The Buckingham Palace ( German Buckingham Palace ) is the official residence of the British monarch in London . The building in the City of Westminster district serves not only as an apartment for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip but also for official state events. This is how foreign heads of state are received there when they visit Great Britain . It is also an important attraction for tourists.
It was built in 1703 as a large town house for John Sheffield, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby . King George III acquired the house in 1761 as a private residence. Over the next 75 years, the palace was gradually expanded, mainly by architects John Nash and Edward Blore . The building finally comprised three wings around an inner courtyard. With Queen Victoria's accession to the throne in 1837, the palace became the official residence of the British monarch. The administrative seat of the monarchy, however, remained at St James's Palace , so that today the foreign ambassadors are still accredited to the court of St. James , although they hand over their letters of credence to the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
The last significant expansion to the palace occurred in the times of Victoria, when a wing was added to the east side to close off The Mall . The entrance for state guests, the Marble Arch , was dismantled and rebuilt at its current location near Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park . The east facade was in 1913 with Portland - limestone covered to the background for the Victoria Memorial to form. The public face of Buckingham Palace, which is very well known today, was created in the process.
The original Georgian interior design included, at the suggestion of Sir Charles Long, the generous use of marble painting (" Scagliola ") in bright colors and blue and pink lapis lazuli . A large-scale refurbishment in the Belle Époque style took place under King Edward VII . A color scheme consisting of a combination of cream tones and gold was used. Many of the smaller reception rooms are designed in the Chinese Regency architectural style. They were furnished with furniture and decorations that were brought from the Royal Pavilion in Brighton and Carlton House after the death of King George IV . Buckingham Palace Gardens are the largest private gardens in London. The landscape architecture initially came from Capability Brown . However, it was later modified by William Ailton , the architect of the Royal Botanic Gardens, and John Nash. The artificial lake was completed in 1828 and is fed by water from the Serpentine , a lake in Hyde Park.
The first house on record on the site of what is now Buckingham Palace was called Goring House . It was built around 1633 by George Goring, 1st Earl of Norwich . However, the house that is now the center of the current palace was not built until 1703 by John Sheffield, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby . John Sheffield had the house built by architect William Winde . He created a large two-story house with a mezzanine in the center and two smaller service wings on the flanks. Buckingham's house was given to King George III in 1761 by his successor, Sir Charles Sheffield. sold. Initially it was only intended to serve as a private retreat for the royal family, especially Queen Charlotte , and not as an official royal residence. 14 of the 15 children of George III. and Charlotte were born in Buckingham House, also known as the Queen's House at the time
From the house to the palace
Queen Charlotte died in 1818 and her mentally deranged husband George III. in 1820. Her prodigal son, King George IV, decided to abandon Carlton House , which he had previously lived in , and expand Buckingham House to be shared with St. James's Palace, as his father had done. But in 1826 he changed his mind and began to convert the house into a fully equipped royal palace. He commissioned the architect John Nash to implement his plans. The palace enclosed a large square as an inner courtyard on three sides, with the former Buckingham House as the central wing. The new structure was clad with Bath Stone and was designed in the French classical style. This extension still forms most of the palace today. Only the wing that closes off the inner courtyard from The Mall street was built later. At the point where this new east wing was to be built later, the Marble Arch, a colossal triumphal arch made of Racaccione marble, was modeled on the Arch of Constantine in Rome . The arch cost £ 34,450 and was used as an entrance for state guests. George IV originally planned to crown the arch with a bronze equestrian statue of himself, but he died before the work was completed. Finally, when Parliament hesitantly paid the bill for the statue, it decided to put it up in Trafalgar Square . The interior of the palace showed an unprecedented shine. George IV was advised on the interior design by Sir Charles Long, who advocated large-scale use of luminous marble paintings and blue and pink lapis lazuli. The ceilings were provided with stucco sculptures. Georg IV died in 1830 and the colorful and heavily gilded state apartments were only completed under the rule of King Wilhelm IV and his wife, Queen Adelheid . King Wilhelm IV and his wife preferred a more modest style than George IV.
