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The site of the Old Royal Naval College was once Greenwich Palace (1498–1694). It was the birthplace of the infamous Tudor monarch King Henry VIII and his daughters Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I. Find out more about the Tudors at Greenwich.
What happened to Greenwich Palace?
Despite being one of the most important Tudor residences, the Palace fell into disrepair during the English Civil War, a series of conflicts between Parliamentarians (Roundheads) and Royalists (Cavaliers).
The Civil War lasted almost a decade ending with The Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651. During the Civil War, the Palace was used as a biscuit factory before becoming a prisoner of war camp. It was subsequently demolished, but traces of the old Palace remain.
Following the Civil War, King Charles II drew up ambitious plans for a new palace but as finances and enthusiasm waned only one new wing was built. In 1694 King William III granted it by Royal Warrant as the site for a charitable institution for naval veterans, in accordance with the wishes of his late wife, Queen Mary II. Esteemed architect Sir Christopher Wren was commissioned to build the Royal Hospital for Seamen.
The Tudors at Greenwich Palace
Removed from the hustle and bustle of the city, Greenwich Palace was ideal for Henry VIII. The Palace was the site of some of the more notorious incidents in Henry VIII’s reign.Find out more about the Tudors in Greenwich
See remains of the Palace today
Excavations in 2017 uncovered the remains of two service rooms from the Palace’s Friary buildings and can be viewed beneath the Painted Hall. The lower room features unusual niches thought to be where bee hives were kept during winter.Visit the Painted Hall
Dig deeper into our story
Shortly before her death in 1694, Queen Mary II commissioned the construction of a new charitable institution for the care of retired men who had served in the Royal Navy.Find out more
Royal Naval College
1873 the Naval College in Portsmouth acquired the buildings of the old Royal Hospital for Seamen and the Royal Naval College was born.Find out more