Buckingham Palace - The Traveller

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Buckingham Palace


Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace – Official London Residence of the Monarch

Buckingham Palace is the official London residence and the principal work place of Britain’s sovereigns since 1837 and is presently the administrative headquarters of the Monarch. The palace is located in the City of Westminster, between The Green Park, Hyde Park and St. James Park and is the centre of state occasions as well as royal hospitability.

It is the main focus for British people during times of national rejoicing. The State Rooms at Buckingham Palace can be visited by the tourist though it has been in use for several official events and receptions held by The Queen.

The Palace has 775 rooms which include 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. With regards to measurements, the building across the front is 108 meters long with 120 metres deep which includes the central quadrangle and 24 metres high.
Initially it was known as Buckingham House, and the building which forms the main palace was a huge townhouse which was built in 1703 for the Duke of Buckingham on a site with private ownership which lasted for around 150 years.

Venue for Royal Ceremonies/Investitures/State Visits

Buckingham Palace’s 19 state rooms, ballroom and gardens are open for tourist during August and September when the Queen undertakes her annual visit to Balmoral. The State rooms have some of the Royal family’s priceless treasures like the painting and the finest French and English furniture. People can visit the spectacular Palace Ballroom and the Palace gardens and get glimpses of the west front of the Palace and the lake.

Visitors need to book their tickets in advance to visit the State Rooms, Ballroom and Garden. The Palace is a working building as well as the central point of Britain’s constitutional monarchy housing the offices of those supporting the day to day activities and duties of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh as well as their immediate family.

It is also the venue for all their Royal ceremonies, Investitures and State Visits, which are all organised by the Royal Household. Though the Buckingham Palace is furnished and decorated with many priceless works of art of the Royal Collection and also one of the major collections in the world, it is not an art gallery or a museum.

State Rooms – Used By The Queen/Members of the Royal Family

The State Rooms are used regularly by The Queen as well as the members of the Royal Family for official and State entertainment and forms the nucleus of the working Palace. There are over 50,000 people who visit the Palace every year as guests to lunches, dinners, banquets, receptions and the Royal Garden Parties.

Those visiting the Palace on invitation, the first steps are into the Grand Hall and up the curving marble stairs of the Grand Staircase. With portraits which are still seen on the walls, as they were during the times of Queen Victoria.

The Throne which was sometimes used during the reign of Queen Victoria for gatherings as well as a second dancing room is dominated by a proscenium arch which is supported by a pair of winged figures of `victory’ holding garlands above the `chairs of state’.The Queen conducts all the special occasions like Jubilees and receives loyal addresses in the Throne Room, which is also used for formal wedding photographs.

The Ballroom – Largest Multi-Purpose Room in the Palace

It was said that the original palace of George IV lacked a large room for entertainment which was fulfilled by Queen Victoria by adding in 1853-5, which at the time of its constructions was the largest room in London.

The Ballroom was 36.6m long, 18m wide and 13.5m long and is the largest multi-purpose room in the Palace which was opened with a ball to celebrate the end of the Crimean War in 1856. Along the East Gallery, the Queen and her State guest process to the Ballroom for the State Banquet which normally takes place on the first day of the visit.

Prominent people are invited as guest who have trade or other related associations with visiting country which include members of the Royal Family, the government and other political leaders, High Commissioners and Ambassadors.

The Queen’s Gallery – Space Dedicated for Exhibitions

Presently it is being used by The Queen for State banquets as well as other formal occasions like the annual Diplomatic Reception which is attended by 1,500 guests, a formal occasion wherein The Queen meets every head of mission accredited to the Court of St. James and for the diplomats, it is one of the highlights of the annual diplomatic social calendar.

The Ballroom has also been used on various occasions as a concert hall for memorial concerts as well as performances of arts. It is also the regular venue for Investitures which are usually twenty one a year, with nine in spring, two in summer and ten in autumn.

Other interesting areas are The Victoria Memorial which is the golden statue of Queen Victoria that is in front of the Palace facing The Mall. The Queen’s Gallery, is a space which is dedicated for exhibitions of items from the Royal Collection, a wider collection of art and treasures that are held in trust by The Queen for the Nation where only a small part of it is on display which are continuously rotated making it worth visiting and glimpsing them again.

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