Conrad London St James is located within Queen Anne’s Chambers, less than a 5-minute walk from Westminster Abbey and Big Ben in London. With free WiFi throughout, the hotel is only a 4-minute walk from Parliament Houses and half a...
Buckingham Palace is the official residence of the royal family in London and a location for state ceremonies. It is located at the western end of The Mall, between St James Park and Green Park. The largest private garden in London, with a total area of 39 acres, is located to the west of the Palace.
Buckingham Palace’s narrative begins in 1608 when King James VI and I wished to foster a silk industry to rival that of France. He brought 10,000 mulberry trees into the country and encouraged his courtiers to start planting them on their land. He planted mulberry trees on the area of the ground where the Palace presently stands in Westminster.
The king’s plans, however, had a fatal flaw: he had ordered black mulberry plants rather than the white mulberry trees that silkworms love. As a result, his plan was doomed to fail.
Sir William Blake erected the first mansion on this location around 1624. Lord Goring enlarged the mansion, but when Lord Goring was unable to pay his lease, Henry Bennet, 1st Earl of Arlington purchased the property. Goring House, the mansion, burned down in 1674. The following year, Lord Arlington built a new residence, which was appropriately named Arlington House.
HOUSE OF BUCKINGHAM
Arlington House was leased in 1698 by John Sheffield (after known as the 1st Duke of Buckingham). The Duke of Buckingham commissioned William Winde, an architect, to design a new residence in 1703. This new structure was designed with a three-story center block flanked by two smaller wings. This is the foundation of the Palace as we know it today.
But it wasn’t yet a palace; Buckingham House was the name. Sir Charles Sheffield, the duke’s illegitimate son, sold Buckingham House to King George III for £21,000 in 1761. Buckingham House was built for King George’s wife, Queen Charlotte, as a private residence rather than a royal palace.
It was renamed The Queen’s House to reflect its new position. The house was utilized by Queen Charlotte as a getaway from the court, a quiet location where she could get away from it all. 14 of her 15 children were born here.
Even though the home was built as a private residence, it became recognized as Buckingham Palace throughout time. The year 1791 is the first written record of that name.
When King George IV ascended to the throne in 1820, he began the process of transforming the home into a suitable private dwelling. In 1826, however, he altered his mind and chose to turn the residence into a lavish royal palace. He enlisted the help of his friend, architect John Nash, who had previously constructed the magnificent Royal Pavilion in Brighton.
Buckingham Palace was designed to resemble French neoclassical design, whereas the Royal Pavilion emanates Oriental grandeur. Unfortunately, the king’s vision exceeded his budget, and Nash was fired for cost overruns in 1826.
When the king died in 1830, the Palace was still unfinished. William IV appointed Edward Blore to complete what Nash had started. The 40 acres of Nash’s gardens behind the Palace, on the other hand, have remained unaltered. Every year, in July, the gardens hold three official garden parties.
Marble Arch, a ceremonial archway designed by Nash, was another of his works. Marble Arch was dismantled in 1851 and relocated to Hyde Park’s northeast corner, where it was reconstructed. The arch was moved, according to legend, because it was too narrow for Queen Victoria’s royal coaches.
THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW PARLIAMENT
The Houses of Parliament were burned down in 1834. William IV pondered transforming the Palace into the new Houses of Parliament, but he ultimately chose to reconstruct Parliament on the same site.
Queen Victoria became the first queen to officially stay here after William IV died before the palace was completed. However, while the staterooms were adequate for their purpose, the remainder of the Palace was not. The structure was poorly conceived and constructed.
The chimneys smoked so terribly that they were virtually unusable, and scents from the sewers invaded the interior, according to the young queen. The palace was filthy, stinking, and uninviting. When Prince Albert married the queen in 1840, he took on the responsibility of fixing these flaws.
Sir Ashton Webb renovated the front façade in 1913 to complement the recently erected Queen Victoria monument, which now serves as a focal point at The Mall’s west end.
GETTING OUT OF THE BLITZ
During World War II, Buckingham Palace was bombed nine times yet survived remarkably intact. During the bombings, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth refused to leave the palace.
