Buckingham Palace, A Regal Residence
Buckingham Palace, one of Londons foremost tourist attractions, is the official residence of Britains monarch in the capital of the United Kingdom, London. It has held this status since 1837.
The building was initially built in 1705 by John Sheffield, the Duke of Buckingham, in 1705 as a country house. It was acquired by King George III in 1761 as a residence for the use of his wife. King George IV in 1826 requested John Nash, a well known architect to develop this building to palatial proportions.
Since King George IV and King William IV his younger brother who succeeded him both passed away prior to the completion of the palace, Queen Victoria was the initial sovereign to live in the palatial residence. In 1850 a newly constructed east wing was added to the palace. This imposing construction greatly expanded the palace, featuring a ballroom extending 131 feet. The east wings magnificent faade was completed in 1913; this section of the palace, facing St. James Park, is most readily recognized by the majority of people today.
It is not only the royal family which occupies Buckingham Palace; numerous members of the royal staff also live here. Whenever the Queen occupies the building, a flag is hoisted for the duration of her stay.
Around 600 rooms are found in the palace, including the throne room, picture gallery, a ballroom and a functioning swimming pool. A number of the palace rooms may be visited by the public, when the royals are not resident, in the summer months. The tour of the palace includes the sumptuous State Rooms; the Green Drawing Room, Throne Room, State Dining Room, Blue Drawing Room, Silk Tapestry Rooms and Picture Gallery are amongst the sections in the palace which may be visited. The State Rooms feature priceless works of art by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Rubens; exquisite Sevres porcelain; superb sculptures, and some of the finest furniture on the globe.
The changing of the palace guard which occurs daily outside the palace to the music of a military ensemble is eagerly awaited by a multitude of onlookers.
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