On Wednesday 10 December the privileged students visited Banqueting House in Westminster, where the story of King Charles I, through his trial, sentencing and execution, was brought to life.
Hannah Underwood, RPA History Teacher, commented: “It was just fantastic, and the students loved it. The teaching staff at Banqueting House, together with the actor who played King Charles I, were wonderful. At RPA we go above and beyond to enrich the education of our students and what better way to bring history to life than examining the English Civil War sites through this unique learning experience. We are extremely grateful to be the first group to have been given this opportunity and I hope that this is something that HRP will be able to offer to many more KS3 students – I would highly recommend it.”
Students had the opportunity to review the evidence on the King of England’s crimes against Parliament. They then worked in groups to consider what questions they might ask their king, before cross-examining him in his throne room. They also had a crash course in how to bow and curtsey (pictured below)!
Lee Brady, who ran the session for RPA’s students, said: “The level of enthusiasm that the Richmond Park Academy students had was impressive. Their questions were excellent and well thought out.”
Students asked the king questions such as: why did you let your soldiers treat your people badly; did you think you had unlimited power; why did you dismiss Parliament; why did you marry a Catholic? In the end the Year 8s found King Charles guilty!
In addition to the activities at Banqueting House, students were also taken on a guided tour around what would have been the original Palace of Whitehall, which took in Guard’s Parade, Green Park, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament – to mention but only a few.
David Beach, Historic Royal Palace’s Learning Producer, adds: “The day is designed to be a memorable introduction to the outcome of the English Civil War and uses a combination of source material, access to history where it happens, and costumed interpreters to bring the topic to life. We were delighted to be able to welcome Richmond Park Academy.”