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Palace of Placentia
The Palace of Placentia was an English Royal Palace built by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester in 1428, in Greenwich, London on the banks of the River Thames. The Palace was demolished and replaced with the Greenwich Hospital in the late 17th century.
Duke Humprey was Regent during the rule of Henry VI, and built the palace under the name Bella Court. In 1447, Humphrey fell out of favour with the new queen, Margaret of Anjou, and was arrested for high treason. He died in prison - Shakespeare says he was murdered - and Margaret took over Bella Court, renaming it the Palace of Placentia, sometimes written as the Palace of Pleasaunce.
The Palace remained the principal Royal palace for the next two centuries. It was the birth-place of King Henry VIII in 1491, and figured heavily in his life. Following his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, Placentia was the birth-place of Queen Mary Tudor (later Queen Mary I) in February 1516. After his marriage to Anne Boleyn, his daughter, later Queen Elizabeth I, was born at Placentia in 1533, and he married Anne of Cleves there in 1540. A tree in Greenwich Park is known as Queen Elizabeth's Oak, in which she is reputed to have played as a child.
Both Mary and Elizabeth lived at Placentia for some years during the 16th century, but during the reigns of James I and Charles I, the Queen's House was erected to the south of the Palace. Placentia fell into disrepair during the English Civil War, serving time as a biscuit factory and a prisoner-of-war camp. In 1660, Charles II decided to rebuild the Palace, engaging John Webb as the architect, but the only section of the Palace to be completed was the east range of the present King Charles Block. The rest of the palace was demolished, and the site remained empty until construction of the Greenwich Hospital began in the late 17th century.
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