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Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

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Buckingham House was built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703. George III purchased the house in 1762 and used it as one of the royal family's London homes. George IV employed John Nash to build a new palace round the old house. Nash designed the building with Marble Arch as the main entrance. Marble Arch was later moved to Hyde Park. It was not until 1837 that Queen Victoria made Buckingham Palace the royal family's principal London residence.

The additions which have been made to this palace, have been so contrived as to render it a convenient residence for their majesties and princesses; as well as to form a suite of rooms for the royal collection of books, drawings, maps, plans, etc. Thirteen apartments are occupied by the King, twelve by the Queen and ten by the Princesses.

Buckingham Palace

The Queen's official London residence and a working royal palace.

Buckingham Palace is recognised around the world as the home of The Queen, the focus of national and royal celebrations.

Explore Buckingham Palace Garden with unique access this summer, and discover for yourself its sights before enjoying a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to picnic with views of the Palace. You can also see the magnificent State Rooms on a special guided tour of the Palace this spring and summer. Sign up to our email updates to be the first to hear the latest news.


Buckingham Palace Garden opens from 9 July. For more information on our COVID-19 secure guidelines see our FAQs.

Buckingham Palace operates a timed admission system, this is the time you select when purchasing your ticket.

The State Rooms are open on selected dates in July - September for guided tours with garden access.

Opening times

Buckingham Palace Garden opens from 9 July. For more information on our COVID-19 secure guidelines see our FAQs.

Opening time Last admission Closing time
July - September 10:00 16:15 18:00

We have a timed admission system, this is the time you select when purchasing your ticket. For the best experience please arrive no more than 10 minutes before the entry time on your ticket.

The State Rooms are open on selected dates in July - September for guided tours with garden access.

Practical Information

Buckingham Palace Garden is open from 9 July.

For more information on our COVID-19 secure guidelines see our FAQs.

  • We suggest you allow 2-2½ hours for your visit.
  • Prebooking tickets is essential. There is a timed admission system operating on all tours. This is the time you select when purchasing your ticket.
  • If you already have your ticket, for the best experience please arrive at the entry time printed on your ticket and not earlier.
  • You are advised to wear comfortable shoes, as all events involve some walking.
  • When you arrive, you will pass through an airport-style security check. Read more about security & luggage
  • You can take photographs in the Palace Gardens, but not within the State Rooms. Read more about photography, filming & mobile phones.
  • Eating and drinking aren't allowed inside the Palace, with the exception of bottled water, but during the summer picnicking is available on the Palace lawn. Read more about picnicking.
  • Toilets and baby-care facilities are available at the visitor entrance or in the garden depending on your tour.
  • For safety reasons, pushchairs cannot be taken into the State Rooms. They must be checked in and collected after your tour, but may be used within the garden. Read more about visiting with children.
  • Animals, other than guide, hearing or assistance animals, will not be admitted to the Palace or Garden.

Map & directions

By train

London Victoria or London Charing Cross. Visit National Rail Enquiries for times and fares.

By underground

Victoria, Green Park, St. James's Park and Hyde Park Corner. For further information visit the Transport for London website.

By coach / bus

Bus numbers 11, 211, C1 and C10 stop on Buckingham Palace Road. Victoria Coach Station is a 10-minute walk from the Palace.

On this page

But after he was made the Duke of Buckingham in 1703 he renamed the house after his title as the Buckingham Palace. Later in 1761, the Palace was acquired by George III for his wife, Queen Charlotte, to be known as The Queen’s House.

Buckingham House was renovated and enlarged into a palace in the 1820s after George IV commissioned architect John Nash and Edward Blore who constructed three wings around a central courtyard. However, since 1837 it began to be used as the official residence by Queen Victoria who was the first British monarch to do so.

Buckingham Palace main gate

Since then the palace has served as the official London residence of Britain’s sovereigns. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the East front and the Balcony from where the royal family waves to crowds were added. However, it was only in 1851, during the opening of the Great Exhibition 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 an RAF fly-past. The palace chapel was destroyed by a German bomb during World War II.

