Buckingham Palace is known around the world as the home of the Queen and more precisely it has been the official London residence of the UK’s sovereigns since 1837. The name itself has become a way to refer to everything related to the Royal Court and the Royal Family.
Today the Palace is the administrative centre of the Monarch and it is also used to host a lot of official events and receptions, like the visits of foreign Head of States. Once a week the Queen also meets the Prime Minister.
The Palace is also a touristic attraction for its famous Changing the Guard ceremony; furthermore, Buckingham Palace is open to the public during the summer months and for a limited number of tours in December, January and at Easter each year. So, if you are visiting London in these specific times of the year, you cannot miss the State Rooms tour.
Buckingham Palace has a total of 775 rooms divided in 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. In measurements, the building is 108 metres long across the front, 120 metres deep and 24 metres high.
The story of the palace began when George III bought Buckingham House in 1761 for his wife Queen Charlotte to use as a family home close to St James’s Palace, where many court functions were held. Buckingham House became known as the Queen’s House, and 14 of George III’s 15 children were born there.
George IV in 1820, decided to reconstruct the house using it in the same way his father George III did and renamed it the Buckingham House. In the end of 1826, The King had changed his mind and he decided to transform the house into a palace. Its size has doubled by adding a new suite of rooms on the garden side facing west. Faced with mellow Bath stone, the external style reflected the French neo-classical influence favoured by George IV.
The north and south wings of Buckingham House were demolished and rebuilt on a larger scale with a triumphal arch as the centrepiece of an enlarged courtyard, to commemorate the British victories at Trafalgar and Waterloo.
By 1829 some financial problems occurred so when George IV died in 1830, his younger brother William IV took on Edward Blore to finish the work. The King never moved into the Palace. Indeed, when the Houses of Parliament were destroyed by fire in 1834, the King offered the Palace as a new home for Parliament, but the offer was declined.
Queen Victoria was the first sovereign to take up residence in July 1837 and in June 1838 she was the first British sovereign to leave from Buckingham Palace for a Coronation.
A serious problem for the newly married couple was the absence of any nurseries and too few bedrooms for visitors in fact the Marble Arch had to be moved to make room for a fourth wing, it now stands at the north-east corner of Hyde Park. The cost of the new wing was largely covered by the sale of George IV’s Royal Pavilion at Brighton.
Blore added an attic floor to the main block of the Palace and decorated it externally with marble friezes originally intended for the Marble Arch. The work was completed in 1847 but the building still needed maintenance overtime, since the stone was deteriorating.
In 1913 Blore wanted to rework the façade. Sir Aston Webb, with a number of large public buildings to his credit, was commissioned to create a new design. Webb chose Portland Stone. The reworking process ended a year and 13 weeks later. The present forecourt of the Palace, where Changing the Guard takes place, was formed in 1911 as well as the gates and railings; the North-Centre Gate is now the everyday entrance to the Palace, while the Central Gate is used for State occasions and the departure of the guard after Changing the Guard. The work was completed just before the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.
https://www.royal.uk/ per la storia del palazzo
Stefano Cau, 3A SIA