The Queens House
The Duke of Buckinghams house, which George III purchased in 1762, was designed by the architect William Winde, possibly with the advice of John Talman, in 1702.
The new house, a handsome brick and stone mansion crowned with statuary and joined by colonnades to outlying wings, looked eastward down the Mall and westwards over the splendid canal and formal gardens, laid out for the Duke by Henry Wise partly on the site of the royal Mulberry Garden. This garden had been part of an ill-fated attempt by James I to introduce a silk industry to rival that of France by planting thousands of mulberry trees.
The building and its setting were well suited to the dignity of the Duke, a former Lord Chamberlain and suitor of Princess Anne, and of his wife, an illegitimate daughter of James II, whose eccentricity and delusions of grandeur earned her the nickname of «Princess Buckingham».
The principal rooms, then as now, were on the first floor. They were reached by a magnificent staircase with ironwork by Jean Tijou and walls painted by Louis Laguerre with the story of Dido and Aeneas.
Under the architectural direction of Sir William Chambers and over the following twelve years The Queens House was gradually modernised and enlarged to provide accommodation for the King and Queen and their children, as well as their growing collection of books, pictures and works of art.
QUEEN VICTORIAS PALACE
At the age of eighteen, Queen Victoria became the first Sovereign to live at Buckingham Palace.
John Nash had rightly predicted that the Palace would prove too small, but this was a fault capable of remedy. The absence of a chapel was made good after the Queens marriage to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, when the south conservatory was converted in 1843.
In 1847 the architect Edward Blore added the new East Front. Along the first floor Blore placed the Principal Corridor, a gallery 240 feet long overlooking the Quadrangle and divided into three sections by folding doors of mirror glass. It links the Royal Corridor on the south, and opens into suites of semi-state rooms facing the Mall and St Jamess Park. Blore introduced into the East Front some of the finest fittings from George IYs Royal Pavilion at Brighton, which Queen Victoria ceased to use after the purchase of Osborn House in 1845.
The new building rendered the Marble Arch both functionally and ornamentally dispensable, and it was removed in 1850 to its present site at the north-east corner of Hyde Park.
THE STATE ROOMS
Most of the principal State Rooms are located on to first floor of Bughingham Palace. They are approached from Nashs Grand Hall which in its unusual low proportions echoes the original hall of Bughingham House. The coupled columns which surround the Hall are each composed of a single block of veined Carrara marble enriched with Corinthian capitals of gilt bronze made by Samuel Parker.
The Grand Staircase, built by Nash on site of the original stairs, divides theatrically into three flights at the first landing, two flights curving upwards to the Guard room. The gilded balustrade was made by Samuel Parker in 1828-30. The walls are set with full-length portraits which include George III and Queen Charlotte by Beechey,William IY by Lawrence and Queen Adelaide by Archer Shee. The sculptured wall panels were designed by Thomas Stothard and the etched glass dome was made by Wainwright and Brothers.
The picture Gallery, the largest room in the Palace, was formed by Nash in the area of Queen Charlottes old apartments. Nashs ceiling, modified by Blore in the 1830s, was altered by Sir Aston Webb in 1914.
As there are many loans to exhibitions, the arrangement is subject to periodic change. However the Gallery normally contains works by Van Dyck, Rubens, Cuyp and Rembrandt among others. The chimneypieces are carved with heads of artists and the marble group at the end, by Chantrey, represents Mrs Jordan, mistress of William.
From the Suilk Tapestry Room the route leads via the East Gallery, Cross and West Galleries to the State Dining Room. This room is used on formal occasions and is hung with portraits of GeorgeIY, his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.
THE PALACE AT WORK
BUCKINNGHAM Palace is certainly one of the most famous buildings in the world, known to millions as Queens home. Yet it is very much a working building and centre of the large office complex that is required for the administration of the modern monarchy.
Although foreign ambassadors are officially accredited to the Court of St Jamess and some ceremonies, such as the Proclamation of a new Sovereign, still take place at St Jamess Palace, all official business now effectively takes place at Buckingham Palace.
