Buckingham Palace – British Royal Family
Originally called “The Queens Palace” Buckingham Palace has been home to the British Monarchy since 1837. Just like its residents, Buckingham Palace has won a place in the heart of every British Citizen!
Buckingham Palace is located close to the center of London, at the intersection of Constitution Hill, The Mall and Birdcage Walk. The Palace has 800 rooms, including 240 bedrooms and about 80 bathrooms (no-one has managed to accurately count them all!). This makes it one of the largest residences in England – you know, as the Queen is quite a popular person!
It’s rooms and corridors contain one of the World’s greatest art collections as well as one of the the largest private gardens in London. The gardens cover 40 acres and contain tennis courts (because just one tennis court would never do!), a boating lake (in case one of the Princes feel energetic), a helicopter landing pad (for all the mega stars that Royalty entertains) and over 300 species of flowers!
Every year some 50,000 guests are entertained at garden parties, receptions, audiences and banquets. The Garden Parties are held in the summer, usually in July, although with the glorious weather predicted for this summer, who knows how many they will have?
There are still knighthoods given by the Queen and these are presented during special times called Investitures. There are usually 21 a year – nine in spring, two in the summer (once again refer to British summer above) and ten in the autumn.
Another ritual held at the palace is the Changing of the Guards. For many people, this ceremony is a reminder(friendly or otherwise) that the Royal Family is with them daily. The ceremony lasts about 45 minutes and usually takes place daily at 11:30 from April until the end of July and on alternate days for the rest of the year (weather permitting of course!).
Guarding the Sovereign
The privilege of guarding the Sovereign belongs to the Household Troops, better known as ‘the Guards’, who have carried out this duty since 1660. For operational and other reasons, this privilege is sometimes extended to other regiments of the British Army.
An interesting fact not known to most (whether they care or not) is the fact that most of the Guards will have seen action overseas, making the Guards equipped to handle the country’s most precious possessions.