in Tudor style the room had a vaulted ceiling and lovely Gothic windows. More modern paintings by Lely among others graced the wall. The room easily held over 50 gathering courtiers and seating, lovely plum coloured chairs and couches provided for their ease. Here one waited, hopeful to catch a glimpse of the King. To guard what little was left of his privacy, Charles Rex had ordered that none may enter past the Presence room without his personal permission, save for those he considered family.

    [*]King's Drawing Room

    • The Kings Drawing Room, just beyond the Presence Chamber, was also sometimes referred to as audience room or even throne room. The only chair in the room was put on a levee with a large burgundy canopy around it. Chairs could be provided for the princes of the realm, but save for the elderly and the pregnant all were supposed to stand in the Kings Presence.
       
      This is where private audiences were held, hidden from public view. The reception of Ambassadors and other official happenings were more likely to take place in the Banqueting House.

    [*]King's Bedroom

    • The first thing one noticed entering the large decorative room was not the grand bed with its purple curtains, but the amount of golden clocks, ticking away. Then the ceiling drew the eye, showing a classical scene of Charles II regnant as Justice over England with lots of cherubs as decoration to the scene. A painting of his father, King Charles I, as well as portraits of of his dead siblings and mother gave the room a slightly austere look. Less so did the collection of purple cushions on the ground, which were clearly for use of the various spaniels that wagged their tails at any newcomers, crouching near the fire place.

    [*]King's Closet

    • The Kings Closet, also known as the Kings Laboratory, was filled with clocks and various devices that hinted at the scientific interest of the owner. It looked out over the Volary Garden. Here Charles Rex was truly at home, withdrawn from the public. Nobody had access unless given express permission from the King. Save of course his brother, his cousins and his mistresses, who walked in on him with a certain air of familiarity not otherwise displayed.

 

And an alternate entrance might be:

  • King's Back Stairs
    • The marble stairs at the back of the Kings Apartment, accessible by water and through a small passage from the Whalebone Court, were frequently visited, but mostly at night, when one or more ladies were rushed inside to attend on the King. The door was invariably guarded by the Kings personal manservant and a set of Life Guards. Green vines curled around a lantern that lightened the way of the rushed footsteps of the ladies.
       
      A small corridor gave direct access to the Kings Bedroom.

    [*]Secret Passageways

 

People with lodgings here:

  • The Duke of Monmouth

 

Exit to:

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Duke of Cumberland

 

Prince Rupert resided, while in London, in a collection of well appointed rooms that carried a theme of Rhenish design, which created a rather interesting contrast to the bold Gothic architecture, for this was one of the older parts of the palace. The Duke held only modest accommodations at Whitehall, his main residence being at Windsor Castle. His common law wife Peg Hughes also resided here during the season.

 

Upon entrance the visitor would note the rose wood and the many roses about the room. The rest of the interior basked in masculinity, military shields, banners and rifles, collections of weapons simply everywhere. The visitor would await the Duke's pleasure in the receiving room, where the deeper part of the apartment revealed a study, a drawing room for ladies and two bedrooms as well as rooms for servants.

 

Entry point to:

  • Duke of Cumberland's Private Sitting Room
    • The room was large, open and surprisingly bright, lit by floor-to-ceiling windows along the far wall, the draperies of which had been pulled as far back as they might. The walls were panelled in vibrantly embroidered Chinese silks, trimmed with wide, rich, dark walnut, as though each panel were a work of art. Art from various far-away lands dotted the room, each a precious piece with personal value to the apartments’ occupant. Might there be the hand of a woman in the décor? Perhaps, but it somehow retained the masculinity and personality of the Duke.

 

Exit to:

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The Prince's Lodging

 

The Duke of York's lodgings comprised the suite known as "the Prince's Lodgings." It is a great set of rooms, an entire wing of Whitehall Palace, compromising bedrooms, drawing rooms, kitchens and other spaces.

