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Friends of Greenwich Park

William and Mary to Today

Queen Mary preferred other palaces and royal interest in Greenwich began to decline. Queen Mary donated the unfinished Charles II building as a hospital for seamen. Sir Christopher Wren completed the overall design for what became from 1705 to 1869 the Royal Hospital for Seamen, then the Royal Naval College and now the site of the University of Greenwich and Trinity College of Music.

Queen Anne

Free access to the Park by pensioners was granted at about the time Queen Anne came to the throne (1702). Her interest in the Park, fostered by royal gardener, Henry Wise, was tempered by a love of stag hunting, a dislike of clipped box, and the rise in the 18th century of the Picturesque style of landscaping. The trees were neglected and a number were felled. She appointed her consort, Prince George of Denmark, Ranger of Greenwich Park, a sinecure which at that time included residence in the Queen's House.

The Hanoverians

Princess Caroline of Anspach, later wife of George II, was a keen gardener and was Park Ranger from 1730 to 1737. George IV granted free public access to Greenwich Park in 1820. His estranged wife, Caroline of Brunswick, was appointed Ranger in 1806. She lived in Montagu House on the west side of the Park from 1798 to 1812 and had 6ha (15 acres) enclosed and landscaped by James Meader, an influential gardener who had worked at the court of Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia. The grounds were given back to the Park in the late 1800s. Princess Caroline was followed as Ranger by George IV's brother, the Duke of Clarence, later William IV.

The Aristocracy

Various members of the aristocracy held the royal office of Ranger of Greenwich Park from 1816 to 1896. When the last Ranger, Field Marshall Lord Wolseley left, Ranger's House stood empty until it was bought from the Crown in  1899 by the then London County Council. It is now an English Heritage property and houses the Wernher collection of furniture and works of art.