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Buckingham Palace, 1945

Buckingham Palace, 1945

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Buckingham Palace, 1945

This picture of Buckingham Palace was taken by Bob Tucker Sr on a visit to London after VE Day.

Pictures provided by Sgt. Robert S. Tucker Sr. (Member of: The American Air Museum in Britain {Duxford} ).
Robert S. WWII Photo Book, Mighty 8th. AF, Ground Crew

7 facts about Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth II's official London residence, has served as the administrative headquarters of the British monarch since 1837. It was built in 1703 as Buckingham House - a London residence for John Sheffield, the 3rd Earl of Mulgrave

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Published: November 11, 2020 at 5:00 pm

Today the palace has 775 rooms in total, including 19 state rooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. It is a focal point for significant national celebrations and commemorations, with more than 50,000 visitors each year. But how much do you know about the palace?

Here, we bring you seven historical facts about palace…

The palace was originally called Buckingham House

The palace first originated as Buckingham House, which was built by John Sheffield, 3rd Earl of Mulgrave and Marquess of Normandy, as his London residence in 1703. In the same year, Sheffield was made the Duke of Buckingham and he consequently named the house after his title.

In 1761, George III decided to purchase Buckingham House for his wife, Queen Charlotte, in order to create a comfortable family home near to St James’s Palace. As a result, 14 of George and Charlotte’s 15 children were born at the house.

The palace was built on a site where James I planted a mulberry garden in order to cultivate silkworms

However, it seems the king used the wrong type of mulberry bush and was unable to successfully produce any silk.

Queen Victoria was the first British monarch to use Buckingham palace as an official residence

Buckingham House was renovated into a palace in the 1820s after George IV commissioned architect John Nash. However, it was Queen Victoria who was the first British monarch to use the palace as their official residence when she moved there in 1837. Since then the palace has served as the official London residence of Britain’s sovereigns, and today it is the administrative headquarters of the monarch.

Queen Victoria was also the first monarch to use the balcony for public appearances

We are today familiar with members of the royal family waving to crowds from the balcony of Buckingham Palace. However, it was only in 1851, during the opening of the Great Exhibition – an international exhibition organised by Prince Albert – that Queen Victoria made the first ever public appearance on the balcony. It was in the 20 th century that George VI brought in the tradition of commemorating the end of the Trooping the Colour celebrations, which marks the monarch’s annual birthday parade, with a RAF fly-past.

Buckingham Palace has an impressive 775 rooms in total

With 775 rooms, Buckingam Palace boasts 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 19 state rooms and 78 bathrooms. There are also 760 windows and 1,514 doors.

The palace’s music room has, over the years, been used for royal christenings. The Prince of Wales, Princess Anne, the Duke of York and Prince William have all been christened there by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Edward VII (1841–1910) is the only monarch to have both been born and died at Buckingham palace

William IV was also born there, and our current queen, Elizabeth II, gave birth to the Prince of Wales and Prince Andrew at the palace.

Buckingham Palace was at the centre of the suffragette campaign in 1914

In 1914, a group of women attempted to breach the palace’s gates in order to present their ‘Votes for Women’ petition. Two suffragettes also chained themselves to the railings of the palace.

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The queen said that the issues Harry and Meghan raised, particularly related to race, are “concerning,” but she made it clear that if there is an inquiry, it’s findings would never become public.

“While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately,” the queen said.

Espionage and art

According to Michelle Carter, who has written a biography named ‘Anthony Blunt: His Lives’, Blunt provided Soviet intelligence officers with 1,771 documents between 1941 and 1945. The sheer amount of material passed over by Blunt made the Russians suspicious he was acting as a triple agent.

Blunt’s 1967 monograph on the French Baroque painter Nicolas Poussin (whose work is pictured, The Death of Germanicus) is still widely regarded as a watershed book in art history. (Image Credit: Public Domain)

During the Second World War, Blunt was prolific in publishing critical essays and papers on art. He began working for the Royal Collection, writing a catalogue of the French old master drawings at Windsor Castle.

He soon served as the Surveyor of the King’s (then the Queen’s) Pictures from 1945 to 1972. During his time looking after the Royal Collection, he became a close friend of the Royal Family, who trusted him and later awarded him a knighthood.

Somerset House on The Strand houses the Courtauld Institute. (Image Credit: Stephen Richards / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Blunt worked his way up at the Courtauld Institute, eventually becoming director from 1947-1974. During his time in charge, the Institute went from a struggling academy to a highly-respected centre of the art world.

