Q: In what year did the British Parliament first meet at the Palace of Westminster?
A: 1265. January 20, to be exact. On that day, Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester and 1st Earl of Chester called the first directly elected parliament medieval Europe had ever seen while he served as de facto ruler of England during the Second Barons’ War. Thirty years later, King Edward I summoned the Model Parliament, which included members of the clergy and aristocracy, along with representatives from the country’s counties and boroughs. Counties sent two knights to the Parliament, boroughs sent two burgesses, and cities provided two citizens, a composition that would be repeated for later Parliaments. The Model Parliament, too, met at the Palace of Westminster, which, at the time, was the monarch’s principal residence in London. Almost every successive parliament has met there since 1295.
After a fire in 1864 destroyed most of the buildings in the palace complex, there was talk of moving the Parliament to Charing Cross or St. James’s Park. However, tradition won out, Parliament stayed put in Westminster, and the current Gothic-style buildings on the site were fully completed in 1870.
This Week’s Trivia Question:
Which monarchs reigned during the “year of three kings”?
Give your answers in the comments!