Best known as the official London residence of the British Monarchy, Buckingham Palace is one of the world’s most iconic buildings. With origins dating back to the early 18th century, the palace boasts over 700 rooms and an impressive art collection, including works by the likes of Leonardo da Vinci and Anthony Van Dyck. We’ve selected ten of its most impressive rooms and upcoming exhibitions for those who plan on visiting Buckingham Palace. Best of all, those who are staying at The Rubens at The Palace will be moments away from the famous landmark.
1. The White Drawing Room
The grandest of all 19 State Rooms, the White Drawing Room displays two fascinating pairs of ebony-veneered cabinets, built into the wall beneath tall mirrors, to provide members of the Royal Family a discreet means of entering the premises. The room has been used as a backdrop in many photographic portraits of the Royal Family and is currently the setting for a number of audiences and receptions.
2. The Changing of the Guard
The Changing of the Guard takes place on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace at 11:30 AM (on alternate days during autumn and winter). During the formal ceremony, the ‘New Guard’ relieves the soldiers who have been on duty at Buckingham Palace and St James’s Palace. A military band plays music, which ranges from Abba’s greatest hits to more traditional songs.
3. The Queen’s Gallery
Reopened in May 2002 as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations, the Queen’s Gallery hosts a programme of changing exhibitions from the Royal Collection. The building that initially stood on its site was originally used as a private chapel, but after being damaged by German bombs in the war, it was totally refurbished and expanded.
4. The Royal Mews
The Royals Mews houses the historic carriages and coaches used for royal and state occasions, such as State Visits, weddings and the State Opening of Parliament. It is one of the finest working stables still in existence, responsible for the training of the Windsor Greys and Cleveland Bays, the horses that pull the royal carriages. The highlight of the treasury is the dazzling Gold State Coach, which was built for George III in 1762.
5. The Garden
Situated at the rear of the palace, the garden covers 40 acres, and includes a helicopter landing area, a tennis court, and a lake graced by a flock of flamingos. Home to more than 30 different species of birds and 350 wildflowers, the garden has hosted summer parties, charity tennis competitions, and pop and classical music concerts.
6. The Picture Gallery
Buckingham Palace’s Picture Gallery displays some of the greatest paintings in the Royal Collection. Four historic marble chimneypieces, each incorporating a pair of sculpted female figures, are the centrepieces of the room. Exhibited on every figure is a garlanded medallion of a great painter: Titian, da Vinci, Durer and Van Dyck. The current presentation brings together Italian, Dutch and Flemish works mainly from the 17th century.
7. The Throne Room
Initially designed for investitures and ceremonies, the Throne Room is now primarily used on important occasions for the reception of formal addresses, including last year’s Diamond Jubilee. The space also housed a significant number of concerts and balls before 1861.
8. Castiglione: Lost Genius Exhibition
This temporary exhibition will be hosted by the Queen’s Gallery and includes Castiglione’s greatest drawings and prints. The Italian baroque artist is famous for inventing the technique of monotype, a combination of drawing and printmaking. The exhibition will feature some of the artist’s most important works: ‘Sacred & Profane Love’, ‘Moses coming down from Mount Sinai’ and ‘Noah entering the Ark’.
9. The Ballroom
The largest multi-purpose room in Buckingham Palace, the Ballroom was opened in 1856 to celebrate the end of the Crimean War. Today, it’s used for State banquets, memorial concerts and artistic performances, as well as for Investitures.
10. Gifted: From the Royal Academy to the Queen
A celebration of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, this temporary exhibition features over 100 pieces presented as gifts by the Royal Academy of Arts. The exhibition will comprise works by high-profile Royal Academicians, including Tracey Emin, Anish Kapoor, Olwyn Bowey and Gillian Ayres.