St James’s is an exclusive area of London that just oozes in history! From its connection to Royalty and the aristocracy since the reign of King Henry VIII, to its more recent reputation as a media hub, there’s always something going on in St James’s.
From murders and affairs to bankruptcy and political intrigue, there’s something scandalous for everyone in St James’s. So, put on your best walking shoes and get ready to uncover the secrets of this scandalous neighbourhood.
But what makes it so special? Let us take you on a walking tour of this scandalous area, and uncover some of its best-kept secrets!
Just down the road from Buckingham Palace is Green Park, where in 1649 King Charles I was executed for treason. On the other side of Clarence House is St James’s Palace, which has been at the centre of many scandals over the years. In 1788, it was rumoured that Queen Caroline had an affair with her Italian chambermaid Maria Giovanna Gabrielli. The case caused such a scandal that it led to Queen Caroline being banned from court.
One of the most famous scandals to come out of St James’s was the affair between King Charles II and Nell Gwynn. Nell was an actress who became the king’s mistress, and their relationship caused quite a stir at court. In 1668, rumours began to circulate that Nell was pregnant with Charles’ child. To quash these rumours, Charles had his brother, the Duke of York, publicly acknowledge Nell as his own mistress. This did little to stop the gossip, and eventually, Nell gave birth to Charles’ illegitimate son, Charles Beauclerk.
While Charles’ affair with Nell was one of the most high-profile scandals to come out of St James’s, it wasn’t the only one. In 1679, Parliament impeached Earl Danby after he was caught trying to bribe members of Parliament. This led to a power struggle between Danby and Parliament that ultimately ended with Danby being imprisoned in the Tower of London.
More recently, in 2010, Lord Ashcroft revealed in his memoir that he had paid £1 million to save Buckingham Palace from bankruptcy. In 2008, it was revealed that Buckingham Palace had amassed debts of £32 million due to years of neglect by successive administrations. Thankfully, Lord Ashcroft came to the rescue and saved one of Britain’s most iconic buildings from ruin.
These are just some of the scandals that have happened in St James’s! As we walk around this historic neighbourhood, we’ll uncover even more secrets and scandals that have shaped its rich history.
Whether you’re interested in Royal scandals or political intrigue, there’s sure to be something for everyone on this tour of St James’s. So put on your walking shoes and get ready to uncover the secrets behind some of London’s most famous scandals.
Uncover the Secrets of St James’s on this scandalous walking tour.