Buckingham Palace is the Venue for Pomp and Ceremony in London

Buckingham Palace is the London residence of the British monarchy and is one of the most recognisable landmarks in London. The original house was commissioned by John Sheffield, the Duke of Buckingham, in 1702. In 1703 Queen Ann granted him the land at the corner of St James's Park and Green Park. It became a royal residence when Buckingham House was sold to George III in 1762 for £28,000. It was later transformed into Buckingham Palace by George IV and his favourite architect, John Nash (1752 -1835).

Queen Victoria, the young daughter of the Duke of Kent, was living in Kensington Palace with her widowed mother and she became the first monarch to reside permanently in Buckingham Palace, three weeks after she acceded to the throne in 1837.

Today, Buckingham Palace is not only a royal palace, it is also a working office of Britain's constitutional monarchy. It houses the offices of those who support the day-to-day activities and duties of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh and their immediate family. It has 775 rooms, including 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms.

The Royal Household provides exceptional support and advice to The Queen, enabling her to serve the nation and its people. It employs approximately 1,200 staff across a wide range of professions, including catering, housekeeping, accountancy, secretarial, media relations, human resources, art curatorship and strategic planning. The Royal Standard flies over the palace when the Queen is in residence.

Its State rooms are regularly used by The Queen and members of the Royal Family for official and State entertaining. Each year the Palace entertains more than 50,000 guests to banquets, lunches, dinners, receptions and the Royal Garden Parties.

In 1853-55, Queen Victoria commissioned the construction of the Ballroom due to the lack of a room large enough to entertain her guests. Today, the Ballroom is used for State Banquet, normally held on the first day of the visit, and other formal occasions such as the annual Diplomatic Reception attended by 1,500 guests and as a concert hall for memorial concerts.

The State Dining Room is one of the main State Rooms where distinguished people have dined, including the 24 holders of the Order of Merit as well as presidents and prime ministers.

The Music Room has seen the christening of four of Queen Elizabeth II's Royal babies - The Prince of Wales, The Princess Royal, The Duke of York and Prince William, by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

During the second World War, Queen Victoria's chapel was bombed and it was rebuilt as the Queen's Gallery. Regular exhibitions take place at the Queen's Gallery and enable the public to see one of the finest private collections of art and antiques in the world.

The Royal Mews provides road transport for The Queen and members of the Royal Family by both horse-drawn carriage used for royal pageantry, and motor car. The Royal Mews is where the State vehicles are housed and maintained. The most magnificent of all is the 230 year old Gold State Coach used for Coronations and those carriages used for Royal and State occasions, State visits, Weddings and the State Opening of Parliament.

The Guards Museum is a repository for artefacts belonging to the five regiments of Her Majesty's Foot Guards namely Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards. Along with the two regiments of Household Cavalry, they make up Her Majesty's Household Division responsible for the guarding of the Sovereign and the Royal Palaces.

One of London's main tourist attractions is the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. These are ceremonial guard changings at four royal palaces, namely Buckingham Palace, St James's Palace, Whitehall and Windsor Castle, where the New Guard is relieving the Queen's Old Guard.

The most popular Changing of the Guard is in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace. Visitors enjoy the pomp and ceremony and the band playing for about half an hour while the New Guard is briefed. The Changing of the Guard takes place in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace at 11.30 every day in summer, every other day in winter, and lasts about 30 minutes (weather permiting).

During August and September when The Queen makes her annual visit to Balmoral Castle in Scotland, the Palace's nineteen state rooms are open to visitors.

Hotels Near Buckingham Palace

The Stafford Hotel

Dukes Hotel

Crowne Plaza

Taj Suites And Residences

Hilton London, Green Park

Flemings Mayfair Hotel

Thistle Westminster

The Ritz, London

The Athenaeum

The Park Lane Hotel

Holiday Inn London Mayfair

The Goring

London Park Lane

Rocco Forte Browns Hotel

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Sightseeing In London Need Not Cost An Arm And A Leg
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