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Buckingham Palace () is the
London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...

London
residence A residence is a place (normally a building) used as a home A home, or domicile, is a space used as a permanent or semi-permanent residence for one or many Human, humans. It is a fully or semi sheltered space and can have both interior an ...
and administrative headquarters of the
monarch of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy, constitutional form of government by which a hereditary monarchy, hereditary sovereign reigns as the head of state of the United ...
. Located in the
City of Westminster The City of Westminster is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and London boroughs, borough in Inner London which forms a core part of Central London. It is the site of the United Kingdom's Houses of Parliament and much of the British gov ...

City of Westminster
, the palace is often at the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality. It has been a focal point for the
British people The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixe ...
at times of national rejoicing and mourning. Originally known as Buckingham House, the building at the core of today's palace was a large
townhouse A townhouse, townhome, town house, or town home, is a type of terraced housing __NOTOC__ In agriculture, a terrace is a piece of sloped plane that has been cut into a series of successively receding flat surfaces or platforms, which resembl ...
built for the
Duke of Buckingham Duke of Buckingham held with Duke of Chandos, referring to Buckingham, is a title that has been created several times in the peerages of England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It ...
in 1703 on a site that had been in private ownership for at least 150 years. It was acquired by
King George III George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 173829 January 1820) was King of Great Britain and Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separ ...
in 1761Robinson, p. 14. as a private residence for
Queen Charlotte Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (Sophia Charlotte; 19 May 1744 – 17 November 1818) was Queen of Great Britain Queen may refer to: Monarchy * Queen regnant A queen regnant (plural: queens regnant) is a female monarch, equivalent in ...

Queen Charlotte
and became known as The Queen's House. During the 19th century it was enlarged, principally by architects
John NashJohn Nash may refer to: Arts and entertainment *John Nash (architect) (1752–1835), Anglo-Welsh architect *John Nash Round, English architect active in the mid-19th-century Kent *"Jolly" John Nash (1828–1901), English music hall entertainer *Joh ...
and
Edward Blore Edward Blore (13 September 1787 – 4 September 1879) was a 19th-century English landscape and architectural artist, architect and antiquary. Early career He was born in Derby, the son of the antiquarian writer Thomas Blore. Blore's backgr ...
, who constructed three wings around a central courtyard. Buckingham Palace became the London residence of the British monarch on the accession of
Queen Victoria Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of En ...

Queen Victoria
in 1837. The last major structural additions were made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the East Front, which contains the well-known balcony on which the
British royal family The British royal family comprises Queen Elizabeth II and her close relations. There is no strict legal or formal definition of who is or is not a member of the British royal family. Many members support the Queen in undertaking public engag ...
traditionally congregates to greet crowds. A German bomb destroyed the palace chapel during the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
; the
Queen's Gallery The Queen's Gallery is the main public art gallery An art gallery is a room or a building in which visual art is displayed. Among the reasons art may be displayed are aesthetic enjoyment, cultural enrichment, or for marketing purposes. While ...
was built on the site and opened to the public in 1962 to exhibit works of art from the
Royal Collection The Royal Collection of the British royal family is the largest private art collection in the world. Spread among 13 occupied and historic List of British royal residences, royal residences in the United Kingdom, the collection is owned by Elizab ...
. The original early 19th-century interior designs, many of which survive, include widespread use of brightly coloured
scagliola Scagliola (from the Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Ita ...
and blue and pink
lapis Lapis lazuli (; ), or lapis for short, is a deep-blue metamorphic rock used as a Gemstone, semi-precious stone that has been prized since ancient history, antiquity for its intense color. As early as the 7th millennium BC, lapis lazuli was mined ...

lapis
, on the advice of Sir Charles Long. King Edward VII oversaw a partial redecoration in a
Belle Époque The Belle Époque or La Belle Époque (; French language, French for "Beautiful Epoch") is the term often given to a period of History of France, French and European history, usually dated to between 1871–80 and the outbreak of World War I ...
cream and gold colour scheme. Many smaller reception rooms are furnished in the Chinese
regency A regent (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...
style with furniture and fittings brought from the
Royal Pavilion The Royal Pavilion, also known as the Brighton Pavilion, is a Grade I listed former royal residence located in Brighton Brighton () is a constituent part of the city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin D ...

Royal Pavilion
at
Brighton Brighton () is a constituent part of the city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd ...

Brighton
and from
Carlton House Carlton House was a mansion in London, best known as the town residence of the George I of the United Kingdom, King. It faced the south side of Pall Mall, London, Pall Mall, and its gardens abutted St. James's Park in the St James's district of ...
. The palace has 775 rooms, and the garden is the largest private garden in London. The state rooms, used for official and state entertaining, are open to the public each year for most of August and September and on some days in winter and spring.


History


Pre-1624

In the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
, the site of the future palace formed part of the Manor of Ebury (also called Eia). The marshy ground was watered by the river
Tyburn Tyburn was a manor Manor may refer to: Land tenure *Manor, the land belonging to the Lord of the manor under manorialism in parts of medieval Europe, notably England *Manor house, the main residence of the lord of the manor *Lord of the mano ...
, which still flows below the courtyard and south wing of the palace. Where the river was fordable (at Cow Ford), the village of Eye Cross grew. Ownership of the site changed hands many times; owners included
Edward the Confessor Edward the Confessor ( ang, Ēadƿeard Andettere ; la, Eduardus Confessor , ; 1003 – 5 January 1066) was one of the last Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the so ...

