Coordinates : 51°30′3″N 0°8′31″W / 51.50083°N
0.14194°W / 51.50083; -0.14194 The principal façade of
Buckingham Palace, the East Front, was originally constructed by
Edward Blore and completed in 1850. It was remodelled by Sir Aston
Webb in 1913.
Queen Victoria , the first monarch to reside at
Buckingham Palace, moved into the newly completed palace in 1837.
BUCKINGHAM PALACE (UK : /ˈbʌkɪŋəm ˈpælɪs/ ) is the London
residence and administrative headquarters of the reigning monarch of
the United Kingdom . Located in the
City of Westminster
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 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 built for the Duke of Buckingham
in 1703 on a site that had been in private ownership for at least 150
years. It was acquired by King George III in 1761 as a private
residence for Queen Charlotte and became known as The Queen's House.
During the 19th century it was enlarged, principally by architects
John Nash and Edward Blore, who constructed three wings around a
Buckingham Palace became the
London residence of
the British monarch on the accession of
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 royal family traditionally congregates
to greet crowds. The palace chapel was destroyed by a German bomb
during World War II; the Queen\'s Gallery was built on the site and
opened to the public in 1962 to exhibit works of art from the Royal
The original early 19th-century interior designs, many of which
survive, include widespread use of brightly coloured scagliola and
blue and pink lapis , on the advice of Sir Charles Long. King Edward
VII oversaw a partial redecoration in a
Belle Époque cream and gold
colour scheme. Many smaller reception rooms are furnished in the
Chinese regency style with furniture and fittings brought from the
Royal Pavilion at
Brighton and from
Carlton House . 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.
* 1 History
* 1.1 Site
* 1.2 First houses on the site
* 1.2.1 Goring House
* 1.2.2 Arlington House
* 1.2.3 Buckingham House
* 1.3 From Queen\'s House to palace
* 2 Home of the monarch
* 2.1 Interior
* 2.2 Court ceremonies
* 2.2.1 Investitures
* 2.2.2 State banquets
* 2.2.3 Other ceremonies and functions
* 2.3 Former ceremonial at the Palace
* 2.3.1 Court dress
* 2.3.2 "Coming Out" – Court presentation of débutantes
* 2.3.3 Security breaches
* 2.4 Garden,
Royal Mews and The Mall
* 3 Modern history
* 3.1 21st century: Royal use and public access
* 4 See also
* 5 Notes
* 6 References
* 7 External links
Buckingham House, c. 1710, was designed by
William Winde for the
1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby. This façade evolved into today's
Grand Entrance on the west (inner) side of the quadrangle, with the
Green Drawing Room above.
Middle Ages , 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 , 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;
Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor and his queen consort Edith of
Wessex in late Saxon times, and, after the Norman Conquest , William
the Conqueror . William gave the site to Geoffrey de Mandeville , who
bequeathed it to the monks of
Westminster Abbey .
In 1531, King Henry VIII acquired the Hospital of St James (later St
James\'s Palace ) from
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
William the Conqueror had given it away almost 500 years earlier.
Various owners leased it from royal landlords and the freehold 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 4-acre (16,000 m2) mulberry garden for the production of
silk. (This is at the northwest 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
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 and developed much of today's garden, then
known as Goring Great Garden. 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 before King Charles I fled
London, which it needed to do for legal execution". It was this
critical omission that helped the British royal family regain the
freehold under King George III .
The improvident Goring defaulted on his rents; Henry Bennet, 1st
Earl of Arlington obtained the mansion and was occupying it, now known
as Goring House, when it burned down in 1674. Arlington House rose on
the site—the location of the southern wing of today's palace—the
next year. In 1698, John Sheffield , later the first Duke of
Buckingham and Normanby , acquired the lease.
The palace c. 1837, depicting the
Marble Arch , which served as
the ceremonial entrance to the Palace precincts . It was moved to make
way for the east wing, built in 1847, which enclosed the quadrangle.
