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Facts You Probably Didn't Know about the Buckingham Palace

Facts You Probably Didn't Know about the Buckingham Palace
It's astonishing that the Buckingham Palace has a history which dates back to over 500 years, has witnessed the resplendence of the monarchs on numerous imperial occasions, and much of the building which remains today is from the original structure built in the early 1700s.
Mary Anthony
Last Updated: Jul 25, 2017
Royal News!
This year's annual summer opening exhibition between 25th July to 27th September at the Buckingham Palace will for the first time permit public visitors to enter the state rooms through the grand entrance and view royal banquet displays as well as the regal outfits worn by the Queen during garden tea parties.
The majestic seat of British sovereignty Buckingham Palace, is known throughout the world as the royal residence of the Queen of England and the official administrative headquarters of the monarchy. It is situated in the City of Westminster and has been the major focal point of London since centuries. The Palace has stood as a silent historic witness to many of the great regal ceremonies, official state visits by distinguished dignitaries from around the world, and famous coronations, all of which are coordinated by the Royal Household.

Buckingham Palace was first opened to the general public in 1993. The intriguing opulence and grandeur of the royal lifestyle attracts over 90,000 group visitors each year. In 2012 alone, it welcomed a total of 558,000 visitors, the second highest figure in 20 years. During the annual summer exhibitions, more than half a million visitors pass through the gallant doors. Below are some fascinating facts about this historic monument.
Historical Facts
Origins of the Palace
Quick Note:
At one point the palace location was considered as a potential site for the British Museum, the idea was dropped due to financial issues.
buckingham palace
Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace has a long history with royalty. Primarily it belonged to King Edward the Confessor. After the Norman invasion, William the Conqueror willed it to the monks of Westminster Abbey. Five hundred years later, in 1531, Henry VIII reclaimed it for the royals.
Eventually James I, propagated mulberries at the site for breeding silkworms. In 1628, Charles I granted the garden to Lord Aston. From then on, the residence that existed on the site passed on through various owners and tenants until, in 1698, the property was acquired by John Sheffield, 3rd Earl of Mulgrave and Marquess of Normanby who later became the Duke of Buckingham.
He chose to demolish the outdated building and create the new 'Buckingham House'. The structure of the new building was designed and built by William Talman, Comptroller of the Works to William III, and Captain William Winde, a retired soldier. John Fitch built the main structure by a contract of £7,000.
Buckingham House existed as the personal property of the Dukes of Buckingham till 1761. In 1761, George III gained the whole site to be used as a private family residence for his wife, Queen Charlotte. The couple had 14 children in this residence, eventually it came to be known as 'The Queen's House'.
During the years 1762 and 1776, the house went through a series of remodeling by Sir William Chambers at the cost of £73,000. A sophisticated Queen's room was added with magnificent ceilings designed by Robert Adam and painted by Giovanni Battista Cipriani.
During George IV reign, the king wanted the existing house to be transformed into a majestic palace. He appointed John Nash, Official Architect to the Office of Woods and Forests, in charge of this job.
Nash expanded the Buckingham House into the grand U-shaped building, extended the central block of the building westwards and to the North and South, and rebuilt the two wings to the East. The wings enveloped a grand forecourt and a triumphal arch at the center of the forecourt. This splendid masterpiece at the cost of £496,169 officially became the Buckingham Palace.
After the death of King George IV, Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington fired Nash for squandering. Lord Duncannon, First Commissioner of Works, took to the task of supervising the completion of the Palace.
He appointed architect Edward Blore, who widened the east facade at both ends and created the Ambassadors' Entrance on the Southern side. George IV's successor, his brother William IV, showed no interest in moving to the Buckingham Palace. The Parliament voted for the completion of the palace. By 1833 and 1834, the State Rooms were completed and exquisitely furnished.
hyde park
Hyde Park
Edward Blore therefore built a new wing, confining Nash's forecourt on its Eastern side and added the central balcony on the new main facade on Prince Albert's suggestions. By 1852, architect James Pennethorne completed the Ball and Concert Room, and the Ball Supper Room, linked by galleries to Nash's State Apartments at their Southern end. The triumphal Marble Arch was relocated to the North-East corner of Hyde Park.
King Edward VII ordered the redecoration of the interiors of the State Rooms and the Ballroom with intricate white and gold design. He also greatly set to improve the heating, ventilation and electric lighting of the Palace during his reign. During the reign of King George V, the front of Buckingham Palace was retouched with harder-wearing Portland stone which was completed in 1914.
In 1962, the Duke of Edinburgh initiated a new public exhibition gallery for the Royal Collection known as 'The Queen's Gallery,' which was completely renovated in 2002 to mark 'Her Majesty's Golden Jubilee.'-
Facts about the Past Royal Residents
Quick Note:
During World War II, Germany bombarded the palace destroying the North screen of the East Front and the Victorian private chapel greatly.-
queen victoria
Queen Victoria Memorial at London
Queen Victoria was the first crowned head to take up residence in July 1837, just three weeks after her rise to power on the royal throne. Her marriage to her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1841 established the Buckingham Palace as a royal family residence, place of entertainment, and official business.
King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra spent lavishly during their reign. The palace thus became the epitome of fashionable lifestyle of London. During King George V and Queen Mary sovereignty, the palace witnessed the munificent national celebrations of the King's Silver Jubilee. Most of its furniture was refurbished to suit the rich taste of Queen Mary who possessed a sound knowledge of interiors.
The balcony of Buckingham Palace is famous throughout history. The first commemorated Royal balcony show took place in 1851, when Queen Victoria stepped onto it during the celebrations held for the opening of the Great Exhibition. King George VI introduced the customary tradition of the RAF fly-past at the end of Trooping the Color.

