Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace has been the official London residence of Britain's sovereigns since 1837. Today it is the Queen's official residence.

The palace was originally built as a large townhouse for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703. King George III bought Buckingham House as a private residence in 1762.

The residence was enlarged over the next 75 years until it consisted of three wings surrounding a central courtyard. The main architects were John Nash and Edward Blore. William Ailton and Nash redesigned the surrounding gardens, which were originally landscaped by Capability Brown. They are the largest private gardens in London.

Buckingham Palace became the official royal palace of the British monarchy with the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837. The last major structural additions were made during her reign. A large wing was constructed facing east, towards the Mall. The former state entrance, Marble Arch, was removed to its current position near Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park.

Queen Victoria largely abandoned Buckingham Palace after the death of her husband, Prince Albert. It was only after the accession of Edward VII in 1901 that the palace returned to its earlier glory.

The Victoria Memorial scheme was completed between 1901 and 1924. It created the current palace forecourt, dominated by Sir Thomas Brock's Victoria Memorial sculpture, and the current gates and railings.

In 1913, Sir Aston Webb was commissioned to redesign the palace's east, and principal, facade. The work was intended provide an impressive backdrop to the Victoria Memorial. Webb refaced the east front in Portland stone and created its now famous balcony. The work was completed just before the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.

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