Edward the Confessor
and his
queen consort A queen consort is the wife of a reigning king King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen regnant, queen, which title is also given to the queen consort, consort of a king. *I ...
Edith of Wessex Edith of Wessex ( 1025 – 18 December 1075) was Queen of England from her marriage to Edward the Confessor Edward the Confessor ( ang, Ēadƿeard Andettere ; la, Eduardus Confessor , ; 1003 – 5 January 1066) was one of the last A ...
in late Saxon times, and, after the
Norman Conquest The Norman Conquest (or the Conquest) was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England by an army made up of thousands of Normans, Duchy of Brittany, Bretons, County of Flanders, Flemish, and men from other Kingdom of France, French ...
,
William the Conqueror William I (c. 1028Bates ''William the Conqueror'' p. 33 – 9 September 1087), usually known as William the Conqueror and sometimes William the Bastard, was the first House of Normandy, Norman List of English monarchs, monarch of Engl ...

William the Conqueror
. William gave the site to Geoffrey de Mandeville, who bequeathed it to the monks of
Westminster Abbey Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster, is a large, mainly Gothic Gothic or Gothics may refer to: People and languages *Goths or Gothic people, the ethnonym of a group of East Germanic tribes ...

Westminster Abbey
. In 1531, Henry VIII acquired the Hospital of St James, which became St James's Palace, from
Eton College Eton College () is a public school (private sector) for boys in Eton, Berkshire Eton ( ) is a town in Berkshire, England, on the opposite bank of the River Thames to Windsor, connected to it by Windsor Bridge. The civil parish In ...

Eton College
, and in 1536 he took the Manor of Ebury from Westminster Abbey. These transfers brought the site of Buckingham Palace back into royal hands for the first time since William the Conqueror had given it away almost 500 years earlier. Various owners leased it from royal landlords, and the
freehold Freehold may refer to: In real estate * Freehold (law), the tenure of property in fee simple * Customary freehold, a form of feudal tenure of land in England *Parson's freehold, where a Church of England rector or vicar of holds title to benefice ...
was the subject of frenzied speculation during the 17th century. By then, the old village of Eye Cross had long since fallen into decay, and the area was mostly wasteland. Needing money, James I sold off part of the Crown freehold but retained part of the site on which he established a mulberry garden for the production of silk. (This is at the north-west corner of today's palace.) Clement Walker in ''Anarchia Anglicana'' (1649) refers to "new-erected sodoms and spintries at the Mulberry Garden at S. James's"; this suggests it may have been a place of debauchery. Eventually, in the late 17th century, the freehold was inherited from the property tycoon Sir  Hugh Audley by the great heiress Mary Davies.


First houses on the site (1624–1761)

Possibly the first house erected within the site was that of a Sir William Blake, around 1624. The next owner was Lord Goring, who from 1633 extended Blake's house, which came to be known as Goring House, and developed much of today's garden, then known as Goring Great Garden.Harris, p. 21. He did not, however, obtain the freehold interest in the mulberry garden. Unbeknown to Goring, in 1640 the document "failed to pass the
Great Seal A great seal is a seal Seal may refer to any of the following: Common uses * Pinniped Pinnipeds (pronounced ), commonly known as seals, are a widely range (biology), distributed and diverse clade of carnivorous, fin-footed, List of semi ...
before
Charles I
Charles I
fled London, which it needed to do for legal execution". It was this critical omission that would help the British royal family regain the freehold under George III. When the improvident Goring defaulted on his rents,
Henry Bennet, 1st Earl of Arlington Henry Bennet, 1st Earl of Arlington, KG, PC (1618 – 28 July 1685) was an English statesman. Background and early life He was the son of Sir John Bennet of Dawley, Middlesex, by Dorothy, daughter of Sir John Crofts of Little Saxham, Suff ...
was able to purchase the lease of Goring House and he was occupying it when it burned down in 1674, following which he constructed Arlington House on the site—the location of the southern wing of today's palace—the next year. In 1698, John Sheffield acquired the lease. He later became the first
Duke of Buckingham and NormanbyImage:JohnSheffield.jpg, 250px, John Sheffield, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby, The 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby. Duke of Buckingham and Normanby was a title in the Peerage of England. The full title was ''Duke of the County of Buckingham ...
. Buckingham House was built for John Sheffield in 1703 to the design of
William Winde Captain William Winde (c.1645–1722) was an England, English gentleman architect, whose Royalist military career, resulting in fortifications and topographical surveys but lack of preferment, and his later career, following the Glorious Revolution, ...
. The style chosen was of a large, three-floored central block with two smaller flanking service wings.Harris, p. 22. It was eventually sold by Buckingham's illegitimate son, Sir Charles Sheffield, in 1761 to George III for £21,000. Sheffield's
leasehold A leasehold estate is an ownership Ownership is the state or fact of exclusive right In Anglo-Saxon law Anglo-Saxon law (Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English i ...
on the mulberry garden site, the freehold of which was still owned by the royal family, was due to expire in 1774.