London, England, United Kingdom

By 1847, Albert and Victoria 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.

London, England, United Kingdom

Buckingham Palace - History

Buckingham Palace is where the Queen lives.

Buckingham Palace is the Queen's official and main royal London home. It has been the official London residence of Britain's monarchy since 1837. Queen Victoria was the first monarch to live there.

One of the two traffic gates

Who lives in Buckingham Palace today?

Buckingham Palace is not only the home of the Queen and Prince Philip but also the London residence of the Duke of York (Prince Andrew) and the Earl and Countess of Wessex (Prince Edward and his wife) and their daughter.

Buckingham Palace is also an office

Buckingham Palace is used also for the administrative work for the monarchy. It is here in the state apartments that Her Majesty receives and entertains guests invited to the Palace.

History of Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace was originally a grand house built by the Dukes of Buckingham for his wife. George IV began transforming it into a palace in 1826.

The Queen has other homes too including Windsor Castle and Balmoral in Scotland.

When can we see the flag on the pole?

When the Queen is at home, you can see her royal flag flying from the flag pole on top of Buckingham Palace. This flag is called the Royal Standard.

The flag is split into four quadrants. The first and fourth quadrants represent England and contain three gold lions walking (passant) on a red field the second quadrant represents Scotland contains a red lion standing on the left hind foot (rampant) on a gold field the third quadrant represents Ireland and contains the gold Coat of arms of Ireland on a blue field.

In flag protocol, the Royal Standard is supreme. It must only be flown from buildings where the Queen is present. It flies above the British Union Flag (Union Jack), Standards of other Royal Family members, and other British flags. It never flies at half staff.

Standing guard outside Buckingham Palace

Who guards the palace? What do they wear?

Five regiments of Foot Guards guard the Palace. They wear red jackets and tall, furry hats called bearskins.

When the first guards come on duty, there is a ceremony called the Changing of the Guard.

A familiar sight at Buckingham Palace is the Changing of the Guard ceremony that takes place in the forecourt each morning. The monarch and the royal palaces have been guarded by the Household Troops since 1660.

What can you see inside Buckinham Palace?

The Palace has around 600 rooms, including 19 State rooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 78 bathrooms, 92 offices, a cinema and a swimming pool. It also has its own post office and police station.

About 400 people work at the Palace, including domestic servants, chefs, footmen, cleaners, plumbers, gardeners, chauffers, electricians, and two people who look after the 300 clocks.

Every year, more than 50,000 people come to the Palace each year as guests to banquets, lunches, dinners, receptions, and Royal Garden Parties

Interesting facts about Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms including 19 state rooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms.

Queen Victoria was the first monarch to live at Buckingham Palace.

From Buckingham Palace you can walk through Green Park to Horse Guards Parade where you will see the soldiers on horseback.

Great London Buildings – A Brief History of Buckingham Palace – The Queen’s Official London Home

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Perhaps the greatest residence in the city, Buckingham Palace has been the home of royalty for centuries and has been the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II since she ascended the throne in 1952, though she had lived there since her father, King George VI, became monarch in 1936. The site where Buckingham House is located was once in the possession of William the Conqueror following the Norman Invasion, though he subsequently gave it to Geoffrey de Mandeville. From here, the property changed hands several times, with Sir William Blake building a mansion there in 1624, but it was only 50 years before the house burned down.

Eventually, John Sheffield, the First Duke of Buckingham and Normandy acquired the property and had Buckingham House built in 1703. The architect, Captain William Winde, designed a three-story block house with a couple of flanking service wings. On the Duke’s death, it came into the possession of his heir, Sir Charles Sheffield, who subsequently sold it to King George III in 1761. George intended the house to be a getaway for his wife, Queen Charlotte, and a comfortable family home for her and their children, even though St. James Palace would continue to be the official royal residence.

To make the home fit for a queen, George submitted Buckingham House to extensive renovations. Sir William Chambers was in charge of the designs and construction began in 1762 with an ultimate cost of £73,000 when completed in 1776. The ceilings designed by Robert Adam and painted by Giovanni Battista Cipriani were said to be some of the most sophisticated of their time and thoroughly appropriate for what was now dubbed The Queen’s House.

