London is a city of ideas, imagination, legendary chronicles, heritage, gastronomic adventures and shopping. Wherever you go, you will find architectural grandeur sprouting all around you, while antiquity still dots the City, so does, the suburbian pubs by the river banks. For innovation, Sky Garden, Shard and the Tate Modern extension add a sizzle, although London’s established, centuries-old anecdotes still dictate the scene. A great-many of the City buildings are remarkable breakthroughs; such as Big Ben, the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and so on.
While the City’s creative backdrop is flecked, with modern art, theatrical variations, music, poetry, cuisine and designs; its museums hold collections as diversified as they are majestic. During my London holiday, I set out to visit Buckingham Palace, on a bright sunny day. Positioned in Westminster City, Buckingham Palace, is London home and official headquarters of the ruling King of the United Kingdom. Buckingham Palace was built-in 1703 for the Duke of Buckingham. It replaced Saint James Palace as the official residence in 1837. In recent times, Queen Elizabeth II apportions her time between Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Balmoral Castle in Scotland in summer.
When she is home, the square (red, yellow and blue) Royal Standard is flown, when not, it’s the Union Flag. Often in the core of royal hospitality, Buckingham Palace, plays a vital platform during national celebrations and afflictions. On this day, I had to move past large crowds before, I could get a clear sight of the enormous black and golden palace gate. Space was flocked as the ‘changing of the guard’ ceremony was scheduled, to happen in the next few minutes.
Changing of the Guard Ceremony
Attending the changing of the guard ceremony is my favourite thing to do in a Royal Palace. At Buckingham Palace, this royal ceremony is observed by Queen’s Guards who pass the responsibility of protecting Buckingham Palace and Saint James Palace to the new Guard. This ritual lasts for 45-mins and is prominently-dominated by guards dressed in red uniforms donning bearskin hats and regimental bands marching alongside pipers with corps of drums. It’s a spine-tingling experience! The ‘Changing of the Guard’ takes place at 11:30 AM every day, however, can be cancelled under harsh weather conditions.
Buckingham Palace Staterooms
The nineteen extravagantly furnished State Rooms are open for a visit when Her Majesty is on holiday between July and September. The State Rooms are a magnificent display of dangling artworks by artists such as Anthony van Dyck, Canaletto, Johannes Vermeer, Nicolas Poussin and Rembrandt.
The Throne Room
Open for self-guided tours, a visit to the State Rooms also includes viewing Throne Room, where you will find his highness and her majesty’ (ER and P) monogrammed dawn-tinted chairs. The audio tour is introduced, by His Highness, the Prince of Wales. The audio guide is available in French, English, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Mandarin and Brazilian for user assistance.
The Grand Staircase
One of the best displays, of the Buckingham Palace, is its Grand Staircase, finished in the world’s most exquisite bronze cast. This splendid staircase is lit by an etched glass dome fitted-in the ceiling.
Buckingham Palace contains 775 rooms, 52 bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 19 staterooms, 92 offices and 78 washrooms; served by 800 royal servants and a flagman. Queen Victoria was the first British monarch to use the palace as her official residence in 1837, since then, it has become the sovereign’s official London residence. During her majesty’s visit, the 19 staterooms in the palace are utilised, to entertain guests. These rooms are open to visitors when Queen visits Scotland in August and September. It was an incredible experience to be here and experience royalty first hand. I returned, overwhelmed!