7 facts about Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth II's official London residence, has served as the administrative headquarters of the British monarch since 1837. It was built in 1703 as Buckingham House - a London residence for John Sheffield, the 3rd Earl of Mulgrave

Buckingham Palace on VE Day in 1945. (Photo by Harry Todd/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Today the palace has 775 rooms in total, including 19 state rooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. It is a focal point for significant national celebrations and commemorations, with more than 50,000 visitors each year. But how much do you know about the palace?

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Here, as President Trump begins a three-day state visit to the UK which includes a state banquet at Buckingham Palace, we bring you seven historical facts about palace…

1

The palace was originally called Buckingham House

The palace first originated as Buckingham House, which was built by John Sheffield, 3rd Earl of Mulgrave and Marquess of Normandy, as his London residence in 1703. In the same year, Sheffield was made the Duke of Buckingham and he consequently named the house after his title.

In 1761, George III decided to purchase Buckingham House for his wife, Queen Charlotte, in order to create a comfortable family home near to St James’s Palace. As a result, 14 of George and Charlotte’s 15 children were born at the house.

2

The palace was built on a site where James I planted a mulberry garden in order to cultivate silkworms

However, it seems the king used the wrong type of mulberry bush and was unable to successfully produce any silk.

3

Queen Victoria was the first British monarch to use Buckingham palace as an official residence

Buckingham House was renovated into a palace in the 1820s after George IV commissioned architect John Nash. However, it was Queen Victoria who was the first British monarch to use the palace as their official residence when she moved there in 1837. Since then the palace has served as the official London residence of Britain’s sovereigns, and today it is the administrative headquarters of the monarch.

Buckingham Palace was referred to as The Queen's Palace during George III's reign. (Photo by Guildhall Library & Art Gallery/Heritage images/Getty Images)
Buckingham Palace was referred to as The Queen’s Palace during George III’s reign. (Photo by Guildhall Library & Art Gallery/Heritage images/Getty Images)
4

Queen Victoria was also the first monarch to use the balcony for public appearances

We are today familiar with members of the royal family waving to crowds from the balcony of Buckingham Palace. However, it was only in 1851, during the opening of the Great Exhibition – an international exhibition organised by Prince Albert – that Queen Victoria made the first ever public appearance on the balcony. It was in the 20th century that George VI brought in the tradition of commemorating the end of the Trooping the Colour celebrations, which marks the monarch’s annual birthday parade, with a RAF fly-past.

Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert, pictured in 1854. (Photo by Roger Fenton/Roger Fenton/Getty Images)
Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert, pictured in 1854. (Photo by Roger Fenton/Roger Fenton/Getty Images)
5

Buckingham Palace has an impressive 775 rooms in total

With 775 rooms, Buckingam Palace boasts 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 19 state rooms and 78 bathrooms. There are also 760 windows and 1,514 doors.

The palace’s music room has, over the years, been used for royal christenings. The Prince of Wales, Princess Anne, the Duke of York and Prince William have all been christened there by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Buckingham Palace pictured during a Trooping The Colour ceremony c1990s. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Buckingham Palace pictured during a Trooping The Colour ceremony c1990s. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
6

Edward VII (1841–1910) is the only monarch to have both been born and died at Buckingham palace

William IV was also born there, and our current queen, Elizabeth II, gave birth to the Prince of Wales and Prince Andrew at the palace.

7

Buckingham Palace was at the centre of the suffragette campaign in 1914

In 1914, a group of women attempted to breach the palace’s gates in order to present their ‘Votes for Women’ petition. Two suffragettes also chained themselves to the railings of the palace.

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Facts sourced from www.royal.gov.uk