During 1529, the mansion belonging to Cardinal Wolsey was taken over by King Henry VIII to create the "...biggest palace in Christendom". King James I commissioned the architect Indigo Jones to construct the banqueting house, which was completed by 1622. This house was not only used for banquets, but also for royal receptions, ceremonies, and masques ( courtly entertainments consisting of music, dancing, singing, and acting on elaborate stage designs). Jones has been greatly influenced by the classic buildings of Italy. Seven years later, Charles I, son of James I, asked the Flemish painter Peter Paul Reubens, who also served as an ambassador, to paint the ceiling as a celebration of the wise rule of James I. He was paid the princely sum of 3000 British Pounds for his efforts. Most of Henry VIII's palace was destroyed in two fires I. 1691 and again in 1698. The only piece remaining was the banqueting hall which was unscathed. Today, this beautiful hall is open to the public for tours.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.