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10 Fascinating Facts About Buckingham Palace That You May Not Know

Buckingham Palace is a landmark that is an essential part of England's history and culture. The official residence of the monarch of the United Kingdom (UK), this opulent London property is situated in the centre of Westminster, surrounded by St. James and Green Parks. It is among the most famous buildings in the UK as well as Europe and has been featured in several films and shows. We've covered a few incredible facts about the palace below.

10 Interesting Buckingham Palace Facts

Buckingham Palace

1. Originally built for a duke

Buckingham Palace is synonymous with the kings and queens of England. However, it wasn't actually built by or for them. John Sheffield was the first Duke of Buckingham, holding the post from the start of the 18th century. In 1703, he ordered the demolition of an existing house in Westminster and built a new palace on the same site.

It was called Buckingham House and was later purchased by King George III to provide his family with a private home close to St. James' Palace in 1761. When Queen Victoria took over the throne in 1837, she named Buckingham Palace her official residence.

Buckingham Palace

2. Infamous security breaches by a teenager

Buckingham Palace is one of England's most important buildings. It is the country's equivalent to the White House to a certain degree, yet the security team couldn't keep out a teenager named Edward Jones from having a blast in the building.

Nicknamed 'the boy Jones', he somehow broke into the building thrice between 1838 and 1841. Jones stole food from the palace's kitchen, Queen Victoria's underwear from her chamber and sat on the elusive royal throne. His success also invited copycats, with Michael Fagan breaking into the palace in 1982.

Buckingham Palace

3. The terrors of World War II reached Buckingham Palace

World War II caused massive devastation around Europe. Museums, government buildings, and heritage structures were demolished, along with thousands of civilian houses and apartments.

Despite its importance to England's heritage and history, Buckingham Palace was also bombarded in the war. The British government advised King George VI and his family to vacate the building, but they chose to remain in the palace. Explaining the decision at the time, Queen Elizabeth had said, "The children will not leave unless I do. I shall not leave unless their father does, and the king will not leave the country in any circumstances, whatever." They remained determined even as German bombers aimed nine direct hits on the palace.

Buckingham Palace

4. It's a village in itself

The size and utility of Buckingham Palace are simply amazing. It stretches over a massive area of 39 acres, with beautiful gardens surrounding the grand palace. The royals can find everything they need inside the palace. From a post office to a movie theatre, police station and clinic, Buckingham Palace really is like a village or tiny town in itself.

Inside the palace, you'll find over 775 rooms, including 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices, 19 staterooms, and 78 bathrooms.

Buckingham Palace

5. The palace held the first Girl Guide Company meeting

Buckingham Palace usually plays host to royal and government meetings and conferences. It often hosts overseas dignitaries and government officials for state lunches and dinners.

However, between 1937 and 1939, the palace played host to a unique Girl Guides meeting. Girl Guides are the UK equivalent of Girl Scouts, and Princess Elizabeth and her younger sister Margaret were Girl Guides before the former became Queen. They organised the 1st Buckingham Palace Girl Guide Company meeting on the palace grounds, with over 30 girls of aristocratic descent in attendance.

Buckingham Palace

6. It is made up of ancient fossils

Buckingham Palace is old, but the fossils holding its walls together are significantly older. The palace's walls are made from oolitic limestone. It is a sedimentary rock that consists of substantial amounts of "oolites," which are tiny spherical or sub-spherical grains of concentric calcite.

It was used as one of the materials in the construction of Buckingham Palace, the Empire State Building, the Pentagon, and other iconic landmarks. A 2017 paper by the Scientific Reports journal concluded that oolitic limestone forms around the mineralised corpses of microscopic organisms. It means that the fossils in Buckingham Palace are easily over 200 million years old.

Buckingham Palace

7. Woodrow Wilson was the first US President to visit Buckingham Palace

The 20th century brought with it improved US and UK ties. In December 1918, President Woodrow Wilson became the first sitting US President to visit Buckingham Palace. He was on his way to a conference in Paris but decided to stop by the palace with First Lady Edith Wilson.

King George V reciprocated by throwing a lavish banquet, resulting in strong ties between the two nations after that. Several American heads of state have visited Buckingham Palace since then, including President Jimmy Carter. He visited in 1977 and famously broke protocol by kissing Queen Elizabeth on the lips.

Buckingham Palace

8. Queen Elizabeth II loved sandwiches

Queen Elizabeth II was a fierce woman who modernised the monarchy. She also took an active interest in government and political decisions and will be remembered for being a strong and influential woman.

Her extravagant sandwich parties will be equally missed. Queen Elizabeth loved sandwiches so much that she'd throw at least three sandwich parties every summer at London's royal residence. Guests would eat over 20,000 sandwiches at each of these parties and be also served Buckingham Palace-blend tea and cakes.

Buckingham Palace

9. The flag could tell you if the Queen was inside or outside the palace

Visitors could tell whether the Queen was inside Buckingham Palace by looking at the flag flying high over the palace. Two flags were used, the Queen's royal standard flag and the Union Jack.

If the Queen's royal standard flag was unfurled, it meant the Queen was in the palace. Whereas if the Union Jack was flown, it meant the Queen wasn't in the palace. Windsor Castle was a frequent destination for the Queen, as it was her official private home.

Buckingham Palace

10. The red uniform for the guards was chosen strategically

The guards of Buckingham Palace don red uniforms for a number of interesting reasons. When the uniforms were first manufactured for the palace guards, red was the cheapest dye at the time and the royal family went with it to save money.

The red uniforms have also become a deeply ingrained tradition of the British Royal Guard, symbolizing power, prestige and national identity. Some also argue that the red uniforms project an imposing and authoritative presence, potentially deterring unwanted behavior near the palace.




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Frequently Asked Questions About Buckingham Palace Facts

What is Buckingham Palace?

Buckingham Palace is the official residence of the royal family of the United Kingdom (UK). It is one of the most popular and important buildings in the UK and the world.

What is an interesting fact about Buckingham Palace?

Edward Jones, a teenager, broke into Buckingham Palace thrice between 1838 and 1841. He stole food from the palace's kitchen, Queen Victoria's underwear from her chamber and even sat on the royal throne.

Where is Buckingham Palace?

Buckingham Palace is located in Westminster and is surrounded by St. James and Green Parks. Here is the official address: London SW1A 1AA, UK.

Who built Buckingham Palace?

Buckingham Palace was built and designed with help from William Talman, Comptroller of the Works to William III, and Captain William Winde, a retired soldier, as the official home of the Duke of Buckingham.

How old is Buckingham Palace?

Buckingham Palace is over three centuries old. It was built in 1703.

What was the building used for before it became Buckingham Palace?

Buckingham Palace was initially called Buckingham House and was the home of the Duke of Buckingham.

What artworks are inside Buckingham Palace?

Buckingham Palace is home to notable artworks by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Canaletto. You'll also find works by contemporary artists such as Anish Kapoor and Lucian Freud.

How many paintings are inside Buckingham Palace?

There are around 450-500 paintings on display inside Buckingham Palace.

Is it true that Buckingham Palace was bombed multiple times during World War II?

Yes. Buckingham Palace was bombed nine times during World War II.

Does Buckingham Palace house important relics?

Yes, Buckingham Palace houses several important relics, including the throne used by Queen Victoria at her coronation in 1838.