From news broadcasts to blockbuster films and everything in between, no London building is more iconic than Buckingham Palace. Nestled among the delightful foliage of Green Park, this magnificent palace invites visitors to experience the opulence and splendor that the United Kingdom is famous for. But it’s not all afternoon-tea and cute corgis behind the golden gates of this British edifice. Unravel the secrets of Britain’s most-coveted home as we divulge 14 crazy facts, we bet you never knew about this regal residence.
1. Built as ‘Buckingham House’ in 1703, Buckingham palace was originally constructed as a large townhouse for Duke Buckingham. In 1791, King George III bought the property as a gift for Queen Charlotte, thus earning it the name The Queen’s House.
2. The palace became the London residence of one of Britain’s most famous and longest reigning monarchs, Queen Victoria, in 1982.
3. Between 1838 and 1841 a teenager named Edward Jones, nicknamed ‘the boy Jones’ by newspapers, broke into this highly-secure building three times! He stole food from the kitchen, the Queen’s underwear from her chamber and even seized the opportunity to sit on the royal throne. He wasn’t the only thrill-seeker to undermine royal security and in 1982, Michael Fagan broke into the royal residence. He even gained access into Queen Elizabeth II’s own bedroom, in a security breach which shook a nation.
4. This monumental palace is so grand, it stretches across an area of 39 acres. The palace is comprised of 775 room. Of these there are 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 office, 19 state rooms and 78 bathrooms.
5. When the Queen is not in residence, from the end of July to the end of September, the palace’s stunning State Rooms are open to the public. Needless to say, securing tickets to these prestigious galleries can be a little tricky. Take the hassle out of your visit and explore the interior of Buckingham Palace with pre-booked access into these fascinating quarters on our City Wonders Interior Tour of Buckingham Palace.
6. Take note on your next trip to Buckingham Palace, if the Queen’s royal standard flag billows high above the palace then the Queen is currently in the residence. When the Union Jack in flown instead of the royal standard flag the Queen is elsewhere. One of the Queen’s favorite places to spend the weekend is at the equally lavish royal residence of Windsor Castle.
7. Buckingham Palace has its own ATM insider the building. The royal family’s bank of choice, Coutts & Co., have installed and ATM in the palace’s basement.
8. The palace has everything it needs to be its own self-sufficient village, including a post office, movie theater, police station and clinic.
9. No royal feast is complete without… sandwiches, lots and lots of sandwiches! Queen Elizabeth II hosts at least three parties every summer at London’s royal residence. Guests consume about 20,000 sandwiches at each of these parties. Forget fine-dining, sandwiches are king at these royal festivities.
10. A clockmaker works full-time at the palace, maintaining over 350 clocks and watches. To ensure that time runs smoothly at the palace and residence don’t miss any engagements, two horological conservators wind up the royals’ clocks every week.
11. Many believe that there is a series of tunnels connecting Buckingham Palace to other distinguished sights across the city. Although not yet confirmed, there are rumors that underground tunnels connect this royal abode to Whitehall and the Houses of Parliament.
12. Miraculously Buckingham Palace survived 9 German bomb attacks during World War II. Despite advice from the counsels, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth refused to leave their royal residence during the war as a sign of national strength against Nazi Germany.
13. A Girl Guide company used to be operated from the royal residence of Buckingham Palace. Before becoming queen, Princess Elizabeth and her younger sister Margaret were Girl Guides. In case you’re not familiar with Girl Guides, they are the UK equivalent of Girl Scouts. Between 1937 and 1939, the 1st Buckingham Palace Girl Guide Company held its meetings at the royal summerhouse on the palace grounds. The troop was comprised of the two princesses along with 30 other girls whose parents were also of aristocratic descent or palace employees.
14. Equally as regal as Buckingham Palace is England’s Windsor Castle. Windsor is the oldest and largest occupied castle in world. This impressive building has been a royal home and fortress for over 900 years. Today, it is used as a private home for the Queen, where she spends a lot of her weekends, and as an official residence at which she undertakes certain royal ceremonies and duties. Spend a day walking in the footsteps of royalty on a regal day trip from London to Windsor Castle on our five-star semi-private Windsor Castle tour.
Born to be royal? Treat yourself to a day fit for a queen with our range of top-rated Buckingham Palace experiences.