The house which forms the architectural core of the palace was built
for the first
Duke of Buckingham and Normanby in 1703 to the design of
William Winde . The style chosen was of a large, three-floored central
block with two smaller flanking service wings. Buckingham House was
eventually sold by Buckingham's natural son, Sir Charles Sheffield ,
in 1761 to George III for £ 21,000. Sheffield's leasehold 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
Under the new crown ownership, the building was originally intended
as a private retreat for King George III's wife, 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 Somerset
House , and 14 of their 15 children were born there. Some furnishings
were transferred from
Carlton House , and others had been bought in
France after the French Revolution of 1789. While St James\'s Palace
remained the official and ceremonial royal residence, the name
"Buckingham-palace" began from at least 1791.
After his accession to the throne in 1820, King George IV continued
the renovation with the idea in mind of a small, comfortable home.
While the work was in progress, in 1826, the King decided to modify
the house into a palace with the help of his architect John Nash .
The external façade was designed keeping in mind the French
neo-classical 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 architect. On the death of George
IV in 1830, his younger brother King William IV hired
Edward Blore to
finish the work. After the destruction of the Palace of Westminster
by fire in 1834, William considered converting the palace into the new
Houses of Parliament.
HOME OF THE MONARCH
The east wing of Buckingham Palace, the public façade,
enclosing the courtyard, was a later addition, built between 1847 and
1850; it was remodelled to its present form in 1913 (shown on the
Buckingham Palace finally 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 rooms were a riot of gilt and colour, the
necessities of the new palace were somewhat less luxurious. For one
thing, it was reported the chimneys smoked so much that the fires had
to be allowed to die down, and consequently the court shivered in icy
magnificence. 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 , concerned
himself with a reorganisation of the household offices and staff, and
with the design faults of the palace. The problems were all rectified
by the close of 1840. However, the builders were to return within the
By 1847, the couple had found the palace too small for court life and
their growing family, and consequently the new wing, designed by
Edward Blore, was built by
Thomas Cubitt , enclosing the central
quadrangle. The large East Front, facing The Mall , is today the
"public face" of Buckingham Palace, and contains the balcony from
which the royal family acknowledge the crowds on momentous occasions
and after the annual
Trooping the Colour
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 .
Before Prince Albert's death, the palace was frequently the scene of
musical entertainments, and the greatest contemporary musicians
entertained at Buckingham Palace. The composer
Felix Mendelssohn is
known to have played there on three occasions.
Johann Strauss II
Johann Strauss II and
his orchestra played there when in England. Strauss's "Alice Polka"
was first performed at the palace in 1849 in honour of the queen's
daughter, Princess Alice . 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
Buckingham Palace to live at
Windsor Castle , Balmoral Castle
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.
Piano nobile of Buckingham Palace. A: State Dining Room; B: Blue
Drawing Room; C: Music Room; D: White Drawing Room; E: Royal Closet;
F: Throne Room; G: Green Drawing Room; H: Cross Gallery; J: Ballroom;
K: East Gallery; L: Yellow Drawing Room; M: Centre/Balcony Room; N:
Chinese Luncheon Room; O: Principal Corridor; P: Private Apartments;
Q: Service Areas; W: The Grand staircase. On the ground floor: R:
Ambassador's Entrance; T: Grand Entrance. The areas defined by shaded
walls represent lower minor wings. NOTE: This is an unscaled sketch
plan for reference only. Proportions of some rooms may slightly differ
The palace measures 108 metres (354 ft) by 120 metres (390 ft), is 24
metres (79 ft) high and contains over 77,000 m2 (830,000 sq ft) of
floorspace. The floor area is smaller than the Royal Palace of Madrid
, the Papal Palace and
Quirinal Palace in Rome, the
Louvre in Paris,
Hofburg Palace in Vienna, and the
Forbidden City . There are 775
rooms, including 19 state rooms, 52 principal bedrooms, 188 staff
bedrooms, 92 offices, and 78 bathrooms. The palace also has its own
post office, cinema, swimming pool, doctor's surgery, and jeweller's
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 55 yards (50 m) long. The Gallery is hung with numerous
works including some by
Rembrandt , van Dyck , Rubens and 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 lined with tapestries.