King George IV was going to use the house for much the same purpose when it passed to him in 1820, but after he changed his mind, he set about giving Buckingham House the extravagant touch for which he was known. Hiring architect John Nash and requesting £450,000 from Parliament for the renovations, George wanted to transform the house into a palace. Nash kept the main block, but demolished the north and south wings. He reconstructed them to be much larger around a courtyard while also adding a new suite of rooms to the main block. Everything was done in the neo-classical French style that George favoured.

Photo: Derry Moore

Despite all these renovations, George never resided there and neither did his brother, King William IV. When the Houses of Parliament burned down in 1834, William offered Buckingham Palace as a new Parliament building, but the Lords and Commons turned down the offer. When William died in 1837, Buckingham Palace became a true royal residence when Queen Victoria moved into it. Since the building hadn’t been lived in since George IV’s renovations, Victoria discovered that the chimneys smoked badly, the ventilation was poor, and there were hardly any guest bedrooms.

Thus began another series of renovations. The Marble Arch that was part of Nash’s design was moved to north-east corner of Hyde Park and Victoria and Albert had a fourth wing built, enclosing the courtyard and forming a quadrangle. Architect Edmund Blore created this new East Front that became the face of Buckingham Palace and included the famous balcony on which the royal family continue to make appearances. Another renovation would take place under her grandson, King George V, in 1913 when the façade on the East Front was changed to its current appearance.

While remodeling and rebuilding would occur again not thirty years later, this was due to necessity as the palace was bombed seven times during the London Blitz, with one bomb going off and destroying the chapel in 1940. Another detonated in the quadrangle and had the effect of blowing out all the inner-facing windows. Despite Hitler’s attempts to destroy Buckingham Palace and damage British morale, the opposite effect occurred as the people felt emboldened by the monarchy’s resiliency and loyalty to the people.

Today, as Queen Elizabeth II’s official resident, Buckingham Palace continues to be a working building. It has 775 rooms, including 19 state rooms for receiving guests, personal investitures, and other important functions. 50,000 people pass through annual on official business as well as guided tours when the palace is open to the public. The best way to know whether the Queen is in or not is to love above the palace to see whether the Royal Standard is flying. Whether you visit the palace for yourself or just pass by, it’s worth taking a moment to bask in the history of this great London building.

Welcome to the most famous palace in the world

Our website brings you Information and Facts about Buckingham Palace including how to get there, when to visit the Palace, the History of the Buckingham Palace, Interesting Facts about the Buckingham Palace, Buckingham Palace Tours and not forgetting the world famous Changing of the Guard.

New Baby Arrival - 6th June 2021

A statement from the Buckingham Palace. 6th June 2021

” The Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been informed and are delighted with the news.”

Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, HRH Queen Elizabeth the 2nds 11th Grandchild was born in Santa Barbara, California at 11:40am local time

The daughter of Prince Harry and Meghan was 7lbs 11oz and is 8th in line to the throne.

New Royal Baby on the way - Announced on the 19th May 2021

Princess Beatrice and husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi are expecting their first child together. The exact due date is not known but will be in the Autumn.

Tickets & Tours

Parts of Buckingham Palace are now open to the public including the Queens Gallery and Gardens.

Strict Covid 19 safety measures are in place.
Due to Covid restrictions all tickets must be booked online as the ticket office is closed.

The State Rooms of the Palace are open for visitors to visit throughout the ‘Annual Summer Opening’ in July, August and September. The rooms are lavishly furnished with some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection.

Changing the Guard

The traditional ceremony of the old guard changing with the new.

Changing of the Guard is one of the oldest and most recognizable ceremonies connected with Buckingham Palace.
The correct name of the ceremony known as Changing the Guard is actually Guard Mounting. In this process a New Guard exchanges duty with the Old Guard and both Guards are drawn from one of the regiments of Foot Guards.