Blunt was an esteemed and celebrated Art Historian, and his books are still read widely today.

From House to Palace

George IV (1762-1830) ascended to the throne in January 1820. At first, he wished to renovate the property to his tastes. He changed his mind and decided that he wanted a spectacular palace constructed around the existing house. It was to have three wings, a grand forecourt and a triumphal arch to commemorate English military victories. John Nash (1752-1835,) the architect who George had worked with when designing Brighton Pavilion was commissioned for the project.

Nash spent at least two to three times over the original sum agreed and he fell behind schedule. As the bills mounted, the ailing George IV viewed the palace, its exterior clad in golden hued Bath stone, as a masterpiece. An unfinished one. He died in June 1830. New king William IV (1765-1837) and his wife Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen were appalled by the amount of money Nash had spent. The Prime Minister told Nash that he was sacked.

William IV set his First Commissioner of Woods, Forests and Land Revenues, John Ponsonby, Viscount Duncannon (1781-1847, later 4 th Earl of Bessborough) to the task of achieving completion of the work at a lower cost. Sir Edward Blore (1787-1879) was hired by Duncannon. He altered the wing lengths and created another entrance on the south side of the palace. The State Rooms were completed by 1834.

William and Adelaide didn’t care for the palace and so they resided at Clarence House and at Bushy House in Teddington, London. When the Houses of Parliament suffered fire damage and had to be rebuilt the king offered Buckingham Palace as a site for the politicians to meet. The statesmen voted and refused.

Buckingham Palace prior to the cosmetic work on the exterior in the 1910&aposs.

Buckingham Palace, 1945 - History

S ince 1837 Buckingham Palace has been the certified London home of Britain’s monarchs and is still running today as their administrative head office. With many receptions being held by The Queen herself in the State Rooms it’s surprising that more than 50,000 people still visit the Palace annually for lunches, receptions and the occasional Royal Garden Party.

Buckingham House

Buckingham Palace was initially known as Buckingham House, the bulk of what today makes up the main part of the palace was originally built as a private townhouse for the Duke of Buckingham back in 1703. It wasn’t until 1761 when it was obtained by George III as a private home for Queen Charlotte it became known as ‘The Queen’s House’.

Finally in 1837 it was acquired by Queen Victoria as the official royal palace not before being enlarged during the 19th century by architects of the state John Nash and Edward Blore who built three wings around the central courtyard.

Check Ticket Availability

Looking to Visit Buckingam Palace in 2021? Check ticket availability and tours now.

Royal Style in the Making Exhibition

Possibly the most famous wedding dress in the world is currently on display at Kensington Palace as part of the ‘Royal Style in the Making’ exhibition.

Throughout History

For nearly two hundred years, from the late 1830s until today, from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace, in the heart of London, has been the seat of the British monarchy. The building is a symbol of power, tradition, a source of nationral pride and a place of national gathering during times of joy and grief. How many of us remember the photographs and newsreel-pictures of people crowding outside the gates of Buckingham Palace in May of 1945 to celebrate VE Day? How many of us remember the dozens of bunches of flowers which were laid against the gates, stacked up against the walls or tied to the railings by Britons mourning the death of Princess Diana in 1997?

But how much do we really know about Buckingham Palace? How old is it? How big is it? How many toilets does it have? How did it get its name and when was it built?

This article will look into the history of one of the world’s most famous royal palaces, from its humble beginnings as a lavish townhouse, to its grand finale as the home to the current queen.

Does this building look vaguely familiar? It might. Behold Buckingham House, 1809.

The building which is today Buckingham Palace was originally a townhouse named Buckingham House, named after the Duke of Buckingham and Normanby and was constructed starting in 1703. The building was designed by Capt. William Winde, a notable architect of the day who was famous for designing several grand manor-houses. Unfortunately for Winde, few of his original structures survive today, either renovated, intergrated into other buildings or destroyed by fire over the two hundred plus years since his death.

Buckingham House did not last long in private hands, though. After being built for the Duke of Buckingham, it was then passed to his descendant Sir Charles Sheffield in the 1760s and thereafter into royal hands, starting with King George III.