These very formal rooms are used only for ceremonial and official
entertaining, but are open to the public every summer. The Duke
of Edinburgh seated in the Chinese Luncheon Room, one of a series of
Chinese themed rooms on the piano nobile of the east wing. The
fireplace was designed by Robert Jones and sculpted by Richard
Westmacott . It was formerly in the Music Room at the Brighton
Pavilion. The ornate clock, known as the Kylin Clock was made in
Jingdezhen, Jiangxi Province, China, in the second half of the 18th
century; it has a later movement by
Benjamin Vulliamy circa 1820.
Directly underneath the State Apartments is a suite of slightly less
grand rooms known as the semi-state apartments. Opening from the
Marble Hall, these rooms are used for less formal entertaining, such
as luncheon parties and private 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, on the other side of the Bow Room, the 1855 Room, in
honour of the visit of Emperor
Napoleon III of France
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 in the Gardens. 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 sculpted by
Richard Westmacott . 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 mandarins in niches and fearsome
winged 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 obviously
placed in the centre.
The original early 19th-century interior designs, many of which still
survive, included widespread use of brightly coloured scagliola and
blue and pink lapis , on the advice of Sir Charles Long. King Edward
VII oversaw a partial redecoration in a Belle époque cream and gold
When paying a state visit to Britain, foreign heads of state are
usually entertained by the Queen at Buckingham Palace. They are
allocated a large 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. The rooms of the suite are linked by narrow
corridors, one of them is given extra height and perspective by saucer
domes designed by Nash in the style of Soane. A second corridor in
the suite has Gothic-influenced cross-over vaulting . The Belgian
Rooms themselves were decorated in their present style and named after
Prince Albert's uncle Léopold I , first King of the Belgians. In
1936, the suite briefly became the private apartments of the palace
when they were occupied by King
Edward VIII .
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 36.6 m (120 ft) long, 18 m (59 ft) wide and 13.5 m
(44 ft) 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.
Ballroom for a State
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
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 sconces,
creating a deliberate optical illusion of space and light.
Other Ceremonies And Functions
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 Privy Council . Larger lunch
parties often take place in the curved and domed Music Room, or the
State Dining Room. 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
Lord Chamberlain .
FORMER CEREMONIAL AT THE PALACE
The 1844 Room, a sitting room of the Belgium Suite, also serves
as an audience room and is often used for personal investitures.
President Nixon with members of the royal family in the ground floor
Formerly, men not wearing military uniform wore knee breeches of an
18th-century design. Women's evening dress included trains and tiaras
or feathers in their hair (or both). The dress code governing formal
court uniform and dress has progressively relaxed. After
World War I
World War I ,
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 was
horrified, so the queen kept her hemline unfashionably low. Following
their accession in 1936, King
George VI and his consort, 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 .
"Coming Out" – Court Presentation Of Débutantes
Débutantes were aristocratic young ladies making their first entrée
into society through presentation to the monarch at court. These
occasions, known as "coming out", took place at the palace from the
reign of Edward VII. Wearing full court dress, with three ostrich
feathers in their hair, débutantes entered, curtsied, and 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, usually omitting curtsies and court dress. In 1958, the
Queen abolished the presentation parties for débutantes, replacing
them with Garden Parties, for up to 8,000 invitees in the Garden .
They are the largest functions of the year.
The boy Jones was an intruder who gained entry to the palace on three
occasions between 1838 and 1841. At least 12 people have managed to
gain unauthorised entry into the palace or its grounds since 1914,
including 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
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 criminal offence.
