Information on St James's
James's takes as its borders Piccadilly, Haymarket, the Mall
and Green Park. This part of London became the centre
of fashion in the 1530s when Henry VIII built St James's Palace
on the site of St James's Hospital, a former leper hospital.
The palace was one of the principal royal residences for more
than 300 years and continues to be the Court's official headquarters.
Foreign ambassadors to the UK are still known officially as
'Ambassador(s) to the the Court of St James'.
St James's Palace (closed to
the public) is now used by Prince Charles and various minor
royals. Spencer House, just to the north of St James's
Palace, was built in 1766 by an ancestor of the late Diana,
Princess of Wales.
St James's, even more exclusive
than Mayfair to the north, continues to be popular with the
highest ranks of society. The area's historic streets have
remained virtually unchanged for decades, perhaps centuries,
but along with the exclusivity comes a certain amount of alooftness.