Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is the Queen’s residence when she is in London, but it wasn’t originally built for royalty. In 1703 the first Duke of Buckingham built Buckingham House for himself, then almost 60 years later it was bought by King George III as a residence for his wife Queen Charlotte and their children when they weren’t staying at the official royal residence of the time, St James’s Palace. It was only declared the official royal London residence in 1837 when Victoria became queen. It was considered to be a townhouse, although with 240 bedrooms and 775 rooms overall, it’s not what most people think of when they say that name.

During World War II the royal family remained in Buckingham Palace despite the government of the time advising them to leave the city, and despite the nine direct hits German bombers made on the building.

The gates to Buckingham Palace were created in 1905 by the Bromsgrove Guild of Applied Arts, in the Arts & Crafts style. When the queen is in the building the flag flown above the building is the Royal Standard, but when she is elsewhere this is changed for the Union Flag, as shown in this 360 panorama.

Photo by Ann HS., Flickr

Did you know? Coutts is the royal family’s bank, and while the Queen famously never carries cash, there is a Coutts bank ATM in the basement of Buckingham Palace. There is also a post office, cinema, cafeteria, and 78 bathrooms – one of which John Lennon claimed the Beatles smoked a joint in back in 1964!