From Queen's House to palace (1761–1837)

Under the new royal ownership, the building was originally intended as a private retreat for George III's wife,
Queen Charlotte Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (Sophia Charlotte; 19 May 1744 – 17 November 1818) was Queen of Great Britain Queen may refer to: Monarchy * Queen regnant A queen regnant (plural: queens regnant) is a female monarch, equivalent in ...

Queen Charlotte
, and was accordingly known as The Queen's House. Remodelling of the structure began in 1762. In 1775, an Act of Parliament settled the property on Queen Charlotte, in exchange for her rights to nearby
Somerset House Somerset House is a large Neoclassicism, Neoclassical complex situated on the south side of the Strand, London, Strand in central London, overlooking the River Thames, just east of Waterloo Bridge. The Georgian architecture, Georgian quadrang ...

Somerset House
, and 14 of her 15 children were born there. Some furnishings were transferred from
Carlton House Carlton House was a mansion in London, best known as the town residence of the George I of the United Kingdom, King. It faced the south side of Pall Mall, London, Pall Mall, and its gardens abutted St. James's Park in the St James's district of ...

Carlton House
and others had been bought in France after the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

French Revolution
of 1789. While St James's Palace remained the official and ceremonial royal residence, the name "Buckingham-palace" was used from at least 1791. After his accession to the throne in 1820, George IV continued the renovation intending to create a small, comfortable home. However, in 1826, while the work was in progress, the King decided to modify the house into a palace with the help of his architect
John NashJohn Nash may refer to: Arts and entertainment *John Nash (architect) (1752–1835), Anglo-Welsh architect *John Nash Round, English architect active in the mid-19th-century Kent *"Jolly" John Nash (1828–1901), English music hall entertainer *Joh ...
. The external façade was designed, keeping in mind the influence preferred by George IV. The cost of the renovations grew dramatically, and by 1829 the extravagance of Nash's designs resulted in his removal as the architect. On the death of George IV in 1830, his younger brother William IV hired
Edward Blore Edward Blore (13 September 1787 – 4 September 1879) was a 19th-century English landscape and architectural artist, architect and antiquary. Early career He was born in Derby, the son of the antiquarian writer Thomas Blore. Blore's backgr ...
to finish the work. William never moved into the palace. After the
Palace of Westminster The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Towns ...

Palace of Westminster
was destroyed by fire in 1834, he offered to convert Buckingham Palace into a new Houses of Parliament, but his offer was declined.


Queen Victoria (1837–1901)

Buckingham Palace became the principal royal residence in 1837, on the accession of Queen Victoria, who was the first monarch to reside there; her predecessor William IV had died before its completion. While the
state room 350px, alt=Floor plan of Blenheim Palace, Un-scaled plan of the ''piano nobile'' of Blenheim Palace. The state apartments are the two sets of rooms either side of the principal dining room (Saloon) marked "B". The master and mistress (here the Du ...
s were a riot of gilt and colour, the necessities of the new palace were somewhat less luxurious. It was reported the chimneys smoked so much that the fires had to be allowed to die down, and consequently the palace was often cold.Woodham-Smith, p. 249. Ventilation was so bad that the interior smelled, and when it was decided to install gas lamps, there was a serious worry about the build-up of gas on the lower floors. It was also said that staff were lax and lazy and the palace was dirty. Following the Queen's marriage in 1840, her husband,
Prince Albert Prince Albert most commonly refers to: *Albert, Prince Consort german: link=no, Franz Albert August Karl Emanuel , house = , father = Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha , mother = Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenbu ...

Prince Albert
, concerned himself with a reorganisation of the
household A household consists of one or several persons who live in the same dwelling In law, a dwelling (also residence, abode) is a self-contained unit of accommodation used by one or more households as a home A home, or domicile, is a s ...
offices and staff, and with addressing the design faults of the palace.Rappaport, p. 84. By the end of 1840, all the problems had been rectified. However, the builders were to return within the decade.Rappaport, p. 84. By 1847, the couple had found the palace too small for court life and their growing family and a new wing, designed by Edward Blore, was built by
Thomas Cubitt Thomas Cubitt (25 February 1788 – 20 December 1855) was a British master builder, notable for his employment in developing many of the historic streets and squares of London, especially in Belgravia Belgravia () is an affluent district i ...
, enclosing the central quadrangle. The large East Front, facing , is today the "public face" of Buckingham Palace, and contains the balcony from which the
royal family A royal family is the immediate family of kings/queens Queens is a borough of New York City, coextensive with Queens County, in the U.S. state of New York. It is the largest borough of New York City New York City (NYC), often simp ...
acknowledge the crowds on momentous occasions and after the annual
Trooping the Colour at Trooping the Colour 2007. The rider of the piebald pattern A piebald or pied animal is one that has a pattern of unpigmented spots (white) on a pigmented background of hair, feathers or scales. Thus a piebald black and white dog is a black ...