The escalating costs and the still unfinished palace caused concern in parliament and the press. William IV dismissed John Nash as architect and instead hired Edward Blore , who admirably accommodated the king's rather reserved taste. In contrast to Nash, Edward Blore represented a more business-like rather than idealistic architectural style. Nevertheless, he kept Nash's previous work and completed it in a similar, if more solid and less picturesque way. Although the king and queen held receptions in the state apartments and held court there, they never lived in the palace themselves. Instead, they lived in Clarence House , a more modest London townhouse that they had built before they came to the throne. The total cost of remodeling and expanding Buckingham Palace added up to over £ 719,000. When the Houses of Parliament burned down in 1834 , the King offered the unfinished Buckingham Palace as a replacement. This suggests that he was less enthusiastic about the ornate palace than his late brother. However, the offer was not accepted and the parliament building was rebuilt.
With the entry of Queen Victoria, who had succeeded her late uncle William IV on the British throne three weeks earlier , Buckingham Palace officially became the main residence of the British monarchs on July 13, 1837. While the state apartments were lavishly decorated in gold and bright colors, the facilities required to operate the new palace proved less sophisticated. The chimneys smoked so much that the fires had to be put out. As a result, the courtyard froze in icy splendor. The ventilation was so inadequate that there was a musty smell inside. And when it was decided to install gas lighting , serious concerns were raised that the gas could collect on the lower floors. It was also said that the servants were undisciplined and work-shy, making the palace look dirty. After the Queen's marriage to Prince Albert in 1840, the Prince began reorganizing the offices of the royal household and servants of the palace. He also set about eliminating the design defects, which could be remedied that same year.
The large wing after The Mall was built after the couple's wedding. Around 1847, the couple found the palace too small for their growing family and court life. The new east wing was built according to plans by the architect Edward Blore as the end of the square inner courtyard. The new wing has, among other things, the balcony from which the royal family waves to the crowds on various occasions. It was also during this period that the ballroom wing and several other state apartments were built by James Pennethorne , a student of the architect John Nash.
Before the death of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria loved music and dance, and the great artists of the time were invited to perform at Buckingham Palace. Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy gave three concerts there. Even Johann Strauss and his orchestra appeared at Buckingham Palace when they were staying at a guest performance in England. The premiere of Strauss' "Alice Polka" took place in 1849 in the palace in honor of the Queen's daughter, Princess Alice . During this time, in addition to the usual royal ceremonies, inaugurations and presentations, lavish costume balls were often held at Buckingham Palace.
In 1851 Victoria had the Marble Arch , which had previously been the state entrance to the palace, moved to its current location on the northeastern edge of Hyde Park . After Prince Albert's death in 1861, the Queen left Buckingham Palace and lived at Windsor Castle , Balmoral Castle and Osborne House . For many years the palace was rarely used and neglected. Growing pressure from public opinion eventually led the widowed queen to return to London. But even then, she preferred another place of residence. Victoria continued to hold official court events at Windsor Castle rather than Buckingham Palace, with the solemn Queen usually dressed in mourning black.
The 20th century
With the accession to the throne of King Edward VII , the palace was revived. The King and his wife Alexandra of Denmark had always been an important part of London's high society and their friends, known as the “Club of Marlborough House ”, were considered the most important representatives of this era. Buckingham Palace once again became the focal point of the British Empire and the backdrop for entertainment of majestic proportions.
