Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of the UK’s sovereigns since 1837 and is the administrative headquarters of the Monarch. The Palace has 775 rooms; 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. The building is 108 metres long across the front, 120 metres deep and 24 metres high.
King George III bought Buckingham House in 1761 for his wife, Queen Charlotte, to use as a comfortable family home. Buckingham House was known as the Queen’s House with most of George III’3 children born there. Buckingham House was situated close to St.James’s Palace, which was were many court functions were held. As time went by, King George IV underwent plans to turn Buckingham House into Buckingham Palace, with constructions costing near half a million pounds. Having invested so heavily in his plans, the King himself died before being able to move into the Palace. Queen Victoria was the first sovereign to take up residence in July 1837.
More than 50,000 people visit the Palace each year as guests to State banquets, lunches, dinners, receptions and Garden Parties. Receptions are held throughout the year to recognise the work of industry, government, charities and other areas of life as well as being a focal point for significant national celebrations and commemorations. While seen as the administrative hub of the Monarchy, Buckingham Palace is still a family home. The Queen gave birth to Prince Charles and Prince Andrew at the Palace, with royal births and deaths notices attached to the front railings for members of the public to read still to this day. The christenings of The Prince of Wales, The Princess Royal, The Duke of York and Prince William took place within the Palace and Royal Weddings celebrated at Buckingham Palace also.
The balcony of Buckingham Palace is one of the most famous in the world, known worldwide for Royal appearances on it used to mark an occasion. The first recorded Royal Balcony appearance took place in 1851 with Queen Victoria stepping onto it mid celebrations for the opening of the Great Exhibition. Since then, Royal Balcony appearances have been made for Royal Weddings, birthday celebrations by The Queen as well as events of national significance.
Buckingham Palace is recognised around the world as the focus of national and royal celebrations as well as the backdrop to the regular Changing the Guard ceremony, which many flock from around the world to see. Buckingham Palace and its magnificent State Rooms are open to visitors during the summer months for 10 weeks, and on selected dates at other stages of the year.