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Principal Royal Residence: Buckingham Palace

Located in Westminster, Buckingham Palace is often central to state events and royal hospitality. This is where the British focus in times of national joy and sorrow. It has served as the official London residence for the UK sovereigns since 1837 and today is the administrative headquarters of the Monarch. It is used for many official events and receptions The King holds, but parts like the State Rooms are also open to visitors every summer. Today, Buckingham Palace is very much a functioning building and, undoubtedly, the centerpiece of the UK’s constitutional monarchy.

The Palace has more than 50 000 visitors annually as guests to the State Banquets, lunches, dinners, receptions and Garden Parties. With its 775 rooms, including 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms, Buckingham Palace is undoubtedly a significant landmark in the UK. However, what today is a Principal Royal Residence was once meant to be Queen Charlotte’s private retreat.

Buckingham House

The history of the Royal Residence dates back to the 17th century when James I started a plantation of mulberries for the rearing of silkworms in the exact place where the Palace Gardens are located today. He then gave the garden to Lord Aston, in 1926, with that large house already built on the site by that time. The house had multiple owners and tenants until 1698 when it was let to the man who later became the Duke of Buckingham, John Sheffield. He gave this house its name.

Since the Duke was unsatisfied with how the house looked and thought it was old-fashioned, he demolished it and created the new ‘Buckingham House.’ John Fitch built the house’s main structure, while William Talman assisted with the design and construction. That house stood precisely in the place where Buckingham Palace stands today.

Queen Charlotte’s Private Retreat

Until 1762, the Buckingham House remained the property of the Duke until George III finally acquired it. The site became a private family residence for his wife, Queen Charlotte, and their children. It became known as ‘The Queen’s House.’ Then, in 1782, the building was renovated; the ceiling was designed by Robert Adam and painted by Giovanni Battista Cipriani. Most say the Queen’s rooms were designed to be the most beautiful and sophisticated of their time.

The house finally transformed into a palace when George IV acceded to the throne. The King put famous architects of the time to work, including John Nash. The Palace was extended, and several changes were made. Buckingham Place soon became widely regarded as a masterpiece. However, soon after the death of George IV, Nash was dismissed from his job because of overspending and Lord Duncannon, First Commission of Work, took over. He appointed Edward Blore to finish the rest of the Palace.

Queen Victoria- The First Sovereign to Take Up Residence

Buckingham Place became the official royal residence following the accession of the first Monarch, Queen Victoria, to the throne in 1837. Her marriage to Prince Albert soon showed up the Palace’s shortcomings. Among the many problems the Palace had, a serious one was the absence of nurseries and too few bedrooms for visitors. The solution to this problem was to extend the Palace ground and build a fourth wing. Eventually, the fourth wing was built, creating a quadrangle.

Buckingham Palace Today

Today the Palace stands at a remarkably strategic location, in the heart of London and about 1 km from the House of Parliament. Behind the Palace are park-like gardens, with the lake, London’s most extensive owned gardens. It is there that most royal milestones are celebrated. A popular discussed view is the appearance of the royals on the Royal Balcony, but this isn’t just any casual family jaunt into the open air; there are strict protocols about who gets an invite. The tradition started with Queen Victoria when she utilized the balcony during the celebrations of the Great Exhibition in 1851. Since then, now and then, a tailored group makes an appearance on the balcony, which always includes the Monarch and their spouse, plus the second in line and their spouse.

Today, fans of the Palace and people from around the world visit to witness the epitome of royalty.

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