Horse Guards, Whitehall, London, SW1. Photo © Roger Dean 2011
On 30th January 1649, at the end of the English Civil War, Charles I bid goodbye to his children in St James’s Palace and was escorted to the Banqueting House, where a scaffold stage had been erected for his execution, 59 Parliamentarians having signed his death warrant. The day was bitterly cold and he wore two shirts in order to avoid shivering lest the onlookers should mistake the action for that of fear. He also drank a glass of claret to stave off fainting.
The two faces of the clock on Horse Guards have a small black mark behind the two o’clock that is said to mark the time that the executioners axe fell. R.D.