 

Visitors are guided into a small waiting room, where a statue of the lady Mary looks down upon all that enter. Upon indication of the recipient of the visit one is then guided to the right room.

 

People lodging with the Prince:

  • The Duchess of York, Mary of Modena
  • Lady Mary, daughter
  • Lady Anne, daughter
  • Lady Athersone, mistress
  • Mulgrave, cousin, and wife
  • Middlesex, cousin

 

Exits to:

  • Volary Garden
  • King's Apartments
  • Privy Stairs
    • Built in 1530, the Privy Stairs to the Thames was a private landing place for any travel of the royals over water, though often nobles could beg to make use of it. The platform carried the Kings Arms and was made of wood, while the brick stairs lead up to the Kings Apartment, right towards what was know as the Kings Back Stairs, while to the side was the Shield Gallery which provided an excellent viewing point to see the goings on at the Privy Stairs. It often was the scene of pleasure and recreation, with larger and smaller boats being rowed over the Thames, and the King using it as a waterway to get discreetly towards some of his mistress outside the palace.

    [*]Secret Passageways

 

The O'Roarke Apartment

 

The newly decorated apartment of the Countess O'Roarke was made to the latest Italian design, sparing no expense. The panelling in the large receiving room was walnut to about hip height, and then contained freshly painted vista's on cloth, depicting the environment of Chelsea, including some of the newly created garden of the Countess, something that relied entirely on the imagination of the painter for they had never been in full bloom before. The Atherstone Thermea and the O'Roarke amphitheatre displayed the themes of libertarianism and artistic talent.

 

A mirror with gilded frame rested above the large fireplace, in front of which was a large sheepskin. Heather might have preferred a bear or a wolf, but she wanted to beg the Duke to shoot one for her and so had made do. Next to the fire place a chaisseze lounge and two comfortable leather armchairs and a small side table.

 

To the opposite wall the Lion Commode demanded attention, resting on lion's feet, and inlaid with mother of pearl and carved fruits and flowers. Upon the commode stood a vase with fresh flowers.

 

Next to the receiving room was a modest private dining room, the cutlery of silver, the goblets of crystal and using pottery from the Somerset China factory. Here too painted panelling, but this time with more exotic themes, depictions of travels through the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, even the Far East, the sight of which the painters had never seen. A large crystal chandelier above the well decorated walnut table that seated 8 lit up the diningroom prettily, reflected in several mirrors that gave the room a grand feel.

 

A tiny door led to the library, the smallest room of the apartment and doubling as a study. This was a private place, storing the most beloved books and plays, and tiny bric-a-brac the countess had brought from Venice such as the decorative masks that hung from the wall.

 

All three the rooms had an exit to the sumptuous bedroom, with its large four poster bed. Decorated in cream and light green, with little cupids on the ceiling dancing over the clouds. On the wall opposite the bed hung a copy of the painting that had been gifted to the Royal Theatre, showing the three Godiva's, with only the redheaded inhabitant of the apartments looking straight out at the onlookers, proud, defiant, confident. A Florentine cabinet and a walk-in closet contained her clothing, while a dressing table held a spread of lady like necessities and a large gilded mirror.

 

Earl of Mulgraves Apartment

 

Once a bachelor's domain, the chambers of the Earl of Mulgrave and his wife were obviously touched with a feminine hand. The dark, utilitarian furniture favoured by the Earl was adjusted, not overly changed by his wife's hand. More colourful pillows graced the settee done in a hunter green. Lace doilies dotted table tops that were anchored by floral displays set in blue on white vases. Chairs meant solely for a man's comfort were replaced, one by one, with more delicate seating that was more pleasant to the eye, though one overstuffed leather chair remained by the fireplace. It clashed with the more feminine décor, but it remained. Curtains of forest green and cream graced the windows, allowing in the Southern light, though the windows mostly remained closed as it faced the Thames and the aroma that wafted up on some days could drown out the fresh flowers. There was a lady's writing desk as well as a gentleman's, so that both could keep up with their correspondence. There was also a fully stocked bar, though brandy seemed to be needed more often restocked than other beverages.

