Buckingham Palace

Westminster, London SW1A

Built from 1703, the house at its core was originally the townhouse of John Sheffield (1648-1721), 1st Duke of Buckingham and Lord President of the Council. It devolved to the Duke's illegitimate son, Sir Charles Herbert Sheffield, who lived here until his wife's death in 1762. That year, he sold "Buckingham House" for £21,000 to King George III who purchased it as a private residence for his wife, Queen Charlotte, and therefore it was initially referred to as the "Queen's House". It was subsequently remodelled and enlarged and by 1791 it was first referred to as "Buckingham Palace," while St. James' Palace remained the official Royal residence. In 1826, George and Charlotte's son, King George IV, collaborated with architect John Nash (1752-1835) to transform what he viewed as a 'comfortable' house into a veritable Royal palace. However, costs spiralled to such an extent that when George died in 1830 his brother, King William IV, replaced Nash with Edward Blore who finished the works on a far more modest scale.... 

This house is best associated with...

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom & the Commonwealth

b.1926

King George VI

King George VI of the United Kingdom etc.

1895-1952

King George V

King George V of the United Kingdom etc.

1865-1936

King Edward VII

King (Albert) "Bertie" Edward VII, of the United Kingdom etc.

1841-1910

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria, of the United Kingdom etc.

1819-1901

King William IV

King William IV of the United Kingdom & Ireland

1765-1837

King George IV

King George IV of the United Kingdom & Ireland

1762-1830

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Queen Charlotte of Great Britain, Ireland and Hanover

1744-1818

King George III

King George III of the United Kingdom, Ireland & Hanover

1738-1820

In 1834, the Houses of Parliament in the original Palace of Westminster were destroyed by fire. William IV - who never liked Buckingham Palace - was only too happy to offer it to Parliament as a potential new home. To his dismay, his offer was politely refused. But, three years later in 1837, his niece, Queen Victoria, acceded to the throne and she chose to make the Palace her home. From that date onwards, it has served as the Royal residence.

Queen Victoria added the East Wing in 1847 to accommodate her growing family and larger social events, while blocking off the inner courtyard from public view. Its rather austere facade which is today the commonly recognized front of Buckingham Palace was remodelled in 1913. The Palace measures 355-feet across containing 830,000-square feet of living space. There are 775-rooms including 188-staff bedrooms, 92-offices, 78-bathrooms, 52-principal bedrooms, and 19-state rooms. There is also a post office, cinema, swimming pool, doctor's surgery and jeweller's workshop. Since 1837, Buckingham Palace has been the official Royal residence of the British Monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II.

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Contributed by Mark Meredith on 21/10/2019 and last updated on 25/06/2020.

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