GARDEN, ROYAL MEWS AND THE MALL
The west façade of Buckingham Palace, faced in
Bath stone ,
seen from the palace garden For more details on this topic, see
Garden at Buckingham Palace .
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 40 acres (16 ha), 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
Sir William Chambers in
1760, has painted panels by 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
Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II . Also housed in the mews are the
coach horses used at royal ceremonial processions.
The Mall , a ceremonial approach route to the palace, was designed by
Aston Webb and completed in 1911 as part of a grand memorial to
Queen Victoria . It extends from
Admiralty Arch , across St James\'s
Park to the Victoria Memorial . 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 Trooping the Colour.
Visiting heads of state are received by the Queen at either
Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle. Here, United States President
Barack Obama and
Michelle Obama are greeted in 2009 in the first-floor
audience chamber in the private apartments in the north wing.
In 1901 the accession of
Edward VII saw new life breathed into the
palace. The new King and his wife Queen Alexandra had always been at
the forefront of
London high society, and their friends, known as "the
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
redecorated in the Belle époque cream and gold colour scheme they
retain today—once again became a setting for entertaining on a
majestic scale but leaving some to feel King Edward's heavy
redecorations were at odds with Nash's original work.
The last major building work took place during the reign of King
George V when, in 1913, Sir
Aston Webb redesigned Blore's 1850 East
Front to resemble in part
Giacomo Leoni 's
Lyme Park in Cheshire. This
new, refaced principal façade (of
Portland stone ) was designed to be
the backdrop to the Victoria Memorial , a large memorial statue of
Queen Victoria, placed outside the main gates. George V, who had
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 (1919) – the first jazz performance for a head of state,
Sidney Bechet , and
Louis Armstrong (1932), which earned the palace a
nomination in 2009 for a (Kind of) Blue Plaque by the Brecon Jazz
Festival as one of the venues making the greatest contribution to jazz
music in the United Kingdom. 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 chimneypieces by 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, 69 feet (21 metres) long, previously known as the South
Drawing Room, has a ceiling designed specially by Nash, coffered with
huge gilt console brackets. The Victoria Memorial was created by
Thomas Brock in 1911 and erected in front of the main
gates at the palace on a surround constructed by architect Sir Aston
During World War I, the palace, then the home of King
George V and
Queen Mary, escaped unscathed. Its more valuable contents were
evacuated to Windsor but the royal family remained in situ. The King
imposed rationing at the palace, much to the dismay of his guests and
household. To the King's later regret,
David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George persuaded
him to go further by ostentatiously locking the wine cellars and
refraining 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. In 1938, the north-west
pavilion, designed by Nash as a conservatory, was converted into a
During World War II, the palace was bombed nine times, the most
serious and publicised of which resulted in the destruction of the
palace chapel in 1940. Coverage of this event was played in cinemas
all over the UK to show the common suffering of rich and poor. One
bomb fell in the palace quadrangle while King
George VI and Queen
Elizabeth were in residence, 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, the smiling Queen, as always, immaculately dressed in a
hat and matching coat seemingly unbothered by the damage around her.
It was at this time the Queen famously declared: "I'm glad we have
been bombed. Now I can look the East End in the face". The royal
family were seen as sharing their subjects' hardship, as The Sunday
By the Editor: The King and Queen have endured the ordeal which has
come to their subjects. For the second time a German bomber has tried
to bring death and destruction to the home of Their Majesties … When
this war is over the common danger which King George and Queen
Elizabeth have shared with their people will be a cherished memory and
an inspiration through the years.
On 15 September 1940, known as the
Battle of Britain Day , an RAF
Ray Holmes of
No. 504 Squadron RAF rammed a German 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.
Both aircraft crashed. In fact the
Dornier Do 17 bomber was empty. It
had already been damaged, two of its crew had been killed and the
remainder bailed out. Its pilot,
Feldwebel Robert Zehbe, landed, only
to die later of wounds suffered during the attack. During the
Dornier's descent, it somehow unloaded its bombs, one of which hit the
Palace. It then 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 King\'s Messenger after the war,
and died at the age of 90 in 2005.