 

Off the right of the parlour was Lord Mulgrave's room. It was done in dark panelling and wood. The match of the leather chair in the parlour resided in this chamber. The closet was large and held quite a bit more that just clothing. Several 'sentimental' items from the Earl's bachelor days resided here, including books that he'd rather his wife not find. The bed was large and four posted, its curtains done in a navy blue. Only the required number of pillows graced it. Some how, one of the vases from the parlour had ended up on his bed table. He had them removed every night, yet somehow a fresh one appeared by the time he returned to his rooms later in the day.

 

Connected via a door closer to the entrance to the room, was Lady Mulgrave's chambers. It was quite a difference between the bedrooms. Mary's room was done in much more feminine colours. Rose and cream, with green ivy giving contrast to the bed spread, curtains and upholstery. A delicate netting topped Mary's four posts, though a heavier curtain was available for cooler nights. Her closet was full of all the fripperies that a lady might need, as well as squeezing in two cots for her maids.

 

A third bedroom, off on the right side of the parlour, currently was unoccupied, though a cradle may have been snuck in after one of Lady Mulgrave's shopping trips. There is also one of the old couches that used to reside in the parlour, one that matches the leather chairs that are mostly hidden from sight.

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The Queen's Suite

 

The Queen’s Suite occupies an entire wing of the palace, including drawing rooms, parlous, and office. Having been prepared for the Queen Karoline, the colour scheme of the suite relieves heavily on warm reds and rich gold and wooden tones, the furniture solid and the decorations and gilding elegant and sensible, lacking unnecessary frills.

 

This is your entry point for:

  • Queen's Presence Room
    • The Queen’s Presence Room mirrored that of the King’s, in that it was open to all gentry and wealthy merchants. It was a spacious room, able to seat 40, but a welcoming one, decorated in warm red that was nicely accented by the ivory upholstery of the seats and decorative gilding. The central focus of the room was an elevated couch, reserved for the Queen, with a scattering of chairs near it as well as other groupings of seats settled around the room for attending courtiers. 

      The rounded tables and cupboards around the desk held bouquets of flowers as well as busts of various historical figures – Aristotle, Copernicus, Julius Caesar, Sappho, Dido and others. Leading further from the room were two doors on the far side of the room. The door to the left would take one to the Queen’s Drawing room and the one on the right to the Queen’s private parlour that guarded the entrance to the Queen’s bedroom and closet.

      On one of the walls, between the mirrors, hangs an oil painting of a pine tree grove, the signature on the painting naming the author as the Earl of Chilchester, George Hardwick III

    [*]Queen's Drawing Room

    • The Queen’s Drawing Room was where the queen met with courtiers and different ministers in a more private setting. The striking burgundy and nutmeg colourscheme and the heavy draping curtains served to further underline the stately importance of the room.
       
      The central focus of the room was an elegant walnut writing bureau, topped by a masterful copper-worked musical clockwork portraying a carousel featuring two copper and elobarately enamel worked armoured knights bearing small cloth banners of England and Pfalz as they follow each other round the carousel to the melody of a Germanic lullaby.
       
      Behind the desk was a chair, the back of it topped by a golden crown, for the queen to sit on.

    [*]Queen's Bedroom

    • After a small private parlour, open for the Queen and her ladies in waiting to relax in away from the immediate sight of the court, was a small room that guarded entry to the Queen’s bedroom.
       
      The Queen’s bedroom was a serene room for relaxation, the room upkeeping the predominantly red colourscheme by the delicate flower motive on the walls. The unsurprising central point of the room is a grand bed with heavy drapes that allow the queen some privacy while she rests. A door to the far right led to the Queen’s dressing room and closet.

