Who knew that King James – he of the bible and the gunpowder plot had a much more colourful alter-ego?
Nicknamed “Queen James” by his contemporaries, he was renowned for a succession of male favourites who wielded their influence in both the political arena and the bedchamber… To celebrate this often overlooked monarch, the glorious Banqueting House hosted an adults only evening of drama, drinking and discovery.
Beneath the spectacular Rubens ceiling, the evening featured talks and demonstrations on a range of colourful subjects. How the Stuarts used make-up to blur the boundaries between the sexes; cross-dressing crazes: early feminism and historic ideas of homosexuality. The evening also featured a specially devised collaboration between playwright Mark Ravenhill and performance artist Scottee, inspired by intimate letters between James I and his rakish favourite the Duck of Buckingham. Quite an eye opener!
Whilst all this was taking place upstairs, The Undercroft reverted back to its former function of James I’s drinking den with a pop up Zafferano licensed bar serving flamboyant cocktails and frivolous nibbles.
The event was part of #PalacePride event series, celebrating “1000 years of Kings, Queens and In-betweens” in 2017, the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act 1967.
The next event in the season is in May with LGBT+ tours of the Tower of London