On VE Day —8 May 1945—the palace was the centre of British
celebrations. The King, Queen, Princess Elizabeth (the future Queen),
and Princess Margaret appeared on the balcony, with the palace's
blacked-out windows behind them, to the cheers from a vast crowd in
the Mall . The damaged Palace was carefully restored after the War by
Mowlem every other day in other months). The Queen's
The palace, like Windsor Castle, is owned by the reigning monarch in
right of the Crown . It is not the monarch's personal property, unlike
Sandringham House and
Balmoral Castle . Many of the contents from
Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle,
Kensington Palace , and St James's
Palace are part of the Royal Collection, held in trust by the
Sovereign; they can, on occasion, be viewed by the public at the
Queen\'s Gallery , near the Royal Mews. Unlike the palace and the
castle, the purpose-built gallery is open continually and displays a
changing selection of items from the collection. It occupies the site
of the chapel destroyed by an air raid in World War II. The palace's
state rooms have been open to the public during August and September
and on selected dates throughout the year since 1993. The money raised
in entry fees was originally put towards the rebuilding of Windsor
Castle after the 1992 fire devastated many of its state rooms. In the
year to 31 March 2016, 519,000 people visited the palace, and 194,000
visited the gallery.
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 six months 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 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
Royal Collection Trust as looking "like everybody's idea of a
palace", is not only a weekday home of the Queen and Prince Philip
but also the
London residence of the Duke of York and the Earl and
Countess of Wessex . The palace also houses their offices , as well as
those of the Princess Royal and Princess Alexandra , and is the
workplace of more than 800 people.
Flags at Buckingham Palace
List of British royal residences
List of British royal residences
* Queen\'s Guard
* ^ "Buckingham". Collins Dictionary. n.d. Retrieved 23 September
* ^ "Palace". Collins Dictionary. n.d. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
* ^ By tradition, the British Royal Court is officially resident at
St James\'s Palace , which means that, while foreign ambassadors
assuming their new position are received by the
British sovereign at
Buckingham Palace, they are accredited to the "Court of St James's
Palace". This anomaly continues for the sake of tradition, as
Buckingham Palace is to all intents and purposes the official
residence . See History of St James\'s Palace (Official website of the
* ^ Royal Household. "Buckingham Palace". Royal Family website.
Retrieved 21 April 2016.
* ^ A B Robinson, p. 14.
* ^ Goring, p. 15.
* ^ The topography of the site and its ownership are dealt with in
Wright, chapters 1–4
* ^ Goring, p. 28.
* ^ Goring, p. 18.
* ^ "Chapter 1: The Acquisition of the Estate". The Grosvenor
Estate in Mayfair. Survey of
London . 39.
London County Council. 1977.
pp. 1–5. Retrieved 3 February 2009.
* ^ Wright, pp. 76–78.
* ^ Goring, pp. 31, 36.
* ^ Audley and Davies were key figures in the development of Ebury
Manor and also the Grosvenor Estate (see Dukes of Westminster ), which
still exists today. (They are remembered in the streetnames North
South Audley Street , and Davies Street, all in Mayfair
* ^ Wright, p. 83.
* ^ Goring, Chapter V
* ^ A B C Harris, p. 21.
* ^ Wright, p. 96.
* ^ Goring, p. 62.
* ^ Goring, p. 58.
* ^ A B "Who built Buckingham Palace?".
Royal Collection Trust.
Retrieved 8 March 2016.
* ^ Harris, p. 22.
* ^ Mackenzie, p. 12 and Nash, p. 18; although the purchase price
is given by Wright p. 142 as £28,000
* ^ Mackenzie, p. 12
* ^ Harris, p. 24.
