Buckingham Palace is perhaps one of the most recognizable landmarks. The building dates from 1703 when it was named Buckingham House. It was owned by the Duke of Buckingham until King George III purchased it for his growing family with Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Most of their children were born there, including Augusta Sophia of the United Kingdom, Elizabeth of the United Kingdom, Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh, Sophia of the United Kingdom and Charlotte, Princess Royal.
It became the London residence of the British monarch upon the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837. Several of her children, including Victoria, Princess Royal, Alice of the United Kingdom, Helena of the United Kingdom, Louise of the United Kingdom and Beatrice of the United Kingdom. It was hit by a bomb in the Second World War, which destroyed the chapel. Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen mother) famously said, “I’m glad we’ve been bombed. It makes me feel I can look the East End in the face”.
The Victoria Memorial is in front of Buckingham Palace. It was designed and made by sculptor Sir Thomas Brock. Though it was unveiled in 1911, it wasn’t completed until 1924.
During the summer months, the State Rooms are open to the public. This year there is an exhibition, “Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen’s Wardrobe”, which includes the Queen’s wedding dress. Photography inside is unfortunately not allowed, but it is pretty amazing. The art collection alone made me swoon. Once in the gardens, photography is allowed again, and this is the back of Buckingham Palace.
It was quite busy, so I do advise you to buy your tickets in advance. Security is strict (stricter than my border crossing on the way to England!), but they did allow me to carry my backpack with me. As I said, photography is unfortunately not allowed inside. Tickets cost £21,50, which is a bit steep in my opinion. They do have a pretty amazing shop in the gardens, where you can go crazy. I really loved walking around in history, and though I’ve been to London several times, this was my first time visiting Buckingham Palace. It was worth it!
The State Rooms are open until 2 October 2016.