Throughout the next sixty years, Buckingham House was gradually renovated, improved and enlarged. King George IV and his younger brother, the later King William IV, had Buckingham House extensively renovated and improved. In 1834, the British Houses of Parliament, the Palace of Westminster, burnt to the ground in a spectacular fire…

…The destruction of Westminster prompted William IV to turn Buckingham Palace into the new Houses of Parliament, but Parliament turned down the king’s offer, which allowed for the palace’s further renovations until the king’s death in 1837.

It had been the wish of King William IV, who had been a popular and well-liked public figure, to turn Buckingham Palace from a mere noble townhouse into a palace and residence fit for royalty. Although renovations and building had been ongoing since the time of George IV, William, George’s younger brother, died before these renovations were completed.

On the 20th of June, 1837, Victoria became Queen of the United Kingdom, and became the first monarch to move into the new palace and so Buckingham Palace entered on its role which we know it for today – being the London home of the British monarch.

If you expected a palace fit for a queen to be glamorous and wonderful…think again. Victoria (then aged only 18) moved into her new house so fast that the renovations were barely completed! The palace hadn’t been cleaned properly, there were heating problems due to malfunctions with chimneys (which meant that fires couldn’t be lit in the fireplaces) and probably most dangerous of all, the newfangled ‘gas’ lighting wasn’t working properly, which could turn Buckingham Palace into the world’s most luxurious time-bomb!

Another problem with the new palace was space. If you’ve read my article on classical makeup of domestic servants, you’ll know that grand houses built during this era took a small army to keep them primped and proper and neat and tidy and running smoothly. Any grand house would have up to a dozen or more servants. In a royal palace, this number skyrocketed to a few hundred! Footmen, butlers, waiters, chefs, cleaners, laundresses, courtiers, valets, ladies’ maids, chambermaids…and then you had to consider the space needed for courtiers, guests, family…and all of their servants! There simply wasn’t enough room!

Originally constructed with a central building and two wings, it was decided that Buckingham Palace would require an extension. London’s famous Marble Arch, built to commemorate great naval victories, was originally the ceremonial entranceway to the palace. But it was only ceremonial, and little else. It was decided that Marble Arch took up too much space, and so it was moved to the corner of Hyde Park where it is today. In its place, a third wing was constructed, joining up the two other wings and enclosing a central courtyard that is the quadrangle that we know today. It is this last addition to the palace that makes it begin to resemble what we recognise today.

Buckingham Palace as it appeared in 1910, at the end of the Edwardian era

The enclosing of the quadrangle was completed in 1847 and this was one of the last major construction-efforts taken out on the palace until the early 20th century.

A New Palace for a New Century

With a new century came a new king. Edward VII, famous for being fat and friendly and for forgetting to button up his waistcoats, was well-known for being something of a party-animal. He loved entertaining. Dinners, balls, hunting-parties and dances were always on Eddie’s calender and the palace was modernised and renovated to suit the king’s needs and taste.

London is famous for a great many things. One of these is the notorious London fog. Fog or smog in London was not just low-hanging clouds. It was everything. Ash. Dust. Soot. Moisture. Smoke. Grit from the streets. Oil and grease from factories. On especially bad days, London’s smog was so bad, you literally couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. This unsightly and nasty fog caused terrible cosmetic damage to the palace. In the end, the damage of the smog to the palace’s stonework was so extensive that the stonework had to be entirely replaced…a process that took well over a year in 1913.

As a symbol of Britannic pride, of monarchy, of patriotism, Buckingham Palace has long been a target in times of war. In the 1910s with the outbreak of WWI, George V was encouraged to lock the palace’s wine-cellars so as not to set a bad example to his subjects by enjoying himself and guzzling down wine while the country was in dire straits.

Warfare took a bigger toll on the palace in WWII, though. The Blitz on London, from 1940-1941 caused massive amounts of damage throughout the British capital and the palace was not spared. Hitler knew that he could seriously hurt British morale by destroying the palace and the Luftwaffe made it a specific target. It was bombed no less than seven times in the Second World War. One bomb detonated in the palace quadrangle, blowing out all the interior windows in the process! This particular attack made the front page of local newspapers and served as a morale-booster to the British public, glad that their monarchy had not deserted them in this time of national crisis.

The palace in the 21st Century is still very much a working royal institution, just as it was when it was first inhabited by Queen Victoria over a hundred years ago. Events such as grand dinners, meetings and press-conferences still continue within its chambers and garden parties for everyone from adults to grandparents to children, now take place in the palace gardens on a regular basis.

Inside Queen Elizabeth's Home at Buckingham Palace

There's an ATM in the basement that prints money for the British royal family only.