The Queen’s Gallery, which is adjacent to the Palace, houses artworks from the royal collection, including Old Master paintings and beautiful Faberge eggs. The former royal chapel, which was bombed out during WWII, is now the site of the Gallery. ‘I’m delighted we’ve been bombed,’ Queen Elizabeth is believed to have said. It makes me feel like I can face the East End’. Film documentation of the bomb damage was shown in cinemas around the United Kingdom to show the audience that the attacks affected both the rich and the poor.
THE ROYAL MEWS
The Royal Mews is a short walk from the Queen’s Gallery, where you can see the royal family’s magnificent carriages and motorcars used to transport them to state occasions. The Gold State Coach, built in 1762 and used to transport the monarch to the state opening of Parliament, is the most spectacular of the carriages.
WHEN IS THE QUEEN INSIDE THE PALACE?
Checking the flag flying over Buckingham Palace is one surefire way to tell if the reigning monarch is inside. If the monarch is present, a royal flag will be displayed, which is a quartered design with gilded lions on a red basis in the upper left and lower right, a red lion on a yellow background in the top right, and a gilded harp on a blue background in the lower left. If the king is not present, a Union Jack will be displayed.
When the monarch is at home, four Foot Guards will be stationed in front of the Palace on sentry duty. The monarch is not in home if there are only two officers on duty.
Edward VII is the only monarch to be born and die at Buckingham Palace.
THE GUARDS CHANGE
Every day at 10.45 a.m., the traditional Changing of the Guards takes place. It takes roughly 45 minutes to complete on average. It’s a good idea to arrive early so you can get a good view of the event.
WHO IS THE OWNER OF BUCKINGHAM PALACE?
You may believe the solution to this question is self-evident, but you’d be mistaken. The monarch does not actually own the palace. The Crown Estates are in charge of it. This guarantees that it will always pass to the next ruling king, whether or whether the incoming monarch is a descendant of the current one.
Under Buckingham Palace, there is almost certainly a network of underground tunnels. The tunnel network’s size is a source of unending debate and rumor. Tunnels connect the Palace to Clarence House, Whitehall, and the Houses of Parliament, according to legend. According to another legend, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth examined the tunnels and found a guy living inside.
THE VIEW FROM THE BALCONY
From the palace balcony on the east front, members of the royal family make public appearances. Queen Victoria was the first monarch to make a public appearance on the balcony, beginning the tradition in 1851 to commemorate the Great Exhibition’s inauguration. At the conclusion of the Trooping the Colour ceremony, the Royals usually make an appearance. Other notable events included Kate Middleton and Prince William’s post-wedding appearance.
TOURS OF THE PALACE
When the monarch is not in residence, which is usually from July through October, Buckingham Palace is available to visitors. The White Drawing Room, the Throne Room, the Picture Gallery, the Ballroom, and the Grand Staircase are all highlights of the tour. The gardens are included on several tours. Tours last about 2-2.5 hours on average. Although there is a timed ticket system in place, you are free to go at your own pace. The Palace’s website allows visitors to book tours directly.
HOW DO I GET THERE?
Green Park is the closest subterranean station. From the station exit, simply follow the signs to Buckingham Palace. You’ll have to walk through the park, which should take no more than five minutes. The palace is also a stop on the major London hop-on hop-off bus routes.
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Interesting facts about Buckingham Palace
Here are some interesting facts about this amazing historical landmark:
The Palace has 775 rooms, including 92 offices, 78 bathrooms, 52 bedrooms, and 19 staterooms.
The largest room is the ballroom, which measures 36.6m long, 18m wide, and 13.5m high.
The first public event held in the ballroom was a gala to celebrate the end of the Crimean War.
In 1883 the ballroom was the first room in the Palace to have electric lighting installed.
The Palace has its own post office, a swimming pool, doctor’s surgery, a jeweler’s workshop, and a cinema. It even has its own ATM!
The front façade facing onto the Mall is 355 feet wide and 80 feet high.
The palace has 760 windows and 1,514 doors!