The Royal Mews

Recent news

Buckingham Palace Interesting Facts

The Centre Piece of Britain’s Constitutional Monarchy

Buckingham Palace is home to over 775 rooms, 19 of these are State rooms along with 52 official royal bedrooms and guest rooms.
The staff themselves, have an impressive 188 bedrooms, 92 offices and a lavish 78 bathrooms.
Still very much a working building it is the center piece of Britain’s constitutional monarchy which includes the everyday duties of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh as well as their immediate family.
Buckingham Palace was first opened to the general public in 1993 and it is opened every year between April and September since.

Banquets & Ceremonies

State banquets also take place in the main Ballroom of Buckingham Palace these formal dinners take place on the first evening of a state visit by a visiting Head of State. On these occasions, 150 or more guests in formal “white tie and decorations”, including tiaras for women, may dine off gold plate.

The largest and most formal reception at Buckingham Palace takes place every November, when the Queen entertains members of the foreign diplomatic corps resident in London. On this occasion, all the state rooms are in use, as the Royal Family proceed through them beginning through 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, causing a deliberate optical illusion of space and light.

1844 Room

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.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. 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 here in a special gold font. Prince William was also christened in the Music Room. However, his brother, Prince Harry, was christened at St George’s Chapel, Windsor.

Check Ticket Availability

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

The history of Buckingham Palace

If you come to London for the first time, you can find taxi transfers from Heathrow and you should visit some of its most interesting places, museums, art galleries and tourist objectives which made this city well-known across the entire world.

One of these objectives is the Buckingham Palace, a place of wonder snd fascination for many of those who visit the city of London.

Many people come to the capital city of England only to see the Buckingham Palace. A short history of this building is very useful for future visitors of London. This Palace was bought for Queen Charlotte in 1761 by George III as a family home because it was close to St. James’s Palace. 14 of the King’s children were born here, this palace being very important for the royal family.

The house was remodelled in 1762 to the King’s requirements and the project was designed by Sir William Chambers. The total cost of the project was 73000 pounds and the result was extraordinary.

After that, in 1820, George IV decided that the house must be reconstructed. Later on, he changed his mind, and using the advice his architect, John Nash, gave him, he transformed this house into a palace.

The building became much bigger than before and many rooms were added to it as a result of the reconstruction process. The project included many changes of the place and it added many rooms on the west side of the building. Its external style reflects the French neo-classical influence in architecture. Many of the rooms which can be found in the palaces remained unchanged since then.

The north and south wings of the building were rebuilt on a larger scale by the constructors and they also added the Marble Arch to commemorate the British victories in their battles at Trafalgar and Waterloo. The final cost of this project was huge and it reached half a million pounds by 1829..

London has also many other attractions which must be seen by any visitor of this city. It is a vibrant city with a rich history and culture and it offers to most people exactly what they look for when they come here.

This palace was offered by the King as a new home for Parliament, because, in 1834, the Houses of Parliament were destroyed by fire. His offer was declined.

In 1837, Queen Victoria moved here, just three weeks after her accession. The royal family encountered many problems here because the building did not have all it needed as a residence for a family. It did not have nurseries for babies and the number of bedrooms was low. The facade of the building was changed in 1913 by Sir Aston Webb.

Now in the forecourt of the palace the Changing of the Guard takes place, an event which is viewed by many tourists who come to London every day. Many visitors who come to London are fascinated with what this city has to offer. They want to see with their own eyes what the British spirit and culture have created in time and how a gret civilisation of Western Europe looks like.

The British North America Act's passage on July 1, 1867 made Canada a self-governing dominion of the United Kingdom. In recognition of that event’s 150th anniversary, Canadian Armed Forces infantry officer Megan Couto became the first woman to lead the changing of the guard when the unit she commanded was invited to defend Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

When Britain’s sitting monarch is physically present inside one of her royal residences like Buckingham Palace, the building raises the Royal Standard. But when she’s not around, the standard is swapped out for the UK's national flag.

Buckingham Palace - History

Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images The royal family at Buckingham Palace, London, 1972.