When you consider that the British monarchy has been around for thousands of years, Buckingham Palace is a relatively new addition to the royal family's portfolio of homes. Its significance, however, is profound.

Apart from being a beloved tourist attraction, the palace and its grounds serve as an important location for hosting ceremonies and handling political affairs in the UK.

And while Buckingham Palace itself is a fixture of British culture, there are still many secrets about the palace and its rich history that few people know. The royal residence has played host to some of the most significant moments in English history, from royal weddings to bombings during World War II.

Today, the building is 830,000 square feet, has 775 rooms, including 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms, according to the royal website. From the ATM in the basement&mdashthat prints money for the British royal family only&mdashto the beautiful 39-acre garden, Buckingham is certainly a place to be explored.

Here's a look at the history of this magnificent palace.

Originally built in 1703 as Buckingham House for the 3rd Earl of Mulgrave John Sheffield, Buckingham Palace has been the home and administrative headquarters for the royal family for hundreds of years. Before the palace was built, the King of England's official residence for more than 300 years&mdashfrom 1531 to 1837&mdashwas at St. James's Place, just a quarter mile from Buckingham.

The land on which Buckingham palace was built is located in borough of London known as Westminster and has been in the royal family for over 400 years. It was originally marshland along the River Tyburn and the plot was acquired by King James I and meant to serve as a garden for the royal family. John Sheffield, who later became the Duke of Buckingham, bought the the property with its pre-existing house in 1698, according to History.com.

Sheffield later had the original house replaced by the structure that stands today. Buckingham House, as it was commonly known, was designed and built by William Winde and John Fitch and completed in 1705. King George III then purchased the house back from Sheffield in 1761 to use as a home for his wife, Queen Charlotte, and their children.

Though the palace has been through many renovations, the most notable was during the time of King George IV, who was in very poor health when he commissioned John Nash to work on the structure. Nash extended the palace into a large U shape and expanded the building by adding west wings, as well as branches to the north and south. Nash is also responsible for the admirable arch once located in the royal courtyard and now in nearby Hyde Park.

Following George IV's death in 1830, his brother William IV took the throne but chose to continue living at Clarence Palace during his reign. After William IV's death in 1837, his niece, Queen Victoria, became the first official royal to call Buckingham Palace home. To this day, Queen Elizabeth II uses the palace as a place for diplomatic meetings, celebrations, and a home for her family.

Traditions and Functions

As one of the most prominent buildings in the history of the royal family, Buckingham hosts functions and ceremonies regularly. In 1851, for instance, Queen Victoria made her first public appearance on the balcony when she greeted the public during the celebration of the opening of the Great Exhibition, a showcase of international manufacturing.

Since Queen Victoria's first appearance, standing on Buckingham's balcony has become something of a tradition for royal events. In 2002, Queen Elizabeth waved to the crowds from the balcony in celebration of her Golden Jubilee. In addition, some of Prince William's most famous wedding photos with the Duchess of Cambridge were taken on the balcony.

Another tradition Buckingham Palace holds is the royal Changing the Guard ceremony, in which one regiment takes over for another. Per tradition, the New Guard march to Buckingham Palace from Wellington Barracks with musical accompaniment, thereby becoming the Queen's Guard during the course of the ceremony. Also known as "Guard Mounting," the tradition takes place at 11 a.m. every other day and daily during the summer. The schedule for the ceremony can be seen on the British Army website.

While these are only some of the traditions the palace holds, the house and grounds have seen many major historic moments over the years, making Buckingham one of the most influential and historic locations in the history of the British royal family.

It isn't uncommon for visitors to England to find themselves curious about Buckingham Palace and what it has to offer. But the house itself isn't the only part of the grounds worth checking out. The royal garden at Buckingham Palace occupies 42 acres in the City of Westminster and includes features such as the Rose Garden (which features 25 different varieties, including one created in honor of William called Royal William), tennis court, and a three-acre lake. Also known as the Memorial Gardens, the flowerbeds at Buckingham are laid out in a semi-circular design and include such as exotic plants as scarlet geraniums, spider plants, and weeping figs. The garden also includes a mulberry tree that dates back to the time of James I of England (1567).

