Arguably the most iconic building in the entire United Kingdom, as well as one of the most well known in the world, Buckingham Palace is a royal palace situated in the heart of London. It has been the London residence of the British sovereign for almost 200 years, and it has held quite the importance over the years. Inside Buckingham Palace is gorgeous by all standards and it is one of the few remaining functioning working royal palaces in the world, and it’s a place that has attracted visitors from all around the world.
There’s a specific splendor that can be experienced only inside Buckingham Palace, and it’s considered as one of the best of British architecture. From its hundreds of intricately ornate rooms decorated with only the most lavish of ornaments, to the majestic throne room, as well as the beautiful and relaxing gardens, there’s just so much to see and absorb. No photo would ever do it justice, as this long-standing palace is a fantastic piece of art in-and-of itself.
History of Buckingham Palace
The palace that everyone knows and loves today hasn’t always been this luxurious building. In fact, the original building was quite more modest, at least relatively speaking. It was built as a private residence for the Duke of Buckingham in the early 18th-century and had nothing to do with the King nor Queen at the time. It was only after half-a-century later that King George III had bought the house and repurposed it as a sort of private retreat for his wife, Queen Charlotte. It was used as a cozy family home for a few decades, until King George III’s successor, King George IV ordered for it to be turned into a proper palace, and called for an enormous budget so that the new palace could adequately display the status of the British royal family.
Inside Buckingham Palace
After being remodeled, redesigned, and revitalized, Buckingham Palace took the form that we all know today. Inside Buckingham Palace, you’ll find over 700 hundred rooms – including over a dozen State Rooms. It’s a grand display of status and image, with many iconic spots. Spots like the Grand Staircase, which is the highlight of many tours, where it becomes evident that no expense had been spared to imbue majesty in every element of the palace. The Ballroom is another beautiful spot – which is also the largest State Room – a place for banquets, special meetings, and on occasion coronations. Art of the highest quality is on display on every corner, with prominent artists like Rembrandt, Claude, and Van Dyck – among many, many others – are proudly displayed in its many halls. There aren’t enough words to explain the majesty that can be seen inside Buckingham Palace.
Who Lives in Buckingham Palace
Officially, Buckingham Palace is the residence and address of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, as well as Prince Philip, and Prince Andrew the Duke of York, and Prince Edward along with his wife. But it’s not only a residence but the administrative headquarters of the Monarch of the United Kingdom. Thus Buckingham Palace is most notable for when the Queen receives dignitaries formally or informally once they are granted an Audience. It is also in the spotlight for royal weddings in London and each year for Trooping The Colour, the annual parade for the Queen’s birthday.
Buckingham Palace Changing of the Guard
One of the most fascinating rituals that take place around Buckingham Palace is the Changing of the Guard. It’s one of those spectacles that visitors from all across the world flock just to see, as it’s a splendid display of pageantry, and quite marvelous to look at. The schedule for Changing of the Guard also known as Guard Mounting changes depending on the month, but on days when held, it starts at 11 am. During this extravaganza, one regiment takes over from another to guard the Queen, so the New Guard takes the place of the Old Guard to become the Queen’s Guard, all the while being accompanied by formal, ceremonial music.
Other Interesting Facts about Buckingham Palace
There are plenty of little unique details that concern the palace itself. For example, there are over hundreds of staff that live inside Buckingham Palace that are involved with proper maintenance, but most interestingly, because there are over 300 clocks and watches in the palace, there two particular staff members that work full time that are tasked with keeping the clocks’ function impeccable. Another thing that isn’t quite common knowledge is that there are plenty of underground passageways and tunnels that connect to many streets of London. In fact, King George IV once met a man from Newcastle that claimed he lived in those tunnels. When visiting the palace, there’s an easy way to tell if the Queen is home. If you see the Royal Standard flying atop Victoria Tower, then the Queen is in, and if it’s the Union Jack, then she is not.
Visiting Buckingham Palace
The general public is only allowed to visit the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace for ten weeks each summer and on selected dates during spring and winter. This is usually from the second half of July until late September, as during those months the Queen spends more time at one of her other royal residences including Windsor Castle and Balmoral in Scotland. So if you are visiting London during the summer months, book your tickets early and take a look inside Buckingham Palace one of the modern wonders of the world. Also consider combining with our London Highlights Tour.