* ^ A B Westminster: Buckingham Palace, Old and New London: Volume
4 (1878), pp. 61–74. Date accessed: 12 June 2017. The tradition
persists of foreign ambassadors being formally accredited to "the
Court of St James\'s ", even though it is at
Buckingham Palace that
they present their credentials and staff to the Monarch upon their
* ^ Jones, p. 42.
* ^ The Annual Register. 1791. p. 8. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
Buckingham-palace was the dwelling house of the king.
* ^ Harris, pp. 30–31.
* ^ Harris, p. 33.
* ^ "The Royal Residences >
Buckingham Palace > History".
www.royal.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 28 March 2010.
* ^ Ziegler, Phillip (1971). King William IV. Collins. p. 280. ISBN
* ^ "The Royal Residences > Buckingham Palace". www.royal.gov.uk.
Archived from the original on 27 March 2010.
* ^ Hedley, p. 10.
* ^ A B Woodham-Smith, p. 249.
* ^ Rappaport, p. 84.
* ^ Harris, de Bellaigue & Miller, p. 33.
* ^ Holland & Hannen and Cubitts – The Inception and Development
of a Great Building Firm, published 1920, p. 35.
* ^ Owens, Ed. "Buckingham Palace\'s balcony: a focal point for
national celebration". Immediate Media/BBC. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
* ^ King, p. 217.
* ^ Hedley, p. 19.
* ^ Healey, pp. 137–138.
* ^ Healey, p. 122.
* ^ Allen\'s Indian Mail, and Register of Intelligence for British
and Foreign India, China, and All Parts of the East. 8. 1850. p. 117.
* ^ "Who has lived at Buckingham Palace?".
Royal Collection Trust.
Archived from the original on 12 June 2017. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
* ^ John Gardiner (2006). The Victorians: An Age in Retrospect. A&C
Black. p. 142. ISBN 978-1-85285-560-4 .
* ^ A B C Robinson, p. 9.
* ^ A B C D E F G H "40 facts about Buckingham Palace". British
Monarchy website. Archived from the original on 4 November 2011.
* ^ Robinson, p. 11.
* ^ "Queen honours jeweller with top personal award". Times of
Tunbridge Wells. 6 January 2016. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
* ^ A B Harris, p. 41.
* ^ Harris, pp. 78–79.
* ^ Healey, pp. 387–388.
* ^ "Visit the State Rooms, Buckingham Palace". Royal Collection
Trust. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
* ^ A B Harris, de Bellaigue & Miller, p. 87.
* ^ Harris, de Bellaigue & Miller, p. 135.
* ^ Harris, p. 81.
* ^ Harris, p. 40.
* ^ Jerrold M. Packard (1982). The Queen and Her Court: A Guide to
the British Monarchy Today. Simon & Schuster. p. 48. ISBN
* ^ Healey, pp. 159–160.
* ^ Harris, de Bellaigue & Miller, p. 93.
* ^ Harris, de Bellaigue Geoffrey De Bellaigue; Oliver Millar
Buckingham Palace and its Treasures. Viking Press. p. 90.
* ^ Jones, p. 43.
* ^ A B Harris, p. 82.
* ^ Harris, p. 72.
* ^ A B Healey, p. 364.
* ^ "Royal seal of approval for state banquet exhibition". The
Telegraph. London. 25 July 2008. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
* ^ Healey, p. 362.
* ^ Hedley, p. 16.
* ^ Robinson, p. 18.
* ^ Healey, pp. 363–365.
* ^ Robinson, p. 49.
* ^ Healey, pp. 363–365.
* ^ Healey, p. 233, quoting The Memoirs of Mabell, Countess of
Airlie, edited and arranged by Jennifer Ellis, London: Hutchinson,
* ^ Anthony Seldon (1999). 10 Downing Street: The Illustrated
History. Harper Collins Illustrated. p. 202. ISBN 978-0-00-414073-5 .
* ^ Peacocke, pp. 178–179, 244–247.
* ^ Peacocke, pp. 264–265.
* ^ "Mailbox". Royal Insight Magazine. Archived from the original
on 23 January 2008. Retrieved 23 January 2008.
