The palace saw its humble beginning as a large townhouse until it became the London residence and principal workplace of the British Monarchy. Here are 12 interesting things that you might find very interesting about Buckingham Palace.
1. The royals claimed the land long before they had plans to live on it
Edward the Confessor owned the village that stood there before the Norman Conquest, and Henry VIII reclaimed it for the Crown in 1531. When James I was on the throne in the early 1600s, he planned to plant a mulberry garden to rear silkworms, but used the wrong variety and had to abandon his grand idea.
2. Buckingham Palace is home to Queen Elizabeth II
Buckingham Palace is the principal London residence of Queen Elizabeth II. However, St. James’s Palace is still the official residence of the sovereign. In fact, foreign ambassadors are formally accredited to the Court of St. James’.
3. Buckingham Palace has so many rooms
There are 775 rooms in the palace. To wit, these include 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms.
4. A mulberry garden used to stand on the palace grounds
King James I started a mulberry on the site where the palace now stands to rear silkworms. However, the king picked the wrong species, so his plan eventually failed.
5. The Palace was named after the Duke of Buckingham
John Sheffield, 3rd Earl of Mulgrave, Marquess of Normanby, and later, Duke of Buckingham was a Tory politician, who built Buckingham House as his London home.
6. King George III bought the Palace for Queen Charlotte
In 1761, George III purchased Buckingham House as a gift to his wife, Queen Charlotte, as her London home, thus, it was known that time as the Queen’s House. 14 of the couple’s 15 children were born at Buckingham Palace.
7. The house passed into Royal hands in 1761
George III paid $32,784 ($4.7 million now) to buy it for his wife Queen Charlotte, who gave birth to all but one of their 15 children there. However, Queen Victoria was the first monarch to name it as her official residence when she moved there after her coronation in 1837.
8. Queen Victoria was the first sovereign to occupy the palace
Queen Victoria moved to Buckingham Palace shortly after her accession in 1837 and chose it as her official residence. The previous monarch – William IV – had preferred to live at Clarence House and to use St. James’s Palace for State functions.
9. The grand Ballroom is the palace’s pride
It’s the largest room, at 36.6m long, 18m wide, and 13.5m high. The first event held there was a celebration marking the end of the Crimean War in 1856. It’s not all ballrooms and banquet halls, though: There’s also a post office, police station, doctor’s surgery, cinema, and pool.
10. The Palace state rooms are open to the public each year
The state rooms, used for official and state entertaining, are open to the public each year for most of August and September, as part of the Palace’s Summer Opening.
11. It’s built on secret tunnels
As if a palace isn’t exciting enough, there are passageways running beneath the surface that connect the building to nearby streets. Unsurprisingly, the Queen Mother and King George VI couldn’t resist exploring. On one excursion, they apparently met a very polite man from Newcastle, who was living down there.
12. It’s easy to tell if the Queen is home
Just look at the flag! The palace flies the Union Flag when the Queen is not in, and the Royal Standard when she is. You might also spot that latter one fluttering from Victoria Tower at the Palace of Westminster: This signifies the Queen is in Parliament.