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2005 Trip to the UK - Buckingham Palace Pictures
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Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of Britain's sovereigns since 1837. It evolved from a town house that was owned from the beginning of the eighteenth century by the Dukes of Buckingham. Today it is The Queen's official residence. Although in use for the many official events and receptions held by The Queen, areas of Buckingham Palace are opened to visitors on a regular basis. The State Rooms of the Palace are open to visitors during the Annual Summer Opening in August and September. They are lavishly furnished with some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection - paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer, Poussin, Canaletto and Claude; sculpture by Canova and Chantrey; exquisite examples of Sèvres porcelain; and some of the finest English and French furniture in the world.  Besides being the official London residence of The Queen, Buckingham Palace is also the busy administrative headquarters of the Monarchy and has probably the most famous façade of any building in the world. The Palace is a working building and the centrepiece of Britain's constitutional monarchy. It houses the offices of those who support the day-to-day activities and duties of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh and their immediate family. The Palace is also the venue for great Royal ceremonies, State Visits and Investitures, all of which are organised by the Royal Household. George IV's 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. 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. Changing the Guard is one of the oldest and most familiar ceremonies associated with Buckingham Palace. The proper name of the ceremony known as 'Changing the Guard' is actually Guard Mounting. In this process a New Guard exchanges duty with the Old Guard, drawn from one of the regiments of Foot Guards. The handover is accompanied by a Guards band. The music played ranges from traditional military marches to songs from the shows and even familiar pop songs. Since 1660, Household Troops have guarded the Sovereign and the Royal Palaces. Until 1689, the Sovereign lived mainly at the Palace of Whitehall and was guarded there by Household Cavalry. When The Queen is in residence, there are four sentries at the front of the building; when she is away there are two. The Queen's Guard usually consists of Foot Guards in full-dress uniform of red tunics and bearskins. Guard Mounting takes place in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace at 11.30 am, and lasts about 45 minutes.


The Mall in is the road running from Buckingham Palace at its western end to Admiralty Arch and on to Trafalgar Square at its eastern end. The Mall was created as a ceremonial route in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, matching the creation of similar ceremonial routes in other cities.


Sometimes erroneously called The Victoria and Albert Memorial, The Queen Victoria memorial takes pride of place in front of Buckingham Palace. Made of some 2,300 tonnes of white marble, with a 13 feet tall statue of the Queen, groups on the remaining sides representing Victorian virtues such as charity, justice, truth, motherhood and courage, and topped by a golden winged 'victory', it is easy to see why this memorial has become known as the “wedding cake”! The Queen Victoria Memorial is an imposing and tall edifice by the sculptor Thomas Brock, with the surround by the architect Sir Aston Webb. Standing some 82 feet tall, it was conceived in 1901 soon after the death of the queen.





















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