* ^ Princess Margaret is reputed to have remarked of the débutante
presentations: "We had to put a stop to it, every tart in
getting in." See Blaikie, Thomas (2002). You look awfully like the
Queen: Wit and Wisdom from the House of Windsor. London: Harper
Collins. ISBN 0-00-714874-7
* ^ Royal Household. "Garden parties: The guests". Official Website
of the British Monarchy. Archived from the original on 17 January
* ^ Punch , Volume 1: July–December 1841.
* ^ Dickens, Charles (5 July 1885) "The boy Jones", All the Year
Round , pp. 234–37.
* ^ Pam Tobey (24 September 2014). "Remember the guy who got into
the Queen’s bedroom?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
* ^ Dugan, Emily (19 February 2012). "Michael Fagan: \'Her nightie
was one of those Liberty prints, down to her knees\'". The Independent
on Sunday. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
* ^ "Trespass law targets royal sites". BBC News. 24 March 2007.
Retrieved 27 February 2016.
* ^ "Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005".
Legislation.gov.uk. 7 January 2005. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
* ^ "The
Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (Designated
Sites under Section 128) Order 2007". Legislation.gov.uk. 1 June 2007.
Retrieved 11 June 2017.
* ^ Under section 128(1) of the Serious Organised Crime and Police
Act 2005 , "A person commits an offence if he enters, or is on, any
designated site in England and Wales or Northern Ireland as a
Buckingham Palace is a designated site under the Serious
Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (Designated Sites under Section
128) Order 2007.
* ^ "Buckingham Palace". Archived from the original on 2 May 2008.
Retrieved 3 February 2009. (Museum of
London .) Retrieved 2 May 2009.
* ^ "Gold State Coach".
Royal Collection . 5000048.
* ^ "The Royal Residences > The Royal Mews". www.royal.gov.uk.
Archived from the original on 10 July 2009.
* ^ Nicholson, Louise (1998). London. London: Frances Lincoln. p.
56. ISBN 0-7112-1187-6 .
* ^ Robinson (Page 9) asserts that the decorations, including
plaster swags and other decorative motifs, are "finicky" and "at odds
with Nash's original detailing".
* ^ Harris, p. 34.
* ^ Healey, p. 185.
* ^ "
Buckingham Palace hits right note with jazz fans". London
Evening Standard. 3 August 2009. Archived from the original on 26
April 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2010.
* ^ Stephen Bates (3 August 2009). "By royal approval: Buckingham
Palace\'s place in jazz history". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 11
* ^ Healey pp. 221–222.
* ^ Harris, p. 63.
* ^ Rose, Kenneth (1983). King George V. London: Weidenfeld and
Nicolson. pp. 176–177. ISBN 0-297-78245-2 .
* ^ Rose, pp. 178–179.
* ^ Allison and Riddell, p. 69.
* ^ "Letter from Queen Elizabeth to Queen Mary describing the
bombing of Buckingham Palace, 13 September 1940". Royal Collection
Trust. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
* ^ Thornton, Michael (1984). Royal Feud. M.Joseph. p. 216.
* ^ The Sunday Graphic, 18 September 1939, p. 1.
* ^ Price, Alfred. The
Battle of Britain Day , Greenhill Books,
London, 1990, pp. 49–50 and
Stephen Bungay , The Most Dangerous
Enemy: A History of the Battle of Britain. Aurum Press, London, 2000,
* ^ "Pilot who \'saved Palace\' honoured". BBC News. 2 November
2005. Retrieved 18 March 2009.
* ^ 1945: Rejoicing at end of war in Europe (BBC On this day.)
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* ^ "Sir Edgar Beck". The Telegraph. London. 9 August 2000.
Retrieved 5 June 2012.
Historic England . "
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* ^ "About Buckingham Palace".
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* ^ "Changing the Guard".
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* ^ "About the Royal Collection".
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* ^ "
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