 

People with lodgings here:

  • Lord & Lady Mountjoy (Master of the Horse & Mistress of the Robes)
  • Mistress Wellsley (Maid of Honor to the Queen)
  • Lady Susan Herbert (Maid of Honor the Queen)
  • Lady Lucille Seymour, Duchess of Somerset (Lady in Waiting)

 

The Apartments of Lord and Lady Mountjoy, Whitehall

As the Queen’s Master of Horse and Mistress of the Robes, Lord and Lady Mountjoy enjoy a set of rooms close to the Queen’s private quarters. Their suite consists of a central receiving room decorated in reds and gold with a grand marble fireplace around which a settee and some stylish, if ponderous, gilt chairs are clustered. There is an alcove which serves as a small dining area in the event guests are invited to dine.

Ursula has a sitting room and Boudoir decorated with a creme wallpaper upon which is a cheery floral pattern of English roses. The furniture is gilt with velvet upholstery in powder blue and dusty yellow.  Colourful porcelain bric-a-bracs and silver and cut glass candle-holders brighten the room.  A Turkish carpet in a light floral pattern and bed hung with bright gauze and cotton bedclothes give the room a feminine aura of a garden on a summer’s day. The Boudoir connects directly with the Queen’s apartments.

Charles makes due with a small study and bedchamber opposite Ursula’s rooms decorated in a more masculine décor of dark wood and leather. The Study is dominated by a heavy oak desk and bookcases overflowing with all manner and subject of tomes indicating its occupant’s literary interests. There is a bow window where a small carved wooden table (often set with a chess board) and two upholstered leather chairs are set upon a bear skinned rug. If anyone were to inquire about the rug the owner would gladly explain the circumstances involved in hunting the creature. The Bedchamber is paneled in dark oak and embossed leather brightened by lamps set in polished brass scones about the wall. The bed, another heavy carved wooden piece is hung with bedclothes in earthy tones giving the room the character of a woodland glade.

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Offices

Situated just below the Privy Gallery, a collection of ministers and lower ranked officials. Save those military appointments which can be found in the Knightsbridge's Barracks. The Hallways were filled with pages and clerks running to and fro.

 

This is your entry point for:

  • Office of the Exchequer
    • Actually a set of offices, including the Office of the Lord High Treasurer, this busy main room held desks for several clerks and then a private office for Sir John Ernle, Chancellor of the Exchequer. Windows along one wall gave much needed light for those working over ledgers for long hours. The room itself was scarcely decorated, the walls panelled and then whitewashed for maximum light. Portraits of notable past Lords of the Exchequer were all that decorated the otherwise bland walls. Three doors let off from this main chamber: two to the left and one to the right.
       
      There was, notably, nowhere for a visitor to sit.

    [*]Office of the Lord High Treasurer

    • The office currently belonging to the Earl of Danby was accessed through the door to the right of the main Office of the Exchequer. It was far more lavishly decorated in comparison, with rich red and cream curtains and upholstery, and dark oak furniture. It was not a large room, but it was certainly well appointed, and reflected Danby's high place in the King's favour.

    [*]Office of the Treasurer of the Royal Household

    [*]Office of the Lord Chamberlain

    • The outer room hosted a small desk at which there sat a rather pale young man. The room was done in royal blue, simple yet elegant. Upon looking around for a seat, one would find only a settee and two chairs besides the young man and the desk.
       
      The inner chamber, belonging to the Earl of Arlington contained a small mahogany writing desk, which sat in the centre of the small, but well-decorated office.

    [*]Office of the Lord Chancellor

    • The office of one of the most influential and well respected ministers in the entire Kingdom, Lord Chancellor Finch, Lord Daventry, was affluently appointed. After passing a receiving room with a clerk, one would be guided to a finely decorated room, large post-restoration oil paintings hung upon the walls and an entire wall of bookcases. There was of course the large oaken desk with some chairs, but also a little gathering of comfortable chairs near the fireplace where one could withdraw and discuss politics.