In 1913, architect Aston Webb redesigned the famous main east facade, created by Blore in 1850. It has now been partially modeled after Giacomo Leonis Lyme Park in Cheshire . The newly clad main facade was designed as a backdrop for the Victoria Memorial , the large marble monument on the forecourt outside the main gate. George V, who succeeded Edward VII on the throne in 1910, was more thoughtful than his father. This was reflected in palace life: more emphasis was placed on official state occasions and royal duties and less emphasis on lavish celebrations and fun. George V's wife, Queen Mary , was an art lover and was very interested in the royal collection of furniture and works of art. She had them partially restored and expanded. Queen Mary also had many trim and fixtures installed, such as a pair of Empire-style marble fireplaces designed by Benjamin Vulliamy , made in 1810. The queen had it installed in the arch room on the first floor. The arched room is a huge low room in the middle of the garden facade. She was also responsible for the design of the Blue Salon. This room is 21 meters long and was previously known as the South Salon. It has one of the most beautiful ceilings created by Nash and is described by historian Olwen Hedley in his book Buckingham Palace as the most beautiful of the whole palace. It is greater and more magnificent than the throne room and the ballroom. The latter was built to take over the original function of the Blue Salon.
The palace was not damaged during the First World War . The more valuable pieces of equipment were moved to Windsor Castle, but King George V and the royal family stayed on site. The government convinced the king to demonstratively and publicly lock the wine cellars and forsake alcohol for the duration of the war in order to set a good example for the population. Edward VIII later told a biographer that his father secretly drank a glass of port every evening while the queen added a dash of champagne to her cup of fruit juice. The king's children were photographed serving tea to wounded officers in the neighboring Royal Mews during this period.
During the Second World War , the palace was a selected target for attacks by the German Air Force and was bombed seven times. The Germans believed that the destruction of Buckingham Palace would undermine British morale. A bomb hit the courtyard while King George VI. and Queen Elizabeth were in the building. Although many panes were broken, there was no major damage to the building. However, there were only limited reports of such incidents during the war. The most damaging and widely reported bombing was that of the Palace Chapel in 1940. Pictures of the damage were shown in all cinemas in England to show that rich and poor suffered together. The king and queen were filmed inspecting their bombed-out apartment, the queen smiling and wearing a coat to match the hat. At the time, the Queen uttered her famous quote: “I'm glad we were bombed. Now I can look the people in the East End in the eye. ”It was only well after the war ended that it was reported that on some trips prior to this event, the royal family was greeted with boos instead of cheers when they visited the sites of bomb damage in London. However, the minister accompanying the royal family was the real target of public animosity. The newspaper "The Sunday Graphic" reported dutifully:
- From the Editor: The King and Queen went through the same ordeal as their subjects. For the second time a German bomber has attempted to bring death and destruction to Her Majesties' homes ... Once this war is over, the common danger that King George and Queen Elizabeth shared with their people will become a dearly one over the years Memory and inspiration.
On September 15, 1940, the Royal Air Force pilot Ray Holmes rammed his Hawker Hurricane into a German Do 17 that was trying to bomb the palace. Holmes had run out of ammunition and made up his mind to ram the attacking plane. Both planes crashed, with the pilots surviving. There is a film recording of this incident. The aircraft engine was later exhibited in the Imperial War Museum in London.
Eleanor Roosevelt was received like a head of state during her visit during World War II. It was important to the British press during wartime to show that monarchs suffered like their subjects. So she reported that the first lady would be the guest of honor in the only comfortable bedroom, Queen Elizabeth's bedroom , while all other furniture had been removed from Buckingham Palace. But this story may just be an anecdote. It is now known that the royal family stayed at Windsor Castle for most of their safety during World War II. It is therefore unlikely that they left Mrs. Roosevelt alone in the empty palace at night during the air raids.
On the occasion of the end of the Second World War in Europe on May 8, 1945 ( VE Day ), the palace was the focus of British celebrations. The King and Queen appeared on the balcony with their daughters Princess Elisabeth and Princess Margaret to hear the cheers of the huge crowd on the mall.
According to the WAZ , the palace is worth 1.2 billion euros in 2008.
