In between tea time, curtseying, and the lines of stern looking guards in puffy black hats, Buckingham Palace sure gets a lot of action from Royals and tourists alike. Not to mention the rich history behind the historical gem. Back in 1703, the palace was built as a townhouse for the Duke of Buckingham, and was known as Buckingham House. It now serves as the London residence of all of Britain’s monarchs from 1837 till present day.
Home to a slew of breathtaking architectural feats, the palace is a favorite for its beauty and regality. The palace is also home to the world’s most famous balcony, where the public gets to adore their favorite royals as they give their best beauty queen smiles and waves (take that, Romeo and Juliet). The palaces’ measurements boast 77,000 m2 (that’s about 830,000 sq ft) of floor space. And if you find that impressive, wait till you get a load on these 10 awesome facts you probably didn’t know about Buckingham Palace:
Fact 1: Queen Victoria was the first monarch to reside in Buckingham Palace.
Fact 2: The palace boasts a whooping 775 rooms, inclusive of 19 state rooms, 52 royal, as well as guest bedrooms, 188 bedrooms for staff, 92 offices, and 78 bathrooms! That’s about 1,514 doors, and 760 windows! The latter cleaned every six weeks. You might want to consider working here, because it also has its very own chapel, post office, swimming pool, staff cafeteria, doctor’s surgery, and cinema! What does this place not have?
Fact 3: Back in 1856, the ballroom found in the palace was the largest room in all of London, which is 100 feet long and roughly 50 feet high.
Fact 4: A man named Edward Jones has tried to break in to the palace 3 times, and once captured, was found to have had Queen Victoria’s underwear stuffed down his trousers.
Fact 5: The palace was bombed nine times by the Germans during World War II, one of which fell into the courtyard, just a few feet away from where the King and Queen were. Talk about close call!
Fact 6: Mozart, Gandhi, President Kennedy, as well as Neil Armstrong are just a handful of the 50,000 who visit the palace as guests of the Queen.
Fact 7: Of course the palace has the largest private garden in London! (suppresses shock) With over 40 acres of lush greens, the extravagant garden is home to tennis courts, a boating lake, helicopter landing pad (obviously), and about 300 species of flowers!
Fact 8: Where the grand palace now stands used to be grounds for a Mulberry garden founded by King James I to be able to rear silkworms for silk production. Alas, he chose the wrong kind of worms and production never took off.
Fact 9: A flag is always seen gloriously flying on top the palace. A flag sergeant has the duty of raising and lowering the right flag as the Queen arrives or departs from the palace. When the Queen is in, the Royal Standard flies, and when the Sovereign isn’t, the Union Flag does instead.
Fact 10: The simple process of changing the Guard is no simple matter at all! The ceremonious activity takes place on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace at 11.30am and takes place on alternate days during autumn and winter. In this ceremony, soldiers who have been on duty at Buckingham Palace and St. James’s Palace are relieved by the New Guards. A military band plays music, which ranges from military marches to Abba’s greatest hits. And oh! On Royal birthdays, the band plays “Happy Birthday”!