Though still nominally the headquarters of the British monarchy, since ambassadors are accredited to the court there, is not well known and has been much patched. Originally it was the leper hospital of St James's. Henry VIII purchased the property, still in the fields outside London, in 1532 and began building round four courtyards. The basic pattern is still red‐brick Tudor. The palace was greatly used after the Restoration, since Greenwich had been given up and Whitehall was burned in 1698. The ‘warming‐pan baby’, later to become the old pretender, was born there in June 1688, when the palace was the residence of James II's wife Mary of Modena. Gradually Buckingham palace replaced it for most state occasions, and St James's is now used only occasionally for grand receptions.
Subjects: British History.