James II succeeds Charles II

Previous page: Old Vauxhall

Whitehall during the reign of this pleasure loving king was the constant scene of revelry and open gambling and general dissoluteness. No wonder that grave and discreet people like Evelyn shook their heads at all this misgovernment and the bad example set by the Court.

In the very midst of it all Charles was stricken with apoplexy, and to quote the words of Evelyn, who the Sunday before had witnessed the scene of inexpressible luxury in that glorious gallery at Whitehall, the tables heaped with gold, and the King surrounded by shameless women, the Clevelands, Portmouths, and Mazarins "six days after all was in the dust."

On the accession of James II., Whitehall was still the favourite palace, for the visits of the Court to Windsor and Hampton Court were but of short duration. Outwardly the face of the whole Court became more solemn and decorous; the new queen, Mary Beatrix of Modena, was of a more commanding appearance and statelier manner than Catherine of Braganza.

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