Buckingham Palace !!EXCLUSIVE!!
Buckingham Palace (UK: /ˈbʌkɪŋəm/) is a London royal residence and the administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom.[a] Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is often at the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality. It has been a focal point for the British people at times of national rejoicing and mourning.
Originally known as Buckingham House, the building at the core of today's palace was a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703 on a site that had been in private ownership for at least 150 years. It was acquired by King George III in 1761 as a private residence for Queen Charlotte and became known as The Queen's House. During the 19th century it was enlarged by architects John Nash and Edward Blore, who constructed three wings around a central courtyard. Buckingham Palace became the London residence of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837.
The last major structural additions were made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the East Front, which contains the well-known balcony on which the royal family traditionally appears to greet crowds. A German bomb destroyed the palace chapel during the Second World War; the Queen's Gallery was built on the site and opened to the public in 1962 to exhibit works of art from the Royal Collection.
The original early-19th-century interior designs, many of which survive, include widespread use of brightly coloured scagliola and blue and pink lapis, on the advice of Sir Charles Long. King Edward VII oversaw a partial redecoration in a Belle Époque cream and gold colour scheme. Many smaller reception rooms are furnished in the Chinese regency style with furniture and fittings brought from the Royal Pavilion at Brighton and from Carlton House. The palace has 775 rooms, and the garden is the largest private garden in London. The state rooms, used for official and state entertaining, are open to the public each year for most of August and September and on some days in winter and spring.
In the Middle Ages, the site of the future palace formed part of the Manor of Ebury (also called Eia). The marshy ground was watered by the river Tyburn, which still flows below the courtyard and south wing of the palace. Where the river was fordable (at Cow Ford), the village of Eye Cross grew. Ownership of the site changed hands many times; owners included Edward the Confessor and Edith of Wessex in late Saxon times, and, after the Norman Conquest, William the Conqueror. William gave the site to Geoffrey de Mandeville, who bequeathed it to the monks of Westminster Abbey.[b]
In 1531, Henry VIII acquired the Hospital of St James, which became St James's Palace, from Eton College, and in 1536 he took the Manor of Ebury from Westminster Abbey. These transfers brought the site of Buckingham Palace back into royal hands for the first time since William the Conqueror had given it away almost 500 years earlier. Various owners leased it from royal landlords, and the freehold was the subject of frenzied speculation during the 17th century. By then, the old village of Eye Cross had long since fallen into decay, and the area was mostly wasteland. Needing money, James VI and I sold off part of the Crown freehold but retained part of the site on which he established a four-acre (1.6 ha) mulberry garden for the production of silk. (This is at the north-west corner of today's palace.) Clement Walker in Anarchia Anglicana (1649) refers to "new-erected sodoms and spintries at the Mulberry Garden at S. James's"; this suggests it may have been a place of debauchery. Eventually, in the late 17th century, the freehold was inherited from the property tycoon Sir Hugh Audley by the great heiress Mary Davies.[c]
Under the new royal ownership, the building was originally intended as a private retreat for Queen Charlotte, and was accordingly known as The Queen's House. Remodelling of the structure began in 1762. In 1775, an Act of Parliament settled the property on Queen Charlotte, in exchange for her rights to nearby Somerset House,[e] and 14 of her 15 children were born there. Some furnishings were transferred from Carlton House and others had been bought in France after the French Revolution of 1789. While St James's Palace remained the official and ceremonial royal residence, the name "Buckingham-palace" was used from at least 1791. After his accession to the throne in 1820, George IV continued the renovation intending to create a small, comfortable home. However, in 1826, while the work was in progress, the King decided to modify the house into a palace with the help of his architect John Nash. The external façade was designed, keeping in mind the French neoclassical influence preferred by George IV. The cost of the renovations grew dramatically, and by 1829 the extravagance of Nash's designs resulted in his removal as the architect. On the death of George IV in 1830, his younger brother William IV hired Edward Blore to finish the work. William never moved into the palace. After the Palace of Westminster was destroyed by fire in 1834, he offered to convert Buckingham Palace into a new Houses of Parliament, but his offer was declined.