Trooping the Colour
. The ballroom wing and a further suite of state rooms were also built in this period, designed by Nash's student Sir James Pennethorne.King, p. 217. Before Prince Albert's death, the palace was frequently the scene of musical entertainments, and the most celebrated contemporary musicians entertained at Buckingham Palace. The composer
Felix Mendelssohn Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (3 February 18094 November 1847), born and widely known as Felix Mendelssohn, was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic Romantic may refer to: Genres and eras * The ...

Felix Mendelssohn
is known to have played there on three occasions. Johann Strauss II and his orchestra played there when in England. Under Victoria, Buckingham Palace was frequently the scene of lavish costume balls, in addition to the usual royal ceremonies, investitures and presentations. Widowed in 1861, the grief-stricken Queen withdrew from public life and left Buckingham Palace to live at
Windsor Castle Windsor Castle is a at in the English county of . It is strongly associated with the and succeeding , and embodies almost a millennium of . The original castle was built in the 11th century after the by . Since the time of (who re ...

Windsor Castle
,
Balmoral Castle Balmoral Castle () is a large estate house Historically, an estate comprises the houses, outbuildings, supporting farmland, and woods that surround the gardens and grounds of a very large property, such as a country house or mansion. It is ...

Balmoral Castle
and
Osborne House Osborne House is a former royal residence in East Cowes, Isle of Wight The Isle of Wight () is a Counties of England, ceremonial county and the List of islands of England, largest and second-most populous island in England. It is in the En ...

Osborne House
. For many years the palace was seldom used, even neglected. In 1864, a note was found pinned to the fence of Buckingham Palace, saying: "These commanding premises to be let or sold, in consequence of the late occupant's declining business." Eventually, public opinion persuaded the Queen to return to London, though even then she preferred to live elsewhere whenever possible. Court functions were still held at Windsor Castle, presided over by the sombre Queen habitually dressed in mourning black, while Buckingham Palace remained shuttered for most of the year.Robinson, p. 9.


Early 20th century (1901–1945)

In 1901, the new king, Edward VII, began redecorating the palace. The King and his wife,
Queen Alexandra Alexandra of Denmark (Alexandra Caroline Marie Charlotte Louise Julia; 1 December 1844 – 20 November 1925) was Queen of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Empress of India from 1901 to 1910 as the wife of King-Emperor Edward ...

Queen Alexandra
, had always been at the forefront of London high society, and their friends, known as "the
Marlborough House Marlborough House, a listed building, Grade I listed mansion in St James's, City of Westminster, London, is the headquarters of the Commonwealth of Nations and the seat of the Commonwealth Secretariat. It was built for Sarah Churchill, Duches ...

Marlborough House
Set", were considered to be the most eminent and fashionable of the age. Buckingham Palace—the Ballroom, Grand Entrance, Marble Hall, Grand Staircase, vestibules and galleries were redecorated in the
Belle Époque The Belle Époque or La Belle Époque (; French language, French for "Beautiful Epoch") is the term often given to a period of History of France, French and European history, usually dated to between 1871–80 and the outbreak of World War I ...
cream and gold colour scheme they retain today—once again became a setting for entertaining on a majestic scale but leaving some to feel Edward's heavy redecorations were at odds with Nash's original work. The last major building work took place during the reign of George V when, in 1913,
Sir Aston Webb Sir Aston Webb (22 May 1849 – 21 August 1930) was an English architect An architect is a person who plans, designs and oversees the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in connection with the design ...
redesigned Blore's 1850 East Front to resemble in part
Giacomo Leoni , Cheshire Cheshire ( ; (Welsh language, Welsh: ''Sir Gaer'') formerly the County Palatine of Chester) is a Ceremonial counties of England, county in the North West of England, bordering Merseyside and Greater Manchester to the north, Derbyshire ...
's
Lyme Park Lyme Park is a large estate located south of Disley, Cheshire Cheshire ( ; (Welsh language, Welsh: ''Sir Gaer'') formerly the County Palatine of Chester) is a Ceremonial counties of England, county in the North West of England, bordering Mer ...

Lyme Park
in Cheshire. This new, refaced principal façade (of Portland stone) was designed to be the backdrop to the
Victoria Memorial The Victoria Memorial is a large marble building in Kolkata Kolkata ( or , ; also known as Calcutta , List of renamed Indian cities and states#West Bengal, the official name until 2001) is the Capital city, capital of the Indian States ...
, a large memorial statue of Queen Victoria created by sculptor , erected outside the main gates on a surround constructed by architect Sir Aston Webb. George V, who had succeeded Edward VII in 1910, had a more serious personality than his father; greater emphasis was now placed on official entertaining and royal duties than on lavish parties. He arranged a series of command performances featuring jazz musicians such as the
Original Dixieland Jazz Band The Original Dixieland Jass Band (ODJB) was a Dixieland jazz band that made the first jazz recordings in early 1917. Their " Livery Stable Blues" became the first jazz record ever issued. The group composed and recorded many jazz standard Jaz ...
(1919; the first jazz performance for a head of state),
Sidney Bechet Sidney Joseph Bechet (May 14, 1897 – May 14, 1959) was an American jazz Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with ...
, and
Louis Armstrong Louis Daniel Armstrong (August 4, 1901 – July 6, 1971), nicknamed "Satchmo", "Satch", and "Pops", was an American trumpeter The trumpet is a brass instrument commonly used in Classical music, classical and jazz musical ensemble, ens ...

