7 Interesting Facts about Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace has been the administrative headquarters of the British monarchy since 1837. It’s one of the UK’s most iconic landmarks, drawing more than 1.6 million tourists every year. It’s still the official residence of Queen Elizabeth, but between July and October, visitors can step inside to explore its magnificent staterooms too. Planning a trip or just looking to find out more about this royal residence? From unroyal origins to famous break-ins, here are a few interesting facts about Buckingham Palace to get you started.

Interesting Facts about Buckingham Palace

1. Buckingham Palace hasn’t always been a royal palace

Buckingham Palace was built in 1703 but it didn’t become an official royal residence until Queen Victoria moved into the premises in 1837. For more than 300 years, the King of England’s official royal residence in London was St. James’ Palace. But the Royal Family had owned the land on which Buckingham Palace sits for more than 400 years.

how long did it take to build Buckingham Palace

2. King James I planted a special tree at Buckingham Palace…

Or rather, four acres of them. Apparently, King James liked the land here so much that he decided to purchase them for use as a royal park. To mark the spot, he planted a four-acre grove of mulberry trees.

interesting facts about Buckingham Palace

3. Buckingham Palace is named after its first resident

John Sheffield, 3rd Earl of Mulgrave and Marquess of Normandy built the palace in the early 19th century. He became the Duke of Buckingham in 1705 and decided to call his lovely new pad ‘Buckingham House’. The family didn’t get to enjoy the house for too long though. George III purchased the house in 1761 for Queen Charlotte as a convenient crash-pad close to St. James’ Palace. While it wasn’t the official residence, 14 our of 15 of their children were born here.

how long did it take to build Buckingham Palace

4. Buckingham Palace has had quite the facelift

Buckingham Palace started off as a three-story house, which still forms the core of the modern palace. When Geroge IV came to the throne, he hired the prominent John Nash to expand and renovate the building. Nash constructed the wings around the central courtyard and added the French neoclassical facade, as well as the. triumphal arch, an imposing entrance for visiting dignitaries, featuring images depicting recent military victories at the centre of the forecourt. He grossly exceeded the budget, so parliament dismissed him.

Eight years after ascending the throne, Queen Victoria hired Edward Blore to add a new wing and balcony. In 1855 James Pennethorne added the Ball and Concert Room, the Ball Supper Room, and the galleries to Nash’s State Appartments. He also moved the triumphal arch to where it stands today.

Electricity was first installed in 1883 and the gates, railings and forecourts were installed in the early 20th century. In 1962, the Duke of Edinburgh commissioned The Queen’s Gallery from the bombed-out ruins of the former Private Chapel.

Buckingham Palace in London England

5. Plenty of royals have lived here over the years

When George III died in 1820, an elderly George IV came to the throne. Like most of his siblings, he’d grown up at Buckingham Palace and liked it so much that he decided to make it his official residence. His son, William IV, preferred Clarence House and postponed making the royal move official.

After his death in 1837, Queen Victoria assumed the throne and became the palace’s first royal resident. Since then, it has been the home of every ruling monarch. Elizabeth II even gave birth to Prince Charles and Prince Andrew here too. However, Edward VII is the only monarch to have both been born and died at Bucking Palace.

6. Buckingham Palace is as big as you think it is

The measures 108 metres (354-feet) by 120 metres (390 feet), with a height of 24 metres (79 feet). It boasts more than 77,000 square metres (830,000 square. feet) of floor space. It encompasses 775 rooms, including 18 staterooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. The music room has been used for royal christenings, with Prince Charles, Princess Anne, the Duke of York and Prince William christened here by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Tried counting the windows? It might take you all day… there are 760 windows and 1,514 doors in total.

interesting facts about Buckingham Palace
Editorial credit: Pres Panayotov / Shutterstock.com

7. Buckingham Palace has been broken into a few times

Between 1838 and 1841 Edward Jones, a teenage newspaper boy managed to break into the high-security building three times. Apparently, he managed to steal food from the kitchen, a pair of the Queen’s pants from her private chambers and even got to sit on the royal throne.

In 1982, Michael Fagan managed to break into the palace twice. In 1980, he shimmied up a drainpipe and startled a housemaid, before disappearing. He claims that he managed to enter the palace through an unlocked window and wandered around the galleries while eating cheddar cheese and crackers and drinking half a bottle of wine. Then in 1982 he managed to scale Buckingham Palace’s wall and wandered into the Queen’s bedroom at 07:15.

interesting facts about Buckingham Palace

Allie D'Almo

Allie is a passionate traveller with a hearty interest in great food and stories. She likes to travel slowly, particularly to underrated and underloved places. She’s lived in Italy and is now based in London, where she spends most of her time either plotting her next trip or writing about her last one.

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