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Buckingham Palace, England

June 27th, 2005 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of the British monarch and the largest "working" royal palace remaining in the world. The expression "Buckingham Palace" or simply "The Palace" has become a common way of referring to the source of press statements coming from parts of the British Royal Family. In addition to being the London home of HM Queen Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace is a setting for state occasions, royal entertaining and base for all officially visiting heads of state, and is a major tourist attraction. It has been a rallying point for the British at times of national rejoicing and crisis. However, it is not universally admired, and was voted the fourth ugliest building in London in March 2005.

The palace originally known as Buckingham House, a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703, was acquired by King George III in 1762 as a private residence. It was enlarged over the next 75 years, principally by architects John Nash and Edward Blore, forming three wings around a central courtyard. Buckingham Palace finally became the official royal palace of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837. The last major structural additions were made in Victoria's time, with the addition of the large wing facing east towards The Mall, and the removal of the former state entrance, Marble Arch, to its present position near Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park. The east front was refaced in Portland stone in 1913 as a backdrop to the Victoria Memorial, creating the present-day 'public face' of Buckingham Palace, including the famous balcony.

The original Georgian interior designs included widespread use of brightly coloured scagliola and blue and pink lapis, on the advice of Sir Charles Long. King Edward VII oversaw a heavy redecoration in a Belle epoque cream and gold colour scheme. Many smaller reception rooms are furnished in the Chinese regency style with furniture and fittings brought from the Royal Pavilion at Brighton and from Carlton House following the death of King George IV. The Buckingham Palace Gardens are the largest private gardens in London, originally landscaped by Capability Brown, but redesigned by William Townsend Ailton of Kew Gardens and John Nash. The great man-made lake was completed in 1828 and is supplied with water from the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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