Buckingham Place does have over 775 rooms. The main rooms of the palace are located in the piano nobile (main floor) behind the west-facing garden facade in the rear part of the palace. The center of this decorated suite of state rooms is the music room. Its large arch is the most striking feature of the facade. On either side of the music room are the blue and white salons. In the middle of the suite is the picture gallery, which serves as a corridor and connects the state apartments with one another. The gallery has skylights and is 50 m long. It shows paintings by Rembrandt , Van Dyck , Rubens and Vermeer , among others . Other rooms next to the picture gallery are the throne room and the green salon. The green salon serves as a huge anteroom to the throne room and is part of the ceremonial path from the guard room at the head of the great staircase to the throne room. The guard room includes a large white marble statue of Prince Albert wearing Roman clothing and perched on a draped grandstand with wall hangings.
On the ground floor under the state apartments there is a suite of rooms with a little less sumptuously furnished rooms, which are called semi-state apartments. They branch off from the marble hall and are used for less formal receptions such as meals and private audiences. Some of the rooms are named and decorated after individual visitors, such as the "Gemach von 1844", which was specially decorated for the state visit of Tsar Nicholas I. At the center of the suite is the arched room, which thousands of guests pass annually to attend the Queen's garden parties in the royal gardens. The Queen uses a smaller suite in the north wing for private purposes. When Blore built the new east wing between 1847 and 1850, the Royal Pavilion in Brighton was again stripped of many of its fittings. As a result, many of the rooms in the new wing exude a remarkably oriental atmosphere. The red and blue Chinese dining room is furnished with parts of the Brighton banquet and music rooms. The fireplace, which is also from Brighton, is more of an Indian than a Chinese design. The Yellow Drawing Room features 18th century wallpaper that was supplied for the Brighton drawing room in 1817, while the fireplace follows the European idea of what a Chinese counterpart would look like. It therefore features nodding mandarins and fearsome winged dragons in niches .
In the middle of the east wing is the famous balcony, behind whose glass doors the central room is located. This is a Chinese style drawing room that was embellished by Queen Mary in the late 1920s. However, the lacquer doors were brought in from Brighton as early as 1873. A huge gallery runs the entire length of the Piano Nobile in the east wing, modestly referred to as the main corridor. It has mirrored doors and the walls, which are also mirrored, cast images of the porcelain pagodas and other pieces of oriental furniture that come from Brighton. The Chinese Dining Room and the Yellow Salon are located at the opposite ends of the gallery.
Foreign heads of state who are guests at Buckingham Palace during a state visit live in the so-called 'Belgian Suite'. This suite is located on the ground floor of the north-facing garden front. These rooms were furnished for Prince Albert's uncle Leopold I , the first king of the Belgians. During his short reign, King Edward VIII lived in these rooms.
An organ has been in the ballroom since 1855 , which was built in 1818 by the organ builder Lincoln for the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. The instrument has 27 registers on three manuals and a pedal.
- Pair : III / I, III / II, I / P, II / P, III / P
Under the reign of Elizabeth II, the court ceremonies changed radically. Access to the palace is no longer an exclusive privilege of the upper class. Formal court attire has been abolished. Under previous rulers, men who did not wear uniform had to wear knee breeches based on models from the 18th century. For evening parties, women had to wear dresses with trains and tiaras , alternatively or even in addition to them with headdresses. The dress code in the palace after World War I was very strict. When Queen Mary wanted to shorten her dresses to a length of a few centimeters above the floor as part of the fashion of the time, she asked a lady-in-waiting to shorten one of her dresses as a test and then await the reaction of the king. King George V was horrified, and so Queen Mary's dress hem was unfashionably long. King George VI. and Queen Elizabeth were a little more fashionable, and so the hems of the day dresses could be shortened.
The Prime Minister of Labor Ramsay MacDonald was in 1924 the first man in the suit, which was received by the monarch in the palace. However, this remained unique in the period that followed. Until the Second World War, the court suit remained the obligatory clothing for guests at the court. Nowadays most men wear their dress uniform or a suit when visiting court , and in the evening, depending on the degree of formality of the event, a tuxedo or tails . If tailcoats are required for men, women wear a diadem if they have one. However, this is not officially required.