In some ways the Palace resembles a small town. For the 300 people who work there, there is a Post office and a police station, staff canteens and dinning rooms. There is a special three-man security team equipped with a fluoroscope, which examines every piece of mail that arrives at the Palace.
There is also a soldier who is responsible for making sure the Royal Standard is flying whenever The Queen is in residence, and to make sure it is taken down when she leaves. It is his job to watch for the moment when the Royal limousine turns into the Palace gates - at the very second The Queen enters her Palace, the Royal Standard is hoisted.
Buckingham Palace is not only the name of the Royal Family but also the workplace of an army of secretaries, clerks and typists, telephonists, carpenters and plumbers etc.
The business of monarchy never stops and the light is often shining from the window of the Queens study late at night as she works on the famous «boxes», the red and blue leather cases in which are delivered the State papers, official letters and reports which follow her whenever she is in the world.
There can hardly be a single one of 600 or so rooms in the Palace that is not in more or less constant use.
The senior member of the Royal Household is the Lord Chamberlain. In addition to the role of overseeing all the departments of the Household, he has a wide variety of responsibilities, including all ceremonial duties relating to the Sovereign, apart from the wedding, coronation and funeral of the monarch. .These remain the responsibility of the Earl Marshal, the Duke of Norfolk. The Lord Chamberlains Office has the greatest variety of responsibilities. It looks after all incoming visits by overseas Heads of State and the administration of the Chapels Royal. It also supervises the appointment of Pages of Honour , the Sergeants of Arms, the Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps, the Master of the Queens Music, and the Keeper of the Queens Swans.
The director of the Royal Collection is responsible for one of the finest collections of works of art in the world. The Royal Collection is a vast assemblage of works of art of all kinds, comprising some 10,000 pictures, enamels and miniatures, 20,000 drawings, 10,000 watercolours and 500,000 prints, and many thousands of pieces of furniture, sculpture, glass, porcelain, arms and armour, textiles, silver, gold and jewellery.
It has largely been formed by succeeding sovereigns, consorts and other members of the Royal Family in the three hundred years since the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660.
The Collection is presently housed in twelve principal locations open to the public, which include Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Hampton Court Palace, Windsor Castle, The Palace of Holyroodhouse and Osborne House.
In addition a substantial number of objects are on indefinite loan to the British Museum, National Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum and Museum of London.
Additional access to the Royal Collection is provided by means of exhibitions, notably at The Queens Gallery, Buckingham Palace, opened in 1962.
Windsor Castle is the oldest royal residence to have remained in continuous use by the monarchs of Britain and is in many ways an architectural epitome of the history of the nation. Its skyline of battlements, turrets and the great Round Tower is instantly recognised throughout the world. The Castle covers an area of nearly thirteen acres and contains, as well as a royal palace, a magnificent collegiate church and the homes or workplaces of a large number of people ,including the Constable and Governor of the Castle, the Military Knights of Windsor and their families, etc.
The Castle was founded by William the Conqueror c. 1080 and was conceived as one of a chain of fortifications built as a defensive ring round London.
Norman castles were built to a standard plan with an artificial earthen mound supporting a tower or keep, the entrance to which was protected by an outer fenced courtyard or baily. Windsor is the most notable example of a particularly distinctive version of this basic plan developed for use on a ridge site. It comprises a central mote with a large bialy to either side of it rather than just on one side as was more than usual.
As first built, the Castle was entirely defensive, constructed of earth and timber, but easy access from London and the proximity of the Castle to the old royal hunting forest to the south soon recommended it as a royal residence. Henry I is known to have had domestic quarterswithin the castle as early as 1110 and Henry converted the Castle into a palace. He built two separate sets of royal apartments within the fortified enclosure: a public or official state residence in the Lower Ward, with a hall where he could entertain his court and the barons on great occasions, and a smaller private residence on the North side of the Upper Ward for the