Buckingham Palace is one of the most important buildings in London. Its a royal residence that has been the UK’s ‘working’ palace since 1705. The palace has 775 rooms; 188 are designated as staff bedrooms, 92 offices, 52 are royal and guest bedrooms, 19 are staterooms, and a grand total of 78 of these rooms are bathrooms.
Buckingham Palace Facts for Kids
- Construction started in 1703 and finished in 1705
- The Queen stays at Buckingham Palace most of the year.
- The place has 775 room
- It has 39 acres of gardens
- There are 1,514 doors and 760 windows at Buckingham Palace
- It is over 77,000 square meters in size
- 50,000 guests visit each year for banquets, lunches, dinners, and receptions.
Somerset House: The Queen’s House, a royal retreat during George III’s reign
In 1761 the property was bought by King George III as a private retreat for his wife Queen Charlotte, who before the fact had the rights for Somerset house.
The building saw extensive remodeling during this time to better fit the royalty, a process that lasted well until 1826.
This purpose led to the property earning the nickname of “The Queen’s House,” and the building saw extensive use by her majesty, who went on to have 14 out of her 15 children on its grounds.
The House that Turned Buckingham into a Royal Residence
Long before being a royal residence, the property was known as Buckingham House, named after its original owner John Sheffield, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby.
This first house was built in 1703 under the design of William Winde with a wide design that included three floors and two flanking wings.
The property was owned by Sheffield for nearly 60 years. However, it was eventually sold by an illegitimate son of the Duke to King George III for £21,000.
How The Balcony Became an Iconic
While nowadays the palace balcony is as iconic as the building itself and a mainstay in most celebrations, this wasn’t always the case.
In fact, the balcony wouldn’t have any role in public presentations or events until 1851, when Queen VIctoria set a precedent that would last for generations.
In 1851 Prince Albert presented the Great Exhibition, and to honor and support this event, Queen Victoria went out to the balcony and greeted the public on the opening day.
This small gesture started the tradition we know to this day.
A Royal Garden in London
While nobody would doubt the beauty of the palace’s gardens, what most people don’t realize is that they are the largest private garden in all of London.
With 39-acres, the palace garden is an event and location in and of itself and plays a key role in various ceremonies throughout the year.
There are over a thousand trees on it as well as countless flowers and bird species that have made a home at it. Interestingly the garden itself predates most buildings in the palace.
While the gardens and buildings of the palace are well known, perhaps less popular is its river.
You read that right; the palace counts with its own secret river; however, this is just an unintentional side effect of its location.
Dozens of rivers once flowed through London, but due to concerns over the smell, most were completely blocked.
Today a portion of Tyburn River still flows under the palace and occasionally causes floodings on its premises.
The First of many Balls
The palace has been known to hold countless balls throughout history as a form of celebration and negotiation with other countries and parties.
And the first of these balls happened during the year 1856 as a way to celebrate the end of the Crimean War.
This conflict started over the rights of the church to certain territories and was originally waged by the French and Russians.
However, Queen Victoria decided to aid the french in the conflict, and her support for the cause culminated in the first ball celebrated in the palace.
The Three Summer Parties
The gardens of the palace are best known for hosting three distinct official parties every summer, traditionally in July.
These large events can host up to 30,000 guests and are a key part of the palace’s social campaigns.
The main function of the parties is to reward public service and give representatives of the community a way to discuss their ideas and concerns with the royal family.
Other parties are hosted on the premises, but the three summer parties are the most important by far.
World War II Bombed by Germans on Nine Separate Occasions
During World War II, the residence was a major target for the Germans, who managed to bomb it on nine separate occasions.
By far, the most famous of these events was the bombing run of 1940, which managed to destroy the palace chapel.
George VII and Queen Elizabeth refused to leave the palace despite the security concerns, citing the similar tragedies that befell their subjects.
Part of the destruction caused to the chapel was shown on cinemas to show civilians how the war affected royalty as well.
How much does Buckingham Palace cost to run?
Ever thought about how much electricity such a large construction demands?
While there are no official statements, it is assumed that the power consumption of the palace amounts to £1.1million per year.
As a whole, the property holds well over 40,000 distinct lightbulbs, and that’s just the most basic form of electricity consumption on the list.
The modernization efforts of the residence began in 1883, and the first lights to be installed were located in the ballroom.
Inside the royal residence, a renovation controversy.
While the royal residence is now an icon of design and architecture, it was a much more polemic topic back in the day.
The premises were remodeled by the famous architect Josh Nash starting in 1825. And while there has never been an argument against its aesthetic appeal, a controversy stirred due to the costs.
Nash’s original estimate on costs was £252,690, however by 1830, the actual costs had risen to £613,269, and the remodeling remained unfinished.
This ultimately became the end of Nash’s career.
We’ll need a map for this!
There are 775 distinct and separate bedrooms in the property, a number that might seem scandalous at first but is actually far surpassed by other palaces in the world; in fact, the Istana Nurul Iman more than doubles this quantity with its 1788 rooms.
Out of these 775 rooms, 188 are designated as staff bedrooms, 92 offices, 52 are royal and guest bedrooms, 19 are staterooms, and a grand total of 78 of these rooms are bathrooms.
Batman’s Latest Campaign Causes Security Concerns
While the residence has hosted many curious guests, both invited and uninvited, perhaps the most peculiar was the caped crusader himself: Batman.
In September of 2014, a protester dressed head to toe in a Batman costume scaled a wall nearby the famous balcony and remained in place for well over 5 hours.
This was just the latest stunt in a campaign advocating for custody rights for divorced parents, but the event caused harsh criticism on the crown and the installations themselves.
Various individuals were concerned over the actual safety of the palace, and the security protocols had to be revised.