Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace (27)

In the 18th century, the building was a simple mansion owned by the Dukes of Buckingham, but during the 19th century it underwent a process of total reconstruction that turned it into one of the largest and most lavish palaces in the world. To give you some sort of idea, what is the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II currently has 775 rooms.

The reforms began when George IV acceded to the throne. The old regent entrusted the task to his favourite architect, John Nash, but due to budgetary problems 10 years later the works had yet to be completed. In 1837 Queen Victoria acceded to the throne and established the official residence of the British monarchy in Buckingham Palace. Works were started up again, this time under the supervision of the architect Edward Blore. Despite everything, the brilliant stamp of Nash is evident in a large part of the building, such as the Grand Staircase, the white marble staircase in the palace’s Grand Hall.  

The long main façade, one of the most characteristic aspects of the palace, was built in 1913 with Portland stone, and the design is the work of the architect Aston Webb. In contrast, the 20 hectares of garden surrounding the palace were designed by W.T. Aiton in the 19th century. Access is restricted to the public, however.

Nevertheless, since 1993 there are some spaces that can be visited. Starting with the Green Room and the room in which the Grand Staircase is found, crowned by a beautiful cupola by Nash, and in the Throne Room, one of the main attractions, above all if you are an art lover, is the Picture Gallery, which contains paintings by grand masters such as Titian, Raphael, Canaletto, Turner, Constable and Holbein the Younger. The palace also contains, as well as these pictorial works, exquisite examples of Sèvres porcelain and sculptures by artists such as Canova and Chantrey.

The Royal Mews, the old stables, can also be visited. Here you will be able to see items such as the Gold State Coach, the carriage built in 1762 that is used on the parades of the coronation ceremony.

You cannot visit the north wing, where the private rooms of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, are located. Neither can you visit the gala dining room, where they hold all the banquets of royal weddings as well as different receptions for heads of state and representatives of foreign diplomacy. The show is guaranteed for the public, however, in the front courtyard of the palace, where the popular ceremony of the Changing of the Guard is held. Do not miss it. 

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