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.
Buckingham Palace (UK: /ˈbʌkɪŋəm ˈpælɪs/) is the London
residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United
Kingdom.[a] Located in the 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
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 central courtyard.
Buckingham Palace became the London
residence of the British monarch on the accession of
Queen Victoria in
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
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.
1.2 First houses on the site
1.2.1 Goring House
1.2.2 Arlington House
1.2.3 Buckingham House
Queen's House to palace
2 Home of the monarch
2.2 Court ceremonies
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 Court presentation of débutantes
2.3.3 Security breaches
Royal Mews and The Mall
3 Modern history
3.1 21st century: Royal use and public access
4 See also
8 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 it.
In the 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.[b]
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
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
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
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
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
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.[d]
Sheffield's leasehold on the mulberry garden site, the freehold of
which was still owned by the royal family, was due to expire in
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,[e] and 14 of her 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" was used from at least
After his accession to the throne in 1820, King George IV
continued the renovation with the idea in mind of a small, comfortable
home. But 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
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 right).
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 decade.
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. 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 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
Widowed in 1861, the grief-stricken Queen withdrew from public life
Buckingham Palace to live at Windsor Castle, Balmoral Castle
and 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. 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 in reality.
The palace measures 108 metres (354 ft) by 120 m
(390 ft), is 24 m (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, the
Hofburg Palace in
Vienna, and the Forbidden City. 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 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
Directly underneath the 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
audiences. Some of the rooms are named and decorated for particular
visitors, such as the 1844 Room, decorated in that year for the state
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.
The Duke of Edinburgh in the Chinese Luncheon Room
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 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.
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 colour scheme.
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 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
sconces, creating a deliberate optical illusion of space and
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
as the 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 (often both). The dress code governing
formal court uniform and dress has progressively relaxed. After 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.
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,[f] for up to
8,000 invitees in the Garden. They are the largest functions of the
The boy Jones
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 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
Royal Mews and The Mall
The west façade of Buckingham Palace, faced in Bath stone, seen from
the palace garden
Further information: 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 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 the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II. Also housed in
the mews are the coach horses used at royal ceremonial
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
Visiting heads of state are received by the Queen at either Buckingham
Palace or Windsor Castle. Here, United States President Barack Obama
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
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 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 (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 sculptor Sir
Thomas Brock in 1911
and erected in front of the main gates at the palace on a surround
constructed by architect Sir Aston Webb.
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 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 swimming pool.
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 Graphic reported:
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
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
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
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
Mowlem & Co. It was designated a Grade I listed
building in 1970.
21st century: Royal use and public access
Every year, some 50,000 invited guests are entertained at garden
parties, receptions, audiences, and banquets. Three
Garden Parties are
held in the summer, usually in July. The Forecourt of Buckingham
Palace is used for Changing of the Guard, a major ceremony and tourist
attraction (daily from April to July; every other day in other
The Queen's Gallery
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
Windsor Castle after the 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.
Her Majesty's Government
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
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
^ 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
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 British Monarchy).
^ The topography of the site and its ownership are dealt with in
Wright, chapters 1–4.
^ 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 Audley
Street, South Audley Street, and Davies Street, all in Mayfair.
^ The purchase price is given by Wright p. 142 as £28,000.
^ 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 appointment.
^ Princess Margaret is reputed to have remarked of the débutante
presentations: "We had to put a stop to it, every tart in
^ 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
Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (Designated Sites under
Section 128) Order 2007.
^ "Buckingham". Collins Dictionary. n.d. Retrieved 23 September
^ "Palace". Collins Dictionary. n.d. Retrieved 23 September
^ Royal Household. "Buckingham Palace". Royal Family website.
Retrieved 21 April 2016.
^ a b Robinson, p. 14.
^ Goring, p. 15.
^ 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.
^ 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.
^ Mackenzie, p. 12
^ Harris, p. 24.
^ a b Old and New London. 4. Cassell, Petter & Galpin. 1878.
^ Jones, p. 42.
^ Burke, Edmund, ed. (1791). The Annual Register. p. 8. Retrieved
25 September 2016. Buckingham-palace was the dwelling house of the
^ 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.
^ "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.
^ a b 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.
^ "Who has lived at Buckingham Palace?".
Royal Collection Trust.
Archived from the original on 12 June 2017. Retrieved 12 June
^ 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 and Healey, pp. 387–388.
^ "Visit the State Rooms, Buckingham Palace".
Royal Collection Trust.
Retrieved 7 February 2016.
^ 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.
^ a b Harris, de Bellaigue & Miller, p. 87.
^ Harris, de Bellaigue & Miller, p. 135.
^ Healey, pp. 159–160.
^ Harris, de Bellaigue & Miller, p. 93.
^ Harris, de Bellaigue & Miller, p. 91.
^ John Harris; Geoffrey De Bellaigue; Oliver Millar (1968). 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.
^ a b Healey, pp. 363–365.
^ Robinson, p. 49.
^ Healey, p. 233, quoting The Memoirs of Mabell, Countess of Airlie,
edited and arranged by Jennifer Ellis, London: Hutchinson, 1962.
^ Anthony Seldon (1999). 10 Downing Street: The Illustrated History.
Harper Collins Illustrated. p. 202.
^ 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.
^ Blaikie, Thomas (2002). You look awfully like the Queen. 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,
^ 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.
Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005
Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (Designated Sites
under Section 128) Order 2007". Legislation.gov.uk. 1 June 2007.
Retrieved 11 June 2017.
^ "Buckingham Palace". Archived from the original on 2 May 2008.
Retrieved 3 February 2009. (Museum of London.) Retrieved 2 May
^ "Gold State Coach".
Royal Collection Trust. Inventory no.
^ "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".
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, p. 325.
^ "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.) Retrieved
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^ "Sir Edgar Beck". The Telegraph. London. 9 August 2000. Retrieved 5
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Buckingham Palace.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Buckingham Palace.
Buckingham Palace at the Royal Family website
Account of Buckingham Palace, with prints of Arlington House and
Buckingham House from Old and New
Account of the acquisition of the Manor of Ebury from Survey of London
The State Rooms,
Buckingham Palace at the
Royal Collection Trust
Geographic data related to
Buckingham Palace at OpenStreetMap
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