Louis Armstrong
(1932), which earned the palace a nomination in 2009 for a (Kind of) Blue Plaque by the
Brecon Jazz Festival The Brecon Jazz Festival is a music festival held annually in Brecon, Wales. Normally staged in early August, it has played host to a range of jazz Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Lo ...

Brecon Jazz Festival
as one of the venues making the greatest contribution to jazz music in the United Kingdom. During the
First World War World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainmen ...
, which lasted from 1914 until 1918, the palace escaped unscathed. Its more valuable contents were evacuated to Windsor, but the royal family remained in residence. The King imposed
rationing Rationing is the controlled distribution of scarce resources, goods, services, or an artificial restriction of demand. Rationing controls the size of the ration, which is one's allowed portion of the resources being distributed on a particular ...
at the palace, much to the dismay of his guests and household. To the King's later regret,
David Lloyd George David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, (17 January 1863 – 26 March 1945) was a British statesman and Liberal Party The Liberal Party is any of many political parties A political party is an organization that coordinat ...

David Lloyd George
persuaded him to go further and ostentatiously lock the wine cellars and refrain from alcohol, to set a good example to the supposedly inebriated working class. The workers continued to imbibe, and the King was left unhappy at his enforced abstinence. George V's wife, Queen Mary, was a connoisseur of the arts, and took a keen interest in the Royal Collection of furniture and art, both restoring and adding to it. Queen Mary also had many new fixtures and fittings installed, such as the pair of marble
Empire style The Empire style (, ''style Empire'') is an early-nineteenth-century design A design is a plan or specification for the construction of an object or system or for the implementation of an activity or process, or the result of that plan or spec ...
chimneypieces by
Benjamin Vulliamy Benjamin Vulliamy (1747 – 31 December 1811), was a clockmaker of early modern clockmakers, 1568 A clockmaker is an artisan who makes and/or repairs clocks. Since almost all clocks are now factory-made, most modern clockmakers only repair c ...

Benjamin Vulliamy
, dating from 1810, which the Queen had installed in the ground floor Bow Room, the huge low room at the centre of the garden façade. Queen Mary was also responsible for the decoration of the Blue Drawing Room. This room, long, previously known as the South Drawing Room, has a ceiling designed by Nash, coffered with huge gilt console brackets. In 1938, the north-west pavilion, designed by Nash as a conservatory, was converted into a swimming pool.


Second World War

During the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, which broke out in 1939, the palace was bombed nine times. The most serious and publicised incident destroyed the palace chapel in 1940. This event was shown in cinemas throughout the United Kingdom to show the common suffering of rich and poor. One bomb fell in the palace quadrangle while George VI and (the future Queen Mother) were in the palace, and many windows were blown in and the chapel destroyed. War-time coverage of such incidents was severely restricted, however. The King and Queen were filmed inspecting their bombed home; it was at this time the Queen famously declared: "I'm glad we have been bombed. Now I can look the
East End The East End of London, often referred to within the London area simply as the East End, is the historic core of wider East London East London is a popularly and informally defined part of London London is the Capital city, cap ...
in the face". The royal family were seen as sharing their subjects' hardship, as '' The Sunday Graphic'' reported: On 15 September 1940, known as Battle of Britain Day, an RAF pilot, Ray Holmes of No. 504 Squadron RAF rammed a German Dornier Do 17 bomber he believed was going to bomb the Palace. Holmes had run out of ammunition and made the quick decision to ram it. Holmes bailed out and the aircraft crashed into the forecourt of London Victoria station. The bomber's engine was later exhibited at the Imperial War Museum in London. The British pilot became a Queen's Messenger, King's Messenger after the war and died at the age of 90 in 2005. On Victory in Europe Day, VE Day—8 May 1945—the palace was the centre of British celebrations. The King, the Queen, Elizabeth II, Princess Elizabeth (the future Queen), and Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, Princess Margaret appeared on the balcony, with the palace's blacked-out windows behind them, to cheers from a vast crowd in The Mall. The damaged Palace was carefully restored after the war by Mowlem, John Mowlem & Co.


Late 20th century to present day

Many of the palace's contents are part of the Royal Collection, held in trust by Elizabeth II; they can, on occasion, be viewed by the public at the
Queen's Gallery The Queen's Gallery is the main public art gallery An art gallery is a room or a building in which visual art is displayed. Among the reasons art may be displayed are aesthetic enjoyment, cultural enrichment, or for marketing purposes. While ...
, near the Royal Mews. The purpose-built gallery opened in 1962 and displays a changing selection of items from the collection. It occupies the site of the chapel that was destroyed in the Second World War. The palace was designated a Grade I listed building in 1970. Its state rooms have been open to the public during August and September and on some dates throughout the year since 1993. The money raised in entry fees was originally put towards the rebuilding of Windsor Castle after the 1992 Windsor Castle fire, 1992 fire devastated many of its state rooms. In the year to 31 March 2017, 580,000 people visited the palace, and 154,000 visited the gallery. The palace, like Windsor Castle, is owned by the reigning monarch in right of the Crown. Occupied royal palaces are not part of the Crown Estate, but nor are they the monarch's personal property, unlike Sandringham House and
Balmoral Castle Balmoral Castle () is a large estate house Historically, an estate comprises the houses, outbuildings, supporting farmland, and woods that surround the gardens and grounds of a very large property, such as a country house or mansion. It is ...