The palace proved to be an unlikely operating theater for King Edward VII in 1902. He was operated in a room for peritonitis, the surgery was successful and King Edward VII ascended the British throne at Westminster Abbey in August that year. On 8th May 1945, during the Victory in Europe Day or V-E Day, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, their daughters, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, and the Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, appeared on the Buckingham Palace balcony before the cheering crowds.
Present-Day Information
Facts about the existing Palace
Quick Note:
The postcode for the Palace is SW1A 1AA.
The palace has 775 rooms, including 19 state rooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms.
When the Ballroom of Buckingham Palace was opened in 1856, it was the largest room in London.
There are 1,514 doors and 760 windows in the palace which are cleaned every six weeks. Buckingham Palace is 108 meters long across the front, 120 meters deep (including the quadrangle) and 24 meters high. The total floor area of the Palace, from basement to roof, covers over 77,000 square meters.
Buckingham Palace serves as an office for the Head of State, as well as a home for The Queen. Today over 800 members of staff work at Buckingham Palace. Their jobs range from housekeeping to horticulture, catering to correspondence. Some of the more unusual jobs include fendersmith, clockmaker and flagman.
Electricity was first installed in the Ballroom of Buckingham Palace in 1883; and between 1883 and 1887 electricity was extended throughout the Palace. Today there are over 40,000 light bulbs in the palace. Some rooms at Buckingham Palace have a Chinese theme due to the feature furniture and décor which were originally based in the Prince Regent's oriental-style Royal Pavilion at Brighton.
lake in buckingham palace
Lake in Buckingham Palace Gardens
Buckingham Palace's garden covers 40 acres which 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. On many occasions it has been the venue for summer garden parties. It has been the setting for a charity tennis competition (2000), pop and classical music concerts (2002) and a children's party featuring a host of characters from children's books (2006).
Edward VII (born 1841, died 1910) is the only monarch who was born and died at Buckingham Palace, William IV was also born at Buckingham House along with Prince Charles and Prince Andrew. Notice of Royal births and deaths are tied to the railings at Buckingham Palace for general public. This custom has existed even in the age of mass media.
The royals are environment-conscious and hence a Combined Heat and Power unit (CHP) helps to cut energy consumption, LED lights are used to reduce electricity costs, and double-glazed skylights reduce energy loss. In the garden, 99% of green waste is recycled on site.
Four Royal babies - The Prince of Wales, The Princess Royal, The Duke of York and Prince William - were baptized by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace.

Buckingham Palace has its own chapel, post office, swimming pool, staff cafeteria, doctor's surgery and cinema. There are more than 350 clocks and watches in Buckingham Palace, two full-time horological conservators keep them in good working condition by winding them up every week.