One of the first major changes the Queen made in 1958 was to abolish the debutante induction ceremony. The noble young women had previously been introduced to the monarch in the throne room. The debutantes wore a court dress with three long ostrich feathers as hair ornaments. After entering the throne room, they curtsied, took a few steps backwards according to a fixed choreography and performed another curtsey. In the meantime they had to watch out for their train of the prescribed length, which represented a risk of stumbling that should not be underestimated.
The Queen found this ceremony too elitist and out of date and replaced the performances with large and frequent garden parties to which a broad cross-section of British society is invited. The throne room is used today when the Queen receives official addresses, for example when congratulating her on anniversaries. The royal wedding pictures are also made on the pedestal of the throne.
Investitures , such as the knighthood , and awards are made in the Victorian Ballroom, built 1854th At 37 x 20 m, it is the largest room in the palace and is now used more frequently than the throne room. During the investitures, the queen does not sit on the throne, but stands on the pedestal under a huge dome-shaped velvet canopy. This was already used in 1911 at the Durbar in Delhi , a major court day on the occasion of the coronation of George V as Emperor of India. A military band plays in the musicians' gallery, while the recipients of the honors approach the monarch and receive their honors.
State banquets are also held in the ballroom. These formal dinners are held on the first night of visits by foreign heads of state. Often over 150 invited guests appear on these occasions and dine from golden plates. The largest such evening party takes place every November when the monarch invites members of the foreign diplomatic corps. On this occasion, all of the state apartments are used, through which the entire royal family performs a procession. She starts her way at the large doors at the north end of the picture gallery. As if conceived by Nash, the large doors, mirrored on both sides, are open and reflect the numerous crystal chandeliers and wall sconces, which creates the intended optical illusion of space and light.
Smaller ceremonies such as the reception of new ambassadors take place in the "Room of 1844". The Queen also holds small lunches here and meetings of the Privy Council . Larger lunches are held in the arched and domed music room or in the state dining room. On all formal occasions, guards from the Yeomen of the Guard in their ancient uniforms, as well as other court officials such as the Lord Chamberlain of the Household .
Since the bombing of the palace chapel in World War II, royal baptisms have taken place in the music room. The Queen's first three children were baptized here in a special golden baptismal font. Even Prince William was baptized here, while his brother Prince Harry at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle was baptized.
The largest event of the year in terms of the number of participants is the garden festival, which is attended by up to 9,000 guests who have tea and sandwiches in several marquee tents. First the guests gather, to the sound of the national anthem, which is played by a military band, the queen appears from the arched room, slowly walks through the ranks of the guests and welcomes some of the guests selected for this honor in her private tea tent.
The measures taken to protect the royal family are extensive. However, there were some serious security breaches on the palace grounds and elsewhere that were reported in the press. For security reasons, a detailed floor plan of the palace is not available. It is generally assumed by the public that the famous armed guards in front of the palace only have a ceremonial role. In contrast, they are actually part of the security measures. The palace also has its own police station, and members of the royal family all have bodyguards. Other security measures are not disclosed. A battalion of the Guard Infantry (Foot Guards) is only 275 meters away in the Wellington Barracks. Further units are located about one kilometer away in the Chelsea barracks (Guard Infantry) and the Hyde Park barracks ( Household Cavalry ).
During the Second World War, an air raid shelter was created in a house maid's room. More recently there are reports of a bunker that is said to have been built out of concern about an increased threat situation in the course of the war on terror.