Balmoral Castle
. Her Majesty's Government is responsible for maintaining the palace in exchange for the profits made by the Crown Estate. In November 2015, the State Dining Room was closed for a year and a half because its ceiling had become potentially dangerous. A 10-year schedule of maintenance work, including new plumbing, wiring, boilers, and radiators, and the installation of solar panels on the roof, has been estimated to cost £369 million and was approved by the prime minister in November 2016. It will be funded by a temporary increase in the Sovereign Grant paid from the income of the Crown Estate and is intended to extend the building's working life by at least 50 years. In March 2017, the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons backed funding for the project by 464 votes to 56. Buckingham Palace is a symbol and home of the British monarchy, an art gallery, and a tourist attraction. Behind the gilded railings and gates that were completed by the Bromsgrove Guild in 1911 and Webb's famous façade, which has been described in a book published by the Royal Collection Trust as looking "like everybody's idea of a palace", is not only a weekday home of Elizabeth II, but also the London residence of the Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Duke of York and the Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Earl and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Countess of Wessex. The palace also houses Royal Households of the United Kingdom, their offices, as well as those of the Anne, Princess Royal, Princess Royal and Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy, Princess Alexandra, and is the workplace of more than 800 people. Every year, some 50,000 invited guests are entertained at garden parties, receptions, audiences, and banquets. Garden at Buckingham Palace#Garden parties, Three garden parties are held in the summer, usually in July. The forecourt of Buckingham Palace is used for the Changing the Queen's Life Guard, Changing of the Guard, a major ceremony and tourist attraction (daily from April to July; every other day in other months).


Interior

The front of the palace measures across, by deep, by high and contains over of floorspace. There are 775 rooms, including 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices, 78 bathrooms, 52 principal bedrooms, and 19 state rooms. It also has a post office, cinema, swimming pool, doctor's surgery, and jeweller's workshop. The principal rooms are contained on the ''piano nobile'' behind the west-facing garden façade at the rear of the palace. The centre of this ornate suite of state rooms is the Music Room, its large bow the dominant feature of the façade. Flanking the Music Room are the Blue and the White Drawing Rooms. At the centre of the suite, serving as a corridor to link the state rooms, is the Picture Gallery, which is top-lit and long.Harris, p. 41. The Gallery is hung with numerous works including some by Rembrandt, Anthony van Dyck, van Dyck, Peter Paul Rubens, Rubens and Johannes Vermeer, 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 Guard Room contains white marble statues of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, in Roman costume, set in a Tribune (architecture), tribune lined with tapestries. These very formal rooms are used only for ceremonial and official entertaining but are open to the public every summer. Directly underneath the State room, State Apartments are the less grand semi-state apartments. Opening from the Marble Hall, these rooms are used for less formal entertaining, such as luncheon parties and private Head of state, audiences. Some of the rooms are named and decorated for particular visitors, such as the 1844 Room, decorated in that year for the state visit of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, and the 1855 Room, in honour of the visit of Emperor Napoleon III of France. At the centre of this suite is the Bow Room, through which thousands of guests pass annually to the Queen's garden parties. The Queen and Prince Philip use a smaller suite of rooms in the north wing. Between 1847 and 1850, when Blore was building the new east wing, the Brighton Pavilion was once again plundered of its fittings. As a result, many of the rooms in the new wing have a distinctly oriental atmosphere. The red and blue Chinese Luncheon Room is made up from parts of the Brighton Banqueting and Music Rooms with a large oriental chimney piece designed by Robert Jones (designer), Robert Jones and sculpted by Richard Westmacott.Harris, de Bellaigue & Miller, p. 87. It was formerly in the Music Room at the Brighton Pavilion. The ornate clock, known as the Qilin, Kylin Clock, was made in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi Province, China, in the second half of the 18th century; it has a later Movement (clockwork), movement by
Benjamin Vulliamy Benjamin Vulliamy (1747 – 31 December 1811), was a clockmaker of early modern clockmakers, 1568 A clockmaker is an artisan who makes and/or repairs clocks. Since almost all clocks are now factory-made, most modern clockmakers only repair c ...