In addition to a magnificent garden, the Buckingham grounds are also home to a royal museum with exhibits focusing on different eras of the monarchy. The Queen's Gallery includes works by Vermeer, Rubens, Canaletto, Duccio, and Dürer, as well as jewels that are part of the Queen's collection. Only a fraction of the royal collection is on display, however. It totals 7,000 paintings, 500,000 prints, and 30,000 watercolors and drawings.

After you tour the museum, you can also tour 19 rooms inside Buckingham Palace itself, open for 10 weeks each summer. The lavishly-decorate State Rooms include such historic locations as the Throne Rome, Picture Room, Ballroom, Grand Staircase, White Drawing Room, and more&mdashall furnished with beloved treasures from the Royal Collection.

Additionally, the Mall, the road in front of Buckingham Palace, is colored red to create the illusion of a large red carpet leading up to the palace itself. The Mall is flanked by trees on either side and is decorated with Union flags during state visits. Often crowded by the public during royal events, the Mall is intended for major national ceremonies, and scheduled buses are not allowed to use the Mall or go past Buckingham Palace except for permission of the monarch.

How to Visit

Today, the palace is open to visitors from all over the world. Unlike the Queen's private home at Sandringham&mdashwhich is open year-round&mdashBuckingham Palace is only open for a few months per year, so book your tickets as soon as possible if you plan to visit next year. For more information about what to see and do at Buckingham, head to the royal website here.

H.M.King George

"I am happy to have this opportunity of inspecting a detachment of the British section of the Palestine Police Force and of presenting medals to members of the Force in recognition of their gallantry and meritorious service.

I am glad to be able to mark the respect which we in this country feel for the manner in which you have done your duty in Palestine. The conflict between Arab and Jew made it necessary that there should be in the British section of the Palestine Police an impartial force to maintain law and order and to assist in carrying out the heavy task laid upon us by the Mandate. This has meant that the British police have had to face calumny and provocation as well as murderous attack.

I have admired the forbearance and courage with which you have met the difficulties and dangers of service in Palestine. Many of your comrades have given their lives and many others have been injured in that service: their sacrifice will not be forgotten.

Your task in the Palestine Police is now completed and you can look back on a job well done. You will soon be turning to employment elsewhere, and, wherever your future may lie, I wish you every success."

The history of Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace presents an inscrutable facade. It possesses a composite aura of authority, much as the White House does in America. The edifice has come to embody the voice of royalty statements issued to the world from behind these walls begin with the words 'Buckingham Palace announced today. . . .'

In addition to its role as a palace and Queen Elizabeth II's official London home, it also serves as the Sovereign's office, where she entertains Heads of State, receives citizens, and holds investitures. During the present reign, Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton have been entertained here, and the Duchess of Windsor stayed for several days following the Duke's death in 1972.

Henry VIII first chose this part of London as the home of royalty when he settled in Cardinal Wolsey's Palace, Whitehall. Later, he moved to the present St. James's Palace and drained the marshy land to the south, creating St. James's Park. From the River Tyburn that ran through Green Park, he created the lakes that now adorn the grounds of Buckingham Palace and St. James's Park. It is remarkable, centuries later, to find these 40 acres of still-undeveloped land in the centre of a thriving city.

Lord Goring of Hurstpierpoint built a house, the forerunner to the present palace, in about 1640. It passed through various hands before coming into the possession of the Duke of Buckingham, a suitor of Queen Anne. Here, he built Buckingham House in 1703, generally deemed the finest house in London, with the mall stretching before it through St. James's Park. After his death in 1731, George II approached the Duke's widow with an offer to buy it, but it was George III who finally closed the deal in 1762, paying £28,000. The King, one of the greatest book collectors in the history of England, created a fine library in the house.

In 1775, George gave Buckingham House to Queen Charlotte and thereafter it became known as 'The Queen's House'. George III spent his twilight years at Windsor Castle, suffering from the well-known effects of his porphyria.

George IV contributed greatly to London's architectural and cultural glory, and like so many enterprising Kings in whose legacy we now rejoice, his contemporaries deemed him profligate and a worry to the Exchequer. He employed the architect John Nash to repair and improve the house, which became Buckingham Palace in 1825. His additions included the Marble Arch, built as the ceremonial entrance to the Palace, which has since been moved to its present site at the northern end of Park Lane. George IV collected many of the finest treasures in the Palace, notably the fabulous Table of the Grand Commanders, commissioned by Napoleon and made of a single piece of Sèvres porcelain, inlaid with portraits of Alexander the Great and others.