Buckingham Palace became the principal royal residence in 1837, on the accession of Queen Victoria, who was the first monarch to reside there; her predecessor William IV had died before its completion. While the state rooms were a riot of gilt and colour, the necessities of the new palace were somewhat less luxurious. It was reported the chimneys smoked so much that the fires had to be allowed to die down, and consequently the palace was often cold. Ventilation was so bad that the interior smelled, and when it was decided to install gas lamps, there was a serious worry about the build-up of gas on the lower floors. It was also said that the staff were lax and lazy and the palace was dirty. Following the Queen's marriage in 1840, her husband, Prince Albert, concerned himself with a reorganisation of the household offices and staff, and with addressing the design faults of the palace. By the end of 1840, all the problems had been rectified. However, the builders were to return within a decade.
By 1847, the couple had found the palace too small for court life and their growing family and a new wing, designed by Edward Blore, was built by Thomas Cubitt, enclosing the central quadrangle. The large East Front, facing The Mall, is today the "public face" of Buckingham Palace and contains the balcony from which the royal family acknowledge the crowds on momentous occasions and after the annual Trooping the Colour. The ballroom wing and a further suite of state rooms were also built in this period, designed by Nash's student Sir James Pennethorne. Before Prince Albert's death, the palace was frequently the scene of musical entertainments, and the most celebrated contemporary musicians entertained at Buckingham Palace. The composer Felix Mendelssohn is known to have played there on three occasions. Johann Strauss II and his orchestra played there when in England. Under Victoria, Buckingham Palace was frequently the scene of lavish costume balls, in addition to the usual royal ceremonies, investitures and presentations.
Widowed in 1861, the grief-stricken Queen withdrew from public life and left Buckingham Palace to live at Windsor Castle, Balmoral Castle and Osborne House. For many years the palace was seldom used, even neglected. In 1864, a note was found pinned to the fence of Buckingham Palace, saying: "These commanding premises to be let or sold, in consequence of the late occupant's declining business." Eventually, public opinion persuaded the Queen to return to London, though even then she preferred to live elsewhere whenever possible. Court functions were still held at Windsor Castle, presided over by the sombre Queen habitually dressed in mourning black, while Buckingham Palace remained shuttered for most of the year.
The last major building work took place during the reign of George V when, in 1913, Sir Aston Webb redesigned Blore's 1850 East Front to resemble in part Giacomo Leoni's Lyme Park in Cheshire. This new refaced principal façade (of Portland stone) was designed to be the backdrop to the Victoria Memorial, a large memorial statue of Queen Victoria created by sculptor Sir Thomas Brock, erected outside the main gates on a surround constructed by architect Sir Aston Webb. George V, who had succeeded Edward VII in 1910, had a more serious personality than his father; greater emphasis was now placed on official entertainment and royal duties than on lavish parties. He arranged a series of command performances featuring jazz musicians such as the Original Dixieland Jazz Band (1919; the first jazz performance for a head of state), Sidney Bechet and Louis Armstrong (1932), which earned the palace a nomination in 2009 for a (Kind of) Blue Plaque by the Brecon Jazz Festival as one of the venues making the greatest contribution to jazz music in the United Kingdom.
During the First World War, which lasted from 1914 until 1918, the palace escaped unscathed. Its more valuable contents were evacuated to Windsor, but the royal family remained in residence. The King imposed rationing at the palace, much to the dismay of his guests and household. To the King's later regret, David Lloyd George persuaded him to go further and ostentatiously lock the wine cellars and refrain from alcohol, to set a good example to the supposedly inebriated working class. The workers continued to imbibe, and the King was left unhappy at his enforced abstinence.
During the Second World War, which broke out in 1939, the palace was bombed nine times. The most serious and publicised incident destroyed the palace chapel in 1940. This event was shown in cinemas throughout the United Kingdom to show the common suffering of the rich and poor. One bomb fell in the palace quadrangle while George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the future Queen Mother) were in the palace, and many windows were blown in and the chapel destroyed. Wartime coverage of such incidents was severely restricted, however. The King and Queen were filmed inspecting their bombed home; it was at this time the Queen famously declared: "I'm glad we have been bombed. Now I can look the East End in the face". The royal family were seen as sharing their subjects' hardship, as The Sunday Graphic reported: 041b061a72