Description of Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace in London SW1, has been the official London residence of Britain's sovereigns since 1837 and is currently the administrative headquarters of the Monarch.
The State Rooms at Buckingham Palace are open to visitors every year. For visitor information, please visit the Royal Collection website.
Buckingham Palace in numbers:
- 775 rooms in total
- 19 State rooms
- 52 Royal and guest bedrooms
- 188 staff bedrooms
- 92 offices
- 78 bathrooms
- The building is 108 metres long across the front
- 120 metres deep (including the central quadrangle)
- 24 metres high
Buckingham Palace is furnished and decorated with priceless works of art that form part of the Royal Collection, one of the major art collections in the world today.
Its State Rooms are the centre of the working Palace and are used regularly by The Queen and members of the Royal Family for official and State entertaining.
More than 50,000 people visit the Palace each year as guests to banquets, lunches, dinners, receptions and the Royal Garden Parties.
For those who do receive an invitation to Buckingham Palace, the first step across the threshold is into the Grand Hall and up the curving marble stairs of the Grand Staircase. Portraits are still set in the walls, as they were by Queen Victoria.
Where the Queen receives loyal addresses, a place for formal wedding photographs.
George IVs original palace lacked a large room in which to entertain. Queen Victoria rectified that shortcoming by adding in 1853-5 what was, at the time of its construction, the largest room in London.
At 36.6m long, 18m wide and 13.5m high, the Ballroom is the largest multi-purpose room in Buckingham Palace. It was opened in 1856 with a ball to celebrate the end of the Crimean War.
It is along the East Gallery that The Queen and her State guests process to the Ballroom for the State Banquet normally held on the first day of the visit.
Around 150 guests are invited and include members of the Royal Family, the government and other political leaders, High Commissioners and Ambassadors and prominent people who have trade or other associations with the visiting country.
Today, it is used by The Queen for State banquets and other formal occasions such as the annual Diplomatic Reception attended by 1,500 guests.
The Ballroom has been used variously as a concert hall for memorial concerts and performances of the arts and it is the regular venue for Investitures of which there are usually 21 a year - nine in spring, two in the summer and ten in the autumn.
With its four Gobelin tapestries, leads into the first of the great rooms that overlook lawn and the formal gardens - setting for the annual Garden Parties introduced by Queen Victoria in 1868.
State Dining Room
The State Dining Room is one of the principal State Rooms on the West side of the Palace. Many distinguished people have dined in this room including the 24 holders of the Order of Merit as well as presidents and prime ministers.
Before the Ballroom was added to the Palace in the 1850s, the first State Ball was held in the Blue Drawing Room in May 1838 as part of the celebrations leading up to Queen Victoria's Coronation.
The Music Room was originally known as the Bow Drawing Room and is the centre of the suite of rooms on the Garden Front between the Blue and the White Drawing Rooms.
White Drawing Room
Overlooking the gardens on the principal floor. Originally called the North Drawing Room, it is the grandest of all the State Rooms.
The Bow Room
The Bow Room is familiar to the many thousands of guests to Royal Garden Parties who pass through it on their way to the garden. It was originally intended as a part of George IV's private apartments - to be the King's Library - but it was never fitted up as such.
Instead, it has become another room for entertaining and is where The Queen holds the arrival lunch for a visiting Head of State at the start of a State visit.