Sir John Soane also submitted plans for remodelling Buckingham House. Sir John would have given Londoners a version of the Palace of Versailles, with great arches, columns, plinths, and inner courtyards. Instead, the Palace evolved gradually, first as an eastern facade with south and north wings, and then later with a westerly facade constructed (not very satisfactorily) in the reign of Queen Victoria. Neither George IV nor William IV ever lived in the new palace William IV took possession on 5th May 1837, only a few weeks before he died. Queen Victoria was the first monarch actually to live there as Queen.

Queen Victoria revelled in her new home, moving there from Kensington Palace. She hosted balls and receptions and from Buckingham Palace, she progressed to Westminster Abbey for her Coronation in 1838. After she married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg in 1840, she lived there with her expanding family until the Prince Consort's death in 1861. Thereafter the place entered a state of decline and for some years looked increasingly derelict and in need of repair.

Only in the latter part of her reign did Queen Victoria make occasional appearances at the Palace, notably for her two Jubilees in 1887 and 1897. Princess Alice (Countess of Athlone) appeared on the balcony both in 1887 for Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee and again in 1977 for the present Queen's Silver Jubilee. Alice, Queen Victoria's granddaughter, was too young to take part in the 1887 procession, but not too old to do so in 1977.

During Victoria's absence, the Palace sometimes housed foreign dignitaries. In 1873, Nassered-Din, Shah of Persia, stayed there. His Imperial Majesty had unconventional personal habits: eschewing the dining-room table, he ate roast lamb straight from the floor and he once organized a boxing match in the Palace gardens. It is even said that the bones of one of his staff, executed with a bowstring, lie beneath the immaculate lawn.

During Edward VII's reign, the Palace provided the setting for great balls and evening courts, though the King called it 'the Sepulchre.' Sir Compton Mackenzie noted: 'It was not until April 1902 that the Palace was ready for the residence of the King and Queen and even now we may reflect with awe on the perfume of that first cigar lighted in what had been Queen Victoria's private apartments'.

George V and Queen Mary made it very much their home, adding a new domestic touch. The First World War overshadowed the early years of their reign, but later Queen Mary, one of the Palace's great benefactors, undertook a considerable reorganization of the pictures and collections of china, reuniting separated pieces and making the Picture Gallery less crowded and easier to enjoy. George V spent many happy hours in the Stamp Room, and by 1936, the King had amassed a collection of 250,000 stamps in 325 large volumes.

Not all monarchs felt such affection for Buckingham Palace. Edward VIII hated the place and spent only a few nights there during his short reign. Nor was each stay without incident. George VI made it his headquarters during the Second World War, and it suffered bomb damage on more than one occasion. At the end of the War, the Palace played a part in the Nation's grateful celebrations, when, symbolically, the Royal Family gathered together on the balcony with Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister who had led the Nation during this traumatic period in history.

Since 1952 Buckingham Palace has been The Queen's working home. Visitors once could enter the Palace only by invitation, but this has changed somewhat during the present reign. The Royal Mews in Buckingham Palace Road opens its doors to visitors, who can see The Queen's carriages, horses, and the stables and Riding School, which are an essential part of daily life for this department of the Royal Household. The Queen's Gallery (on the site of a chapel destroyed by German bombs) opened in 1962 and has exhibited a succession of treasures from the Royal Collection.

The Queen also opened the State Rooms to visitors in the summer of 1993. In November of the previous year, fire badly damaged Windsor Castle, and though The Queen bore no official responsibility to pay for the repairs, she decided that one Royal residence should come to the assistance of another. Each summer when the Royal Family is at Balmoral, Buckingham Palace admits the public in an effort to raise 70 per cent of the money needed to repair the castle.

Visitors see the State Rooms where the Royal Family gathered for state banquets and family christenings the settings for some of Cecil Beaton's fine portraits of The Queen, The Queen Mother, and Princess Margaret and the Palace's extensive lawns, so reminiscent of the evening when, in 1762, Queen Charlotte had the entire grounds lit by thousands of coloured lamps and led King George III to the window to enjoy the full glory of his new home.

The Palace remains a private home to the Royal Family, but it is also a national treasure, a potent symbol to the British people of their own strength, continuity, and tradition. It is a highly visible part of British heritage just as the White House is a vital part of America's historic fabric. It was no accident that the Palace became a target for German bombs if it had been destroyed, the Nation would have been dealt a heavy moral blow. Fortunately for us, it survived to open its doors on another era.


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