After Elizabeth's death, James, her successor, settled it on Anne of Denmark, and it was here that her royal brother, Christian the Fourth, was lodged on a visit to the English Court.
Although spoken of as the Queen's Palace in the Strand, it was renamed, in honour of the Queen, Denmark House.
Anne added to it, and the palace then consisted of three courts, the largest on the left as we look at it from the River, was on a level with the Strand; to the right of this was a smaller court on a much lower level. Both these courts were surrounded by buildings on all four sides.
Still further to the right was another large court, with the south side open to the garden and a high wall on the east side, so that the buildings round this court only occupied two sides of it.
At the other end of the palace was the' base court, or stable yard, with a number of irregular buildings and sheds round it, where eventually a large chapel was built and other apartments in connection with it-this part was called the Friary.
The chapel, which was probably Inigo Jones' work, was for the accommodation of the rather numerous retinue of Roman priests and chaplains and Capuchin friars, whom the three Queens - Henrietta Maria, Catherine' of Braganza, and Mary Beatrix of Modena-maintained as part of their household.
They had been allowed the free exercise of their religion, a privilege which was at one time grossly abused, for so insolent and overbearing did Queen Henrietta's French retinue become that Charles the First packed them all back to France.
After the Restoration, Henrietta Maria returned, and occupied the house until she finally returned to France. The same intrigues recommenced when it passed into the possession of Catherine of Braganza.
It was a popular belief that the murder of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey took place at Somerset House, but there is not a scrap of evidence to support it. That he was foully murdered and his body placed where it was found is a fact, but by whom is shrouded in mystery.
Catherine removed from Whitehall to Somerset House on the death of Charles, and resided here until she left England to retire to Portugal. Lord Faversham then took care of the house until her death in 1705.
The gardens towards the river were beautifully laid out, with a terrace walk along the river wall, broken in the centre by a very stately stone staircase, adorned with statues of the Thame and Isis. These steps were private; the public stairs, which were very much used and very popular, were at the bottom of Duchy Lane.
Somerset House had been the scene of many state ceremonials. Cromwell's body, vested in regal robes and with a crown, lay here in state prior to its removal for interment in Westminster Abbey.
George, Duke of Albemarle (General Monk), also lay in state here, and was honoured with a magnificent funeral before the final ceremony of burial in Henry the Seventh's Chapel.
The Prince of Orange, afterwards William the Third, was lodged here prior to his marriage with the King's niece, Mary, the eldest daughter of James, Duke of York.
It was curious that another Prince of Orange stayed here also in 1734, when he came for a similar purpose, to marry Ann, Princess Royal, eldest daughter of George the Second.
Although still the residence set apart for queen-dowagers, it was also used for the reception of ambassadors. The Venetian Ambassador, in 1763, was entertained here for several days.
In 1764 the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick was an inmate before his marriage with Augusta, George the Third's eldest sister and mother of the illused Caroline, Queen Consort of George the Fourth.
But long before this, lodgings in Somerset House had been assigned to various poor members of the aristocracy, and it had become a sort of Hampton Court.Next page: The Royal Academy