The largest room in the Palace is the Ballroom, where Investitures and State banquets take place today. It is 36.6m long, 18m wide and 13.5m high. It was opened in 1856 with a ball to celebrate the end of the Crimean War. The palace is close to the center of London, at the intersection of Constitution Hill, The Mall and Birdcage Walk. The Mall is a long tree-lined avenue, traditionally used for Royal parades and funeral processions.
When the 28-storey Hilton Hotel was built in 1963, there were concerns from the Queen that hotel guests could see into the rooms of Buckingham Palace. The Queen's Gallery hosts a variety of art exhibitions throughout the year. The Royal Mews, located on palace grounds, houses the Queen's horse-drawn carriage and motor vehicles. Additionally, all the State vehicles are kept and serviced there, including the Golden State Coach that is used for coronations.

The river Thames, Big Ben, St. James' Palace, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Square and more, all lie within a walking distance.
Facts about Palace Royalty
Quick Note:
A Union Jack flies during the Queen's absence and the Royal Standard flag flies during her presence at the palace.
The Queen and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, introduced small, informal luncheon parties at Buckingham Palace to meet talented people from all professions, trades and vocations. The first was held on 11th May, 1956, and the tradition continues to this day. There are usually six to eight guests and two members of the royal household in attendance.
State banquets take place in the main Ballroom of Buckingham Palace these official dinners take place on the first evening of a state visit by a visiting Head of State. It's a white-tie event with 150 or more guests in formal. The largest and most formal reception at Buckingham Palace takes place every November, when the Queen entertains foreign diplomats in London.
Smaller ceremonies such as the reception of new ambassadors take place in the "1844 Room".
There does not exist an official dress code at present. However most men invited to Buckingham Palace in the daytime choose to wear service uniform or lounge suits.
Several of the State Rooms were used for the Royal Wedding reception for the marriage of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. These include the Picture Gallery, Center Room, Green Drawing Room , White Drawing Room, Music Room, Bow Room, BallRoom, Ball Supper Room, Throne Room.

Visiting heads of state occupy a suite of rooms at the Palace known as the Belgian suite, on the ground floor of the North-facing garden front. These rooms were first decorated for Prince Albert's uncle Léopold I, first King of the Belgians. King Edward VIII also lived in these rooms during his short reign.
Buckingham Palace is not the private property of the Queen.
The famous historic figures who have visited Buckingham Palace include seven-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Felix Mendelssohn, Johann Strauss the Younger, Charles Dickens, Alfred Lord Tennyson, American Presidents including Woodrow Wilson and JF Kennedy, Mahatma Gandhi, Neil Armstrong, actor Laurence Olivier, and Nelson Mandela.
Buckingham Palace also has private offices and apartments for The Duke of Edinburgh, The Duke of York, The Earl and Countess of Wessex, The Princess Royal and Princess Alexandra. More than 50,000 people visit the Palace each year as The Queen's guests at banquets, lunches, dinners, receptions and garden parties. Since 1993, the State Rooms of the Palace have been opened to general public during August and September, while The Queen is not in residence.
The Queen receives her audiences in The Queen's Audience Room.
Facts about the Palace Royal Guards
The forecourt of Buckingham Palace, where Changing the Guard takes place, was not created until 1911, when it was added as part of a scheme to commemorate Queen Victoria. The gates and railings were also completed in 1911.
Changing of the Guard is a honored ceremony which takes place on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace at 11.30am (on alternate days during autumn and winter). During this ceremony the soldiers who have been on duty at Buckingham Palace and St. James's Palace are relieved by the 'New Guard'. A customary military band plays music, which ranges from military marches to Abba's greatest hits. On Royal birthdays, the band plays 'Happy Birthday'.
The guards serving at the Buckingham Palace are actual soldiers and not just emblematic humans taking part in a ceremony. One regular ritual is the daily 'dragging' of the gravel on the forecourt of the palace. The area is cleaned and combed using mechanical equipment daily - even on Christmas Day.
Amusing Facts
Buckingham Palace is ridden with secret tunnels that connect the palace with the Houses of Parliament and Clarence House. On one occasion, King George VI and the Queen Mother decided to explore the tunnels and came across a man named Geordie who was living down there. The Queen Mother recalled that he was 'very courteous'.-
During Queen Victoria's early days in the palace, she was visited three times between 1838 and 1841 by a teenage builder apprentice called Edward Jones also popularly known as 'the Boy Jones.'

After his first break-in, at age 14, he was apprehended by the police near St James's with Queen Victoria's underwear stuffed down his trousers.
Some people might view it as an imposing gray and dull monument against the foggy London weather but nothing can compare to its grandeur and luxury within its interiors. Buckingham Palace remains a place truly fit for the Queen!