When asked about the charges of racism against his family in March 2021, Prince William stood firm. The royals, he said, were “very much not a racist family.” But newly uncovered documents tell a different story. They demonstrate that Buckingham Palace long avoided the hiring of “coloured immigrants or foreigners” in clerical roles.

The records, first uncovered by The Guardian, point to a long history of discriminatory practices at Buckingham Palace. They include a transcribed conversation between a civil servant and Lord Charles Tryon, who managed the Queen’s finances.

During their conversation in February 1968 about new laws against discriminatory hiring practices, Tryon described three different kinds of jobs at Buckingham Palace.

There were senior posts, he explained, clerical and office posts, and ordinary domestic posts. When it came to the clerical posts, Tryon noted, “it was not, in fact, the practice to appoint coloured immigrants or foreigners.”

Such people would be “freely considered” for “ordinary domestic posts,” he said, “but which would in any event be covered by the proposed general exemption for domestic employment.”

In other words, discrimination would not be a problem at Buckingham Palace because it did not hire minority groups for its offices in the first place. And, because the bill already excluded domestic workers from its provisions, the palace didn’t need an additional exemption for that employee class.

Wikimedia Commons The British royal family in 2013.

The Guardian also drew attention to the fact that the palace used an arcane parliamentary procedure called “Queen’s Consent” to ensure its exception from new anti-discrimination laws. This procedure allows the Queen to quietly lobby lawmakers to change laws she doesn’t like, and which may affect her personally.

As the Labour government pushed new anti-discrimination laws in the 1970s, the Queen won her exception. Anyone who complained of discrimination at Buckingham Palace did not go to court. Instead, their case was sent to the British Home Office.

But in light of the most recent accusations, Buckingham Palace has hotly denied any charges of racism.

“Claims based on a second-hand account of conversations from over 50 years ago should not be used to draw or infer conclusions about modern-day events or operations,” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said.

Wikimedia Commons Queen Elizabeth II in 1968.

The palace insisted that the “Royal Household and Sovereign” comply with British equality laws “in principle and practice.”

Yet palace employees are legally barred from suing for alleged discrimination at work on the basis of sex or race. And Buckingham Palace spokespeople have not clarified when or if the policy against hiring people of color ended.

As Queen Elizabeth II’s reign continues, Buckingham Palace has remained largely white.

“A black face has never graced the executive echelons of royal service – the household and officials,” noted Andrew Morton, who wrote the explosive book Diana: Her True Story, about the princess’s life in the royal family, in 1992.

“Even among clerical and domestic staff, there is only a handful of recruits from ethnic minorities,” Morton added.

These revelations come as the Royal Family battles back other charges of racism — from within its own ranks. In March 2021, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle spoke to Oprah Winfrey about their challenges within the family.

Markle, who is biracial, noted that there were “concerns and conversations” amid the royals about the skin color of their first-born baby.

Wikimedia Commons Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during their wedding procession. May 19, 2018.

She also suggested that the Royal Family offered her little support when the British press launched intense and racially-tinged attacks. That drove Markle to have suicidal thoughts — and for her and her husband to move to California.

In previous years, a 50-year-old allegation about racist hiring practices at Buckingham Palace might get swept under the rug. But now, amid other accusations, it presents hard evidence of what many have long suspected.

Even Britain’s conservative Daily Mail — the paper that once described Meghan Markle as “(Almost) Straight Outta Compton” — seems to recognize the significance of the new charges.

“The discovery is likely to be embarrassing for the Firm as it grapples with charges of systemic racism made by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during their explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey in March,” the paper noted.

Will the most recent revelations and evidence change anything at Buckingham Palace? Not everyone is convinced.

“The royal family has a terrible record on race,” said Kehinde Andrews, professor of Black studies at Birmingham City University in the U.K.

“But no incident has radically changed thinking before, so why would it now?”

After reading about the recent charges of racism levied against Buckingham Palace, take a look at the lineage of the British Royal family. Then, see more photos of the royal family.

Watch the video: Inside Queen Elizabeth IIs $5 Billion Buckingham Palace (July 2022).


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