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An Execution and A Revolution: Charles I at the Banqueting House

Posted on 10/09/2012
Charles I

The last moments of Charles I's life will be brought alive in the very building where he was executed during a special interpretation event organised by an student from Royal Holloway, University of London.

Kerri Young, an MA Public History student, is holding a live interpretation event on Sunday 16 September at Banqueting House, Whitehall. The event will offer the chance for visitors to learn about history where it happened and meet Charles I, as he recounts the events leading up to his untimely end upon the scaffold on January 30, 1649. Charles and his Parliamentarian guard will lead visitors around the Banqueting House, illustrating the revolutionary nature of the English Civil War and the people who sought to forever change the relationship between ruler and subjects.

The project is part of Kerri’s final project that will be assessed as part of her MA Public History course. Kerri explains: “I especially love museums and heritage sites; since coming to the UK, I have discovered all the innovative ways that such places are bringing history to life in engaging ways. Costumed interpretation is a favourite of mine; we don't have much of it on the US West Coast where I'm from, so I found this a great opportunity to take on something new and challenging.” 

Kerri partnered with Historic Royal Palaces (HRP), choosing the Banqueting House because it is the only one of the five HRP locations without a live interpretation program.

“In a way, my project is an experiment to see if an HRP-style costumed interpretation can work within a smaller and less-often visited historical site. Nevertheless, the Banqueting House has a fascinating history, for it was the site of Charles I execution in 1649. It was the first time a people put their monarch on trial and subsequently executed him for treason. I have always found this era of English history fascinating; it was 17th century England when the relationship between a monarch and his subjects forever changed, and new demands for the freedom of speech and natural rights for the less-privileged first emerged in public.”

An Execution and A Revolution: Charles I at the Banqueting House will be held at Banqueting House, Whitehall, on Sunday 16 September from 11.30am, with tours on the hour until 3.30pm.


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