Benjamin Vulliamy
circa 1820. The Yellow Drawing Room has wallpaper supplied in 1817 for the Brighton Saloon, and a chimney piece which is a European vision of how the Chinese chimney piece may appear. It has nodding Mandarin (bureaucrat), mandarins in Niche (architecture), niches and fearsome winged Chinese dragon, dragons, designed by Robert Jones. At the centre of this wing is the famous balcony with the Centre Room behind its glass doors. This is a Chinese-style saloon enhanced by Queen Mary, who, working with the designer Sir Charles Allom, created a more "binding" Chinese theme in the late 1920s, although the lacquer doors were brought from Brighton in 1873. Running the length of the ''piano nobile'' of the east wing is the Great Gallery, modestly known as the Principal Corridor, which runs the length of the eastern side of the quadrangle. It has mirrored doors and mirrored cross walls reflecting porcelain pagodas and other oriental furniture from Brighton. The Chinese Luncheon Room and Yellow Drawing Room are situated at each end of this gallery, with the Centre Room in between. The original early 19th-century interior designs, many of which still survive, included widespread use of brightly coloured
scagliola Scagliola (from the Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Ita ...
and blue and pink
lapis Lapis lazuli (; ), or lapis for short, is a deep-blue metamorphic rock used as a Gemstone, semi-precious stone that has been prized since ancient history, antiquity for its intense color. As early as the 7th millennium BC, lapis lazuli was mined ...

lapis
, on the advice of Sir Charles Long. King Edward VII oversaw a partial redecoration in a
Belle Époque The Belle Époque or La Belle Époque (; French language, French for "Beautiful Epoch") is the term often given to a period of History of France, French and European history, usually dated to between 1871–80 and the outbreak of World War I ...
cream and gold colour scheme.Jones, p. 43. When paying a state visit to Britain, foreign heads of state are usually entertained by the Queen at Buckingham Palace. They are allocated an extensive suite of rooms known as the Belgian Suite, situated at the foot of the Minister's Staircase, on the ground floor of the north-facing Garden Wing. Narrow corridors link the rooms of the suite, one of them is given extra height and perspective by saucer domes designed by Nash in the style of Soane.Harris, p. 82. A second corridor in the suite has Gothic-influenced Vault (architecture), cross-over vaulting. The Belgian Rooms themselves were decorated in their present style and named after King Leopold I of Belgium, uncle of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. In 1936, the suite briefly became the private apartments of the palace when King Edward VIII occupied them.


Court ceremonies

Investitures, which include the conferring of knighthoods by dubbing with a sword, and other awards take place in the palace's Ballroom, built in 1854. At long, wide and high, it is the largest room in the palace. It has replaced the throne room in importance and use. During investitures, the Queen stands on the throne dais beneath a giant, domed velvet canopy, known as a ''shamiana'' or a baldachin, that was used at the Delhi Durbar in 1911. A military band plays in the musicians' gallery as award recipients approach the Queen and receive their honours, watched by their families and friends.Healey, p. 364. State banquets also take place in the Ballroom; these formal dinners are held on the first evening of a state visit by a foreign head of state. On these occasions, for up to 170 guests in formal "white tie and decorations", including tiaras, the dining table is laid with the Grand Service, a collection of silver-gilt plate made in 1811 for the Prince of Wales, later George IV. The largest and most formal reception at Buckingham Palace takes place every November when the Queen entertains members of the diplomatic corps. On this grand occasion, all the state rooms are in use, as the royal family proceed through them, beginning at the great north doors of the Picture Gallery. As Nash had envisaged, all the large, double-mirrored doors stand open, reflecting the numerous crystal chandeliers and Sconce (light fixture), sconces, creating a deliberate optical illusion of space and light. Smaller ceremonies such as the reception of new ambassadors take place in the "1844 Room". Here too, the Queen holds small lunch parties, and often meetings of the Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, Privy Council. Larger lunch parties often take place in the curved and domed Music Room or the State Dining Room.Healey, pp. 363–365. Since the bombing of the palace chapel in World War II, royal christenings have sometimes taken place in the Music Room. The Queen's first three children were all baptised there. On all formal occasions, the ceremonies are attended by the Yeomen of the Guard, in their historic uniforms, and other officers of the court such as the Lord Chamberlain.


Former ceremonial


Court dress

Formerly, men not wearing military uniform wore knee breeches of 18th-century design. Women's evening dress included trains and tiaras or feathers in their hair (often both). The dress code governing formal Court uniform and dress in the United Kingdom, court uniform and dress has progressively relaxed. After the
First World War World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainmen ...
, when Queen Mary wished to follow fashion by raising her skirts a few inches from the ground, she requested a lady-in-waiting to shorten her own skirt first to gauge the King's reaction. King George V disapproved, so the Queen kept her hemline unfashionably low. Following his accession in 1936, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth allowed the hemline of daytime skirts to rise. Today, there is no official dress code. Most men invited to Buckingham Palace in the daytime choose to wear service uniform or lounge suits; a minority wear morning coats, and in the evening, depending on the formality of the occasion, black tie or white tie.


Court presentation of débutantes

Débutantes were aristocratic young ladies making their first entrée into society through a presentation to the monarch at court. These occasions, known as "coming out", took place at the palace from the reign of Edward VII. The débutantes entered—wearing full court dress, with three ostrich feathers in their hair—curtsied, performed a backwards walk and a further curtsey, while manoeuvring a dress train of prescribed length. The ceremony, known as an evening court, corresponded to the "court drawing rooms" of Victoria's reign. After World War II, the ceremony was replaced by less formal afternoon receptions, omitting the requirement court evening dress. In 1958, the Queen abolished the presentation parties for débutantes, replacing them with Garden at Buckingham Palace#Garden parties, Garden Parties, for up to 8,000 invitees in the Garden. They are the largest functions of the year.


