Buckingham Palace – United Kingdom
Buckingham Palace serves as the official residence and administrative headquarters of the British monarch. The Queen and her family use the palace as a venue for important guests and government events. And tourists are so enchanted by the beauty and grandeur of the palace that it has become the third most popular attraction in London in terms of the number of photos on Instagram!
Stages of history
Buckingham Palace was not immediately conceived as a royal residence. At the end of the 17th century, when the land was transferred to John Sheffield, who later received the title of Duke of Buckingham, a project was conceived to build the very first version of Buckingham House (as it was then called).
To make a palace out of Buckingham House was the idea of George III’s son George IV in 1820, which marked the beginning of a long and very expensive construction, which was never destined to end during the king’s lifetime.
The Buckingham Palace became the official residence of the British monarchs already in 1837 under Queen Victoria. Construction continued with her, when the famous central balcony was added, which is still used to welcome the public by royals during important events. Today Buckingham Palace is the central administrative residence of the British royal family.
Architecture and its features of Buckingham Palace
With 775 rooms, 1,514 doors and 40,000 light bulbs, the building exudes luxury. And unlike most other royal palaces in Europe, Buckingham Palace still serves its purpose and is so popular that even its guards have their own emoji.
The famous reconstruction of the Buckingham Palace was made under the direction of the neoclassical architect John Nash in the 19th century and cost King George IV almost $ 1 billion (64 billion rubles) in modern money. The talented but wasteful Nash was fired from his post as chief architect, because his French neoclassical ideas were beyond the means of even the monarch.
He was replaced by Edward Blore, whose design was a little simpler and, most importantly, cheaper, which was reflected in the relative modernity of the architecture of the palace compared to many European residences of monarchs.
By the way, the building of the Buckingham Palace is located on 77,000 (!) Square meters of area, and they say that in our time the palace would cost $ 5 billion, if, of course, it was ever put up for sale.
How to get there and surroundings
The Buckingham Palace is located in the center of the capital, next to three famous parks – St. James’s Park, Green Park and Hyde Park. The nearest metro stations are St. James’s Park , Green Park and Hyde Park Corner.
From the Buckingham Palace, you can walk to Piccadilly Circus with its neon signs, countless shops and a fountain that is always inhabited by street musicians. Or even walk to Victoria Station, a busy transport hub with easy access to just about anywhere in London.
Opening hours and cost of visit
There is no definite answer here, the Buckingham Palace can be seen behind the fence at any time of the day. But for those who want to catch the famous changing of the guard of well-trained soldiers of the royal guard in huge furry hats, it is worth remembering that the ceremony begins at 10:45.
All guidebooks advise you to arrive in advance, about an hour in advance, in order to take a place with good visibility right at the fence. The ceremony lasts 45 minutes, so be prepared to stand in any weather for almost two hours. And from July to September (exact dates are updated every year) you can even get inside the Buckingham Palace.
You will be guided through the ceremonial halls of the building, where you can see the royal collection of works of art, including paintings by Rembrandt and Rubens, sculptures by Antonio Canova and Antoine Chantere, valuable tableware, interiors, etc. The cost of the tour is £ 25 (≈ 2000 rubles). , you should book tickets in advance on the website.
The presence of the queen in the Buckingham Palace is easily identified by the flag flying over the building. When the ” royal standard ” flag hangs , it means that Queen Elizabeth is currently in residence. When the Union Jack flag of Great Britain flies elegantly in the wind, it indicates that the Queen is now in a different place.
During World War II, the Buckingham Palace was bombed nine times! At the same time, the royal family flatly refused to leave him, arguing that the king and his family should remain where their people are. Fortunately, the destruction was minor and no one was hurt.
In the Buckingham Palace, as befits luxurious mansions, in addition to bedrooms and halls, there is a whole infrastructure. The royal family bank even installed an ATM machine in the basement of Buckingham Palace. Other amenities include a post office, police station, cinema, cafeterias and 78 bathrooms. The Beatles frontman John Lennon claimed that the band once smoked a joint in one of the palace’s washrooms when they were invited to an awards ceremony in 1964. The rest of the group understandably deny this story.
Royal palaces may be relics of a less democratic past, but for the British, Buckingham Palace is a national treasure and a reason to be proud of the country’s greatness. Therefore, I advise you to go on a tour of the inside of the palace to get a feel for the history and culture of Great Britain, which are so closely associated with the monarchy. In addition, modern royals are more likely to be in the status of celebrities than imperious rulers – rather than entertainment to stroll through the mansions of modern princes and princesses.