The most serious security breach to date occurred in 1982 when a certain Michael Fagan managed to get into Queen Elizabeth II's bedroom while she was sleeping. In 2003, Daily Mirror reporter Ryan Parry was a house servant at Buckingham Palace. One of his references was a sham, so obviously his verification was only carried out superficially. The incident occurred at the same time as George W. Bush's state visit to Great Britain, who, among other things, stayed at the palace. Parry managed to take photos of Bush's bedroom, the Queen's breakfast table, and the Duke of York's chamber. The photos themselves didn't reveal anything spectacular other than the fact that the queen's two younger sons displayed downright bourgeois tastes in choosing the furniture in their bedrooms and that the queen kept her cereal in a Tupperware container. The palace sued the Daily Mirror for privacy intrusion, and the newspaper turned its material over to the palace and reimbursed the queen for her expenses in an out-of-court settlement in November 2003.
Most of the security breaches happened outside the palace building. In 1974 Ian Ball attempted to kidnap Princess Anne on The Mall on her return to the palace. Several people were injured. In 1981 three German tourists camped in the palace garden. To do this, they overcame the garden wall secured with several layers of barbed wire. Apparently they assumed that the park was part of Hyde Park. In 1993, opponents of nuclear power climbed over the palace wall and held a sit-in on the palace lawn. A year later, a naked paraglider landed on the roof. In 1995 the student John Gillard rammed the heavy wrought iron palace gates with his vehicle and lifted a 1500 kg gate from its hinges. In 1997, a runaway mentally confused patient was found walking around the palace grounds. This led to a renewed review of the security measures.
In 2004, a protester advocating the rights of fathers who are separated from their wives achieved widespread press coverage. In a batman costume , he had climbed a landing on the east wing, near the central balcony. In the same incident, a second man disguised as Batman's assistant Robin was arrested before he could climb the building.
Use and opening to the public
In addition to being used as the apartment of Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip , the palace is the workplace for 450 people. Every year around 50,000 people take part in events on the palace grounds such as the garden parties, receptions, audiences and banquets. Buckingham Palace also serves as the setting for the daily Changing of the Guard ceremony , a major tourist attraction in London.
The opening of the palace's state apartments to the public at the beginning of the 1990s was a major breach of tradition. Originally the money raised was used to repair the fire damage to Windsor Castle . Since then, the west wing of the palace has been opened to the public every summer in August and September.
The palace is not privately owned by the Queen, but belongs to the British state along with its art collection. The priceless furniture, paintings, wall fittings and other treasures, including many Faberge jewels are part of the Royal Collection ( Royal Collection ).
There is a large park-like garden at the rear of the palace. It is the largest private garden in London. The original landscape architecture came from Capability Brown . It was later redesigned by William Ailton, who also created Kew Gardens , and John Nash. Like the palace, the gardens are rich in works of art. One of the most notable pieces is the Waterloo Vase, a large urn commissioned by Napoleon to celebrate his expected victories. Unfinished, it was given to Prince Regent George by Grand Duke Ferdinand of Tuscany in 1815 . The king had the vase finished by the sculptor Richard Westmacott to make it the focal point of the newly created Waterlookammer at Windsor Castle. But because she weighed 15 tons and was 5 meters high, no ceiling floor could support her weight. So it was handed over to the National Gallery of London . This gave this white elephant back to the monarch in 1906. Edward VII solved the problem by having the vase set up in its current location in the garden. There is also a small summer house in the garden that dates back to the 1740s and dates back to William Kent . Next to the palace are the Royal Mews , also created by the architect John Nash. The royal carriages are parked there, including the Golden State Carriage. These rococo carriages were built by Sir William Chambers in 1760 and decorated by Giovanni Battista Cipriani. It was first used by King George III. used at the opening of parliament in 1762 and has only been used since then for the coronation of the monarch or anniversary celebrations. The mews are also used to keep the carriage horses used in royal ceremonies in London.
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- Buckingham Palace as a 3D model in SketchUp's 3D warehouse
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- 40 facts about Buckingham Palace. Retrieved October 21, 2014 .
- More information on the organ ( Memento of the original from August 12, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.