Monday, September 12, 2011

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace by Tony Madrid

Whether it is the occasion for national rejoice or moaning; British people flock to Buckingham Palace; it is here the national icon of Great Britain; the queen resides and standing on the Palace balcony she addresses the Public. British monarchy is the only one on earth that has been consistently loved by its people. The Buckingham Palace is not just the house of the royal family; it is a complex structure of many offices, administrative offices of monarchy, residences of staff, galleries, guest rooms, reception halls etc. The palace has a considerable portion left for the public to visit. In the course of 4 centuries this palace has been subjected to many expansions and modifications.

 A real mansion

This grand palace is 24 meters in height; 108 meters long and 120 meters in depth and has 775 rooms in total! These include 19 State Rooms, 52Royal and Guest-rooms, 188 bed rooms, two throne rooms and 92 offices. State Rooms are offices for executing the official duties of the monarch. More than 50,000 people visit this palace every year as guests (this number does not include the tourists who flock to the palace for sight- seeing) for banquets, lunches and other ceremonies like the Royal Garden party. The artifacts that decorate the walls and rooms of this palace is enough to enthrall any museums in the world; the portraits arranged are in the same order as Queen Victoria set them at her reign.

Buckingham Palace Guard by Márcio Cabral de Moura


 Buckingham Palace is not just a big mansion; it is history on brick and mortar; a symbol of an only monarchy; for ever loved by its people. The original structure of this palace was built by the Duke of Buckingham in 1705 for residence in the manor of Ebury known as Eia; a marshy place watered by River Tyburn (This River was later made to flow through submerged tunnel beneath the palace yard; the submerged River Tyburn quietly flows unseen and unknown!.

This mansion remained a private property for about 150 years until got acquired by King George III in 1761 for his Queen consort Charlotte to reside; (14 of the George III’s 15 children were born in this house) thus this mansion got yet another synonym; the’ Queen’s House’. King George III remodeled it as per the design of William Chambers in 1762.

Queens Carraige at the Royal Mews in London by Michael McDonough

(Queen Charlotte (1761 to 1818); who became the owner of the mansion (Mecklenburg- Strelitz was her full name) was a lover of arts and an amateur botanist; it was she who founded the Royal Botanical Gardens – the largest garden in London;  a World Heritage Site. She was Electress Consort of Hanover (who had the voting right to elect the Roman King). The Palace got yet another name as ‘Queen’s House due to the residence of Queen Charlotte.

Later King George IV started some remodeling works that lasted 47 years and was completed in 1827 under Nash (the over-shoot of budget cost Nash his job). During World War II the palace cruelly bombed by the Germans; a chapel attached to the palace was damaged; it was at that site the present gallery was built.

Every palace has its day

Buckingham Palace Guard by Márcio Cabral de Moura

The king who repaired it for half a century never moved in to it! A fire that broke out did extensive damage in 1834; however with the fire the bad-time of the mansion expired and fortune started to shine upon it in the shape of Queen Victoria who moved in and made the building her residential and administrative office.   It was in 1837 the mansion got readied to become the Royal Palace to accommodate Queen Victoria on her accession.

A Guinness-book record

Queen Victoria who ruled Britain for 63 years and 7 months holds the un broken record as the only woman who ruled a land for such a long period; she was nicknamed as the Grandmother of Europe as her 9 children as well as 26 out of 42 grand children were married to various royalties of Europe!). The chapel situated in the compound was flattened by German Bombers during WWII; and at that site the ‘Queens’s Gallery was built; where royal exhibits of the palace are displayed.

Queen Elizabeth (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary)

Victoria Memorial from Buckingham Palace by H M Cotterill

The present incumbent of the Palace is Queen Elizabeth II; she is second only to Queen Victoria for the title of being the longest ruler of England (from 6 Feb 1952 to present). The queen was born in April 21, 1926, daughter to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Bowes Lyon. Queen Elizabeth is mother to four children (Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward). As the monarch to British Crown she holds many titles; she is Constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states like Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica etc, head of 54 member Common-wealth nations including India and she is Supreme Governor of the Church of England. British people are eager to celebrate her diamond jubilee in 2012 (on completion of 60 years of reign on June 2012).

Blame it on Buckingham!

The current Royal Family consists of The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The history of this monarchy begins from 400 AD when the Scottish Monarchy was established; that lasted till 1603 giving way to the present incumbents. Centuries go by; still people are left with only two choices; either hate to love this centuries old legacy or love to hate it; but no one can afford to ignore it. When a member of the royal family sneezes; the whole world catches cold; can the media stay behind; they also start squeezing and pulling their elaborate noses spread world- wide! Blame it on Buckingham the exquisite palace and the legacy attached to it.


Simran Singh said...

I really want to visit Buckingham Palace once. Hope to see this amazing palace soon.

Pooja Singh said...

Lovely pics.

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Unknown said...

pictures and place are beautiful

gdtrvytr said...

Write more!!! DOn't stop.