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BUCKINGHAM PALACE

 

Buckingham palace is the official London residence of Her Majesty The

Queen and as such is one of the best known and most potent symbols of

the British monarchy. Yet it has been a royal residence for only just

over two hundred and thirty years and a palace for much less; and its

name, known the world over, is owed not to a monarch but to an English

Duke.

 

Buckingham House was built for John, first Duke of Buckingham, between

1702 and 1705. It was sold to the Crown in 1762. Surprisingly, since it

was a large house in a commanding position, it was never intended to be

the principal residence of the monarch.

 

Although King George III modernised and enlarged the house considerably

in the 1760s and 17770s, the transformations that give the building its

present palatial character were carried out for King George IY by Nash

in the 1820s, by Edward Blore for King William IY and Queen Victoria

in the 1830s and 40s, and by James Pennethoooorne in the 1850s.

 

In the reign of King Edward YII, much of the present white and gold

decoration was substituted for the richly coloured 19th century schemes

of Nash and Blore; and in the 1920s, Queen Mary used the firm of White

Allom to redecorate a number of rooms.

 

The rooms open to visitors are used principally for official

entertainment .These include Receptions and State Banquets, and it is

on such occasions, when the rooms are filled with flowers and thronged

with formally dressed guests and liveried servants, that the Palace

is seen at its most splendid and imposing. But of course the Palace is

also far more than just the London home of the Royal Family and a

place of lavish entertainment. It has become the administrative centre

of the monarchy where, among a multitude of engagements, Her Majesty

receives foreign Heads of State, Commonwealth leaders and

representatives of the Diplomatic Corps and conducts Investitures,

and where the majority of the Royal Houshold, consisting of six main

Departments and a staff of about three hundred people, have their

offices.

 

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