Garden and surroundings

At the rear of the palace is the large and park-like garden, which together with its lake is the largest private garden in London. There, the Queen hosts her annual garden parties each summer and also holds large functions to celebrate royal milestones, such as jubilees. It covers and includes a helicopter landing area, a lake, and a tennis court. Adjacent to the palace is the Royal Mews, also designed by Nash, where the royal carriages, including the Gold State Coach, are housed. This rococo gilt coach, designed by Sir William Chambers in 1760, has painted panels by Giovanni Battista Cipriani, G. B. Cipriani. It was first used for the State Opening of Parliament by George III in 1762 and has been used by the monarch for every coronation since George IV. It was last used for the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II. Also housed in the mews are the coach horses used at royal ceremonial processions. , a ceremonial approach route to the palace, was designed by Sir Aston Webb and completed in 1911 as part of a grand memorial to
Queen Victoria Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of En ...

Queen Victoria
. It extends from Admiralty Arch, across St James's Park to the
Victoria Memorial The Victoria Memorial is a large marble building in Kolkata Kolkata ( or , ; also known as Calcutta , List of renamed Indian cities and states#West Bengal, the official name until 2001) is the Capital city, capital of the Indian States ...
. This route is used by the cavalcades and motorcades of visiting heads of state, and by the royal family on state occasions—such as the annual
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Trooping the Colour
.


Security breaches

The boy Jones was an intruder who gained entry to the palace on three occasions between 1838 and 1841.Charles Dickens, Dickens, Charles (5 July 1885)
The boy Jones
, ''All the Year Round'', pp. 234–37.
At least 12 people have managed to gain unauthorised entry into the palace or its grounds since 1914, including Michael Fagan incident, Michael Fagan, who broke into the palace twice in 1982 and entered the Queen's bedroom on the second occasion. At the time, news media reported that he had a long conversation with the Queen while she waited for security officers to arrive, but in a 2012 interview with ''The Independent'', Fagan said the Queen ran out of the room, and no conversation took place. It was only in 2007 that trespassing on the palace grounds became a specific criminal offence.


See also

* Flags at Buckingham Palace * List of British royal residences * Queen's Guard


Notes


References


Bibliography

* Allison, Ronald; Riddell, Sarah (1991). ''The Royal Encyclopedia''. London: Macmillan. * Blaikie, Thomas (2002). ''You Look Awfully Like the Queen: Wit and Wisdom from the House of Windsor''. London: Harper Collins. . * Goring, O. G. (1937). ''From Goring House to Buckingham Palace''. London: Ivor Nicholson & Watson. * Harris, John; de Bellaigue, Geoffrey; & Miller, Oliver (1968). ''Buckingham Palace''. London: Nelson. . * Healey, Edma (1997). ''The Queen's House: A Social History of Buckingham Palace''. London: Penguin Group. . * Hedley, Olwen (1971) ''The Pictorial History of Buckingham Palace''. Pitkin, . * * * Compton Mackenzie, Mackenzie, Compton (1953). ''The Queen's House''. London: Hutchinson. * Nash, Roy (1980). ''Buckingham Palace: The Place and the People''. London: Macdonald Futura. . * * * Robinson, John Martin (1999). ''Buckingham Palace''. Published by The
Royal Collection The Royal Collection of the British royal family is the largest private art collection in the world. Spread among 13 occupied and historic List of British royal residences, royal residences in the United Kingdom, the collection is owned by Elizab ...
, St James's Palace, London . * Williams, Neville (1971). ''Royal Homes''. The Lutterworth Press. . * Cecil Woodham-Smith, Woodham-Smith, Cecil (1973). ''Queen Victoria'' ''(vol 1)'' Hamish Hamilton Ltd. * Wright, Patricia (1999; first published 1996). ''The Strange History of Buckingham Palace''. Stroud, Gloucs.: Sutton Publishing Ltd. .


External links


Buckingham Palace
at the Royal Family website
Account of Buckingham Palace, with prints of Arlington House and Buckingham House
from ''Old and New London'' (1878)
Account of the acquisition of the Manor of Ebury
from ''Survey of London'' (1977)
The State Rooms, Buckingham Palace
at the Royal Collection Trust * {{Authority control, MBP= Buckingham Palace, 1837 establishments in England Buildings and structures on The Mall, London Edward Blore buildings Edwardian architecture in London Georgian architecture in London Grade I listed buildings in the City of Westminster Grade I listed palaces Historic house museums in London Houses completed in 1703 Houses completed in 1762 John Nash buildings Museums in the City of Westminster Neoclassical architecture in London Neoclassical palaces Palaces in London Regency architecture in London Royal buildings in London Royal residences in the City of Westminster Terminating vistas in the United Kingdom Tourist attractions in the City of Westminster Geographical articles missing image alternative text