Wednesday, April 24, 2024

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, ITS HISTORY AND INTERESTING FACTS

Obviously, the most famous symbol of Great Britain is Buckingham Palace. It’s a majestic royal residence in the Classical style and the first place tourists come to see. By the way, the current dynasty of British monarchs has been ruling the country for over a thousand years. Learn more at london-future.

Construction of the Palace

Previously, Buckingham Palace was known as Buckingham House and belonged to the Duke of Buckingham,  who started its construction in 1703. However, in 1762, the place was bought by King George III as his future residence, as his former home St. James’s Palace seemed too small and not pretty enough for him. King George III paid £21,000 for the new palace. Renowned architects John Nash and Edward Blore have been renovating the building for 75 years, adding new outbuildings. In those days, such a large-scale construction cost £700,000, which was an incredible amount back then. Most of the cost was spent on 500 blocks of Carrara marble. During his residence, King George III dedicated several rooms of the palace to a home library with 67,000 volumes.

Buckingham Palace was declared the main residence of the royal family in 1837 when Queen Victoria took over. During her reign, major changes were made to the appearance of the palace and garden, including the relocation of the main entrance.

The most beautiful room of the palace, the ballroom, was opened in 1853, 3 years after the construction was finished.

A team of 700 people is constantly working here to maintain the palace and its grounds. A big part of them live in the palace to ensure the comfort of the royal family. They are fully engaged in all household matters as well as the organization of receptions.

Despite the pompousness of the palace, not all the monarchs who lived here were satisfied. For example, the Duke of Windsor wrote in his memoirs that the long corridors as well as the incredible number of rooms are inconvenient and that living there is unbearable because of the constant smell of mold.

Features of the interior

There are 775 hall rooms and various chambers in Buckingham Palace, so you can easily get lost inside. The royal family occupies just 52 rooms, all others are used for various receptions and negotiations or function as offices and accommodation for personnel.

In the very beginning, blue and pink colors were mostly used in the interior of the palace. Over time, new fashions and trends influenced the Buckingham Palace interior. Currently, cream, beige and golden shades are predominant. Each room presents antique furniture of the Baroque, Neoclassical and even Rococo styles. In the throne room, there are two chairs with embroidered names of Queen Victoria and her husband on them. By tradition, the Queen met her subjects sitting in a chair instead of the throne in order to be closer to people.

There is also an open for visitors art gallery in the palace. You can always see something new here, including pieces from Queen’s personal collection. The gallery also presents the masterpieces of famous artists from all over the world, such as Leonardo da Vinci, Titian and Peter Paul Rubens.

In addition, some rooms in the palace present incredible golden dinner sets for solemn events and receptions.

The Buckingham Palace park

The surrounding gardens are considered the largest and most beautiful in modern London. The architects who built and renovated the palace also created the landscape of the gardens.  In 1828, an artificial lake was created here too.

In addition, the royal park features beautiful flat lawns, alleys, colourful flower beds and even waterfalls. You can also meet flamingos, which live here and sometimes get tired of tourists and the noise of the city.

Interesting facts and traditions of Buckingham Palace

There is an important rule and, at the same time, an interesting fact about Buckingham Palace. When the British monarch is absent, the royal flag of Great Britain, the Union Jack, flies over the palace. But when the monarch is at home, the royal standard, which consists of yellow, red and blue colours, is raised above the palace.

Another palace tradition has already become a hallmark of London and made the place so popular among tourists. It’s the Changing of The King’s Guard, which takes place every day at 11:30 a.m. in the period from April to the end of August. The process follows a clear script but looks incredible and totally worth seeing. In autumn and winter, the Guard changes every other day with the same scenario.

It is interesting that one of the Buckingham Palace architects, namely Edward Blore, was also the author of the Vorontsov Palace in Alupka, which was built according to his design.

One more and less-known fact is that John Nash, one of the architects, was prone to using allocated funds “in a different way”. They say that this information can be proven with historical evidence. He built quickly without paying attention to quality. When Queen Victoria came to the throne in Buckingham Palace, 3 years after it was built, it turned out that it was almost impossible to live there. The reason was quite simple. Most of the windows just couldn’t be opened at all. 

Buckingham Palace balcony

The most important tradition of Buckingham Palace is greeting the subjects on its balcony. It was started by Queen Victoria, who was the first to use the balcony to greet people. In 7 years, she appeared on the balcony again accompanied by the whole family to thank those who came to the palace to congratulate the queen’s daughter, Princess Victoria, on her wedding. This tradition exists till nowadays.

As a rule, the queen stands in the centre, but she can give up her place to a bride and a groom if the reason for the celebration is a wedding. There are no established rules for the balcony greetings, but the Queen’s children and grandchildren were always placed around her.

There must always be a special occasion or big celebration for a royal balcony greeting. For example, every year, the family made a balcony greeting on the Queen’s birthday, making the event so special. The Queen and her family inspected the royal troops and returned to the palace in carriages to officially greet the crowd from the balcony.

Another gorgeous tradition of the royal balcony is a wedding kiss, which became iconic after Prince Charles and Princess Diana did it for the first time in 1981. Since then, it is impossible to imagine a royal wedding without a balcony kiss. Thus, this tradition is followed by all members of the royal family.

Buckingham Palace today is one of the biggest and most visited tourist attractions in London. Every summer over 50,000 people visit the palace and experience the freshness of the beautiful alleys in the royal garden.

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