    [*]Office of the Northern Secretary

    • The office of the Northern Secretary was an opulent one, as it was in the practice of receiving ambassadors and envoys. Two liveried servants stood at attention within, so as to run errands that might be necessary.
       
      A large desk dominated the antechamber, flanked by two alcoves with comfortable padded chairs for guests. The walls were covered with paintings in gold gilded frames. Hand-carved double doors were closed behind the clerk, depicting scenes of English triumph in its history.

    [*]Office of the Privy Purse

    • The proximity of the office to the King’s rooms is notable, although such a coveted location comes with two drawbacks for the office isn’t very spacious and lacks windows. To make the office appear larger than it really is the walls are a pale green and there’s a red carpet on the floor, all the seats also covered with a matching shade of red cloth.
       
      A writing desk has been settled against one wall with a chair before it; a chair for the visitors settled sideways next to the table so that the visitor could keep eye contact with the man sitting behind the table. There’s a painting of a poppy field hanging on the wall above the desk and a selection of fine quills and sheaves of paper on the table.
       
      The opposing wall supports a cabinet with numerous drawers, some of which can be locked to assure the privacy of the documents kept within; and a bookshelf with an eclectic choice of reading material from the finest philosophers of the time to some pattern books to a couple of biographies to works of Machiavelli. Against the third wall is a settee that can accommodate two people.

    [*]Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland

    • Inside the antechamber of the office sat a heavyset clerk, dressed finely as one of the gentry might. The clerk, one Aaron McAndrews by name, was a member of the gentry himself, holding the position of secretary to the Secretary. As such, he was more officious than most. His master was a tyrant and it bred small tyrannies.
       
      There was also a younger clerk at a smallish desk nearby.
       
      The Duke of Lauderdale saw whom he chose, and only whom he chose. Without an appointment, there was no hope of gaining entry to the duke himself. Those who gained admittance would find the duke seated behind a small elegant writing desk, in a small, but well-decorated office.

    [*]Office of the Lord High Admiral

  • [*]Office of the Solicitor General

    • The Solicitor General’s office is located in a small auxiliary hall separated by a wooden railing where black coated clerks scamper about shuffling papers between numerous writing desks and file cabinets. There is a hard wooden bench for petitioners to sit as they wait. 

      The private office of the Solicitor General is a narrow but long room tastefully appointed and dominated by a large window opposite the door that bathes the room in a soft light. In front of the window sits a desk, a vast mahogany affair with intricately carved panels and a matching high-backed chair. The desktop is very neat and covered in green leather with two orderly piles of documents in carved wooden trays one marked ’Exspecto’ and the other ’Perfectus’   which translates from Latin into waiting andDone. behind the desk jutting out from the window sill is a sun dial allowing for an approximation of passing time whilst gazing out to the quad below.

      A state portrait of Charles II hangs above a small marble fireplace in front of which sits a Turkish carpet and a couple of upholstered chairs creating a sitting area where points of law may be discussed. Several carved mahogany bookcases and multi-drawer cabinets with tiny locks share the opposite wall along with a painting of the quadrangle of Christ Church Collage. Off to the side is a book-stand upon which sits a leather-bound tome entitled A History of Land Transfers in the County of Devonby the Lord Mountjoy.

 

Exits to:

  • Privy Gallery
  • Shield Gallery
  • King's Apartment
  • Prince's Lodgings
  • Privy Stairs
    • Built in 1530, the Privy Stairs to the Thames was a private landing place for any travel of the royals over water, though often nobles could beg to make use of it. The platform carried the Kings Arms and was made of wood, while the brick stairs lead up to the Kings Apartment, right towards what was know as the Kings Back Stairs, while to the side was the Shield Gallery which provided an excellent viewing point to see the goings on at the Privy Stairs. It often was the scene of pleasure and recreation, with larger and smaller boats being rowed over the Thames, and the King using it as a waterway to get discreetly towards some of his mistress outside the palace.

    [*]Privy Garden

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