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Buckingham Palace is the official residence of Her Majesty The Queen, used as a home and an office. The London residence of the Queen and Prince Philip, and Princess Anne, Prince Edward and the Duke of York all have apartments here. |
When the Queen is in residence the Royal Standard can be seen flying above the palace. The Palace is also used for ceremonial state occasions such as investitures and banquets for visiting heads of state.
Buckingham House was built in 1702 for John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham and was purchased by George III in 1761. In 1826 George IV commissioned John Nash to transform the original house into a palace. However, Nash removed in 1830 for overspending his budget. Both George IV and his brother, William IV, died before the work on the house was completed.
The first monarch to live at Buckingham Palace was Queen Victoria, and the Palace has been the London residence of the royal family ever since.
To fund a major expansion of the palace in 1853 - 55 Queen Victoria sold the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. The east wing facade, which faces the The Mall, was designed by Aston Webb and added in 1913. Since then there have been few alterations to the palace.
Each August and September, when the royal family are away on holiday, the state rooms of Buckingham Palace are open to the public. The 18 rooms were first opened to visitors in 1993 to help raise funds to repair fire-damaged Windsor Castle. Using the public entrance in Ambassador's Court, visitors pass up the grand staircase and through magnificent state rooms, not entering the royal family's private apartments. The lavishly decorated state rooms, created by Nash in the 1820s, are the highlight of the tour. Used for state and official entertaining, these rooms are in the main west front, overlooking the garden.
The Throne Room is illuminated by seven chandeliers, and here the Queen carries out formal ceremonial duties. The Green Drawing Room is the first room entered by guests at royal functions.
The Royal Family enter the French-style White Drawing Room through a secret door from the Royal Closet, and onto the baroque Ballroom for state banquets or the State Dining Room for less formal occasions. Investitures also take place in the Ballroom.
The gold and white Music Room, with its original parquet floor, is used the presentation of State guests and royal christenings.
The Picture Gallery displays just a small selection of the Queen's magnificent collection of paintings. These important artworks include paintings by Rembrandt and Rubens, and further pieces decorate the other state rooms. The Blue Drawing Room, one of the finest in the palace, is divided into bays by giant Corinthian columns decorated with imitation onyx.
By going down the Ministers' Staircase, and through the Marble Hall, the Garden can be reached. Set out in 1825 by William Townsend Aiton, of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, this is a haven in the heart of London. Only a 1,500 foot walk is open to the pubic, which goes around the the lake, giving a rare view of the west front of the palace.
Visitors can also watch the Changing of the Queen's Guard. Dressed in scarlet tunics and bearskins, some of the Guard stand in sentry boxes outside the Palace whilst others patrol the grounds. Changing the Guard is a colourful, musical military ceremony in which the New Guard marches from St James's Palace down the Mall to Buckingham Palace. For half an hour the guards parade outside the palace while the Old Guard hands the Palace keys to the New Guard.
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London Hotels near Buckingham Palace with online reservations:
The Trafalgar Hilton, 12 Spring Gardens, Trafalgar Square, London SW1A 2TS
Holiday Inn Express London Victoria Hotel, 106 - 110 Belgrave Road, Victoria, London SW1V 2BJ
Thistle Royal Horseguards Hotel, 2 Whitehall Court, London SW1A 2EJ
Best Western Corona Hotel, 87-89 Belgrave Road, near Pimlico Underground Station, London SW1V 2BQ
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Our discount Buckingham Palace hotels are specially selected with guaranteed low internet rates for all our England and UK hotels. You will find hotels near Buckingham Palace that you can book online easily and securely. From a cheap Buckingham Palace hotel, to 4 and 5 star Buckingham Palace hotels with special offers, you are sure to find the best Buckingham Palace hotel accommodation for your stay in London.