Buckingham Palace is the official London residence and administrative headquarters of the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom.
Buckingham Palace is located in the heart of London and surrounded by 2 royal parks.
The palace first originated as Buckingham House, which was built by John Sheffield, 3rd Earl of Mulgrave and Marquess of Normandy, as his London residence in 1703. In the same year, Sheffield was made the Duke of Buckingham and he consequently named the house after his title.
George III decided to purchase Buckingham House for his wife, Queen Charlotte, in 1761 so to create a comfortable family home near to St James’s Palace.As a result, 14 of George and Charlotte’s 15 childrenwere born at the house.
Buckingham House was transformed into Buckingham Palace in the 1820s by the architect John Nash for George IV. But the first monarch to use Buckingham Palace as their official residence was Queen Victoria, who moved there in 1837. Since then the palace has served as the official London residence of Britain’s sovereigns, and today it is the administrative headquarters of the monarch.
The last major structural additions were made in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including the East front, which contains the well-known balcony on which the royal family traditionally congregates to greet crowds outside.
The palace measures 108 meters (354 feet) by 120 meters (390 feet), is 24 meters (79 feet) high and contains over 77,000 square meters (830,000 square feet) of floorspace.
There are 775 rooms, including 19 state rooms, 52 principal bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices, and 78 bathrooms.There are also 760 windows and 1,514 doors.
Many of the Palace’s principal rooms were contained on the piano nobile, or principal floor, behind the west facing garden facade, at the rear of the palace. At the centre of this ornate suite of state rooms was the Music Room, its large bow the dominant feature of the façade.
Flanking the Music Room are the Blue [pic. below] and the White Drawing Rooms.
At the center of the suite, serving as a corridor to link the state rooms, is the Picture Gallery, which is top lit and 50 meters (55 yards) long. The Gallery is hung with works by Rembrandt, van Dyck, Rubens, and Vermeer.
Other rooms leading from the Picture Gallery are the Throne Room and the Green Drawing Room.
The Green Drawing Room serves as a huge anteroom to the Throne Room, and is part of the ceremonial route to the throne from the Guard Room at the top of the Grand Staircase.
The Grand Staircase – The magnificent bronze staircase was designed by the architect John Nash as part of his commission to remodel the palace for King George IV from 1825 to 1830. The impressive double balustrade features an intricate pattern of acanthus, oak and laurel leaves and represents some of the world’s finest bronze casting work.
The grand Ballroom is the palace’s pride.It’s the largest room, at 36.6 meters (120 feet) long, 18 meters (59 feet) wide and 13.5 meters (44.2 feet) high. The first event held there was a celebration marking the end of the Crimean War in 1856. It’s not all ballrooms and banquet halls, though: there’s also a post office, police station, doctor’s surgery, cinema and pool.
Over 800 members of staff live there, including a flagman, fendersmith and clockmaker. The latter must keep busy, as the palace contains 350 clocks and watches! They’re wound up every week by two horological conservators, who work full-time to keep them ticking along.
The palace has 760 windows that are cleaned every six weeks. The fabulous grand Ballroom was the first room to have electricity installed in 1883. Lightening was extended to the rest of the palace over the next four years, and there are now more than 40,000 light bulbs.
As if a palace isn’t exciting enough, there are passageways running beneath the surface that connect thebuilding to nearby streets. Unsurprisingly, the Queen Mother and King George VI couldn’t resist exploring. On one excursion, they apparently met a very polite man from Newcastle, who was living down there.
Buckingham Palace’s garden is the largest private garden in London.It covers 40 acres, and includes a helicopter landing area, a lake, and a tennis court.It is home to 30 different species of bird and more than 350 different wild flowers, some extremely rare. There, the Queen hosts her annual garden parties each summer, and also holds large functions to celebrate royal milestones, such as jubilees.
The most obvious and most used way of telling if the Queen is at home is to look at the flag above Buckingham Palace. If the British Flag (Union Flag) is flying above the residence, then Her Majesty is not in residence. If the Royal Standard is flying above the residence, then The Queen is in residence.
The Changing of the Guard (also known as Guard Mounting) takes place in front of Buckingham Palace. It is daily from April to July and once every 2 days from August until March. Sometimes it is cancelled if it is raining very heavily.
In 2001, now-former head of Coutts bank, Gordon Pell, confirmed to The Standard that there is indeed an ATM inside Buckingham Palace. It is tucked away in the Palace basement and reserved for the royal family.
In 1982, a man named Michael Fagan managed to get past the gates and the royal guard, scale the walls of Buckingham Palace and have a brief conversation with Queen Elizabeth before being escorted out by officers. According to an interview the intruder gave The Independent, the 33-year-old tripped several alarms and even stole a sip of wine during his time inside the Palace.
George III paid $32,784 ($4.7 million now) to buy Buckingham House for his wife Queen Charlotte.
Every year some 50,000 invited guests are entertained at garden parties, receptions, audiences and banquets.