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  • London, England, United Kingdom
    14th Century

    Manor of Ebury

    London, England, United Kingdom
    14th Century

    In the Middle Ages, the site of the future palace formed part of the Manor of Ebury (also called Eia). The marshy ground was watered by the river Tyburn, which still flows below the courtyard and south wing of the palace. Where the river was fordable (at Cow Ford), the village of Eye Cross grew. Ownership of the site changed hands many times; owners included Edward the Confessor and his queen consort Edith of Wessex in late Saxon times, and, after the Norman Conquest, William the Conqueror. William gave the site to Geoffrey de Mandeville, who bequeathed it to the monks of Westminster Abbey.




  • London, England, United Kingdom
    1531

    Henry VIII acquired the Hospital of St James

    London, England, United Kingdom
    1531

    In 1531, Henry VIII acquired the Hospital of St James, which became St James's Palace, from Eton College, and in 1536 he took the Manor of Ebury from Westminster Abbey.




  • England, United Kingdom
    1624

    First house erected within the site

    England, United Kingdom
    1624

    Possibly the first house erected within the site was that of a Sir William Blake, around 1624. The next owner was Lord Goring, who from 1633 extended Blake's house and developed much of today's garden, then known as Goring Great Garden.




  • London, England, United Kingdom
    1674

    Henry Bennet constructed Arlington House on the site

    London, England, United Kingdom
    1674

    When the improvident Goring defaulted on his rents Henry Bennet, 1st Earl of Arlington was able to purchase the lease of Goring House and he was occupying it when it burned down in 1674, following which he constructed Arlington House on the site—the location of the southern wing of today's palace—the next year. In 1698, John Sheffield, later the first Duke of Buckingham and Normanby, acquired the lease.




  • London, England, United Kingdom
    1703

    The Design

    London, England, United Kingdom
    1703

    The house which forms the architectural core of the palace was built for the first Duke of Buckingham and Normanby in 1703 to the design of William Winde. The style chosen was of a large, three-floored central block with two smaller flanking service wings.




  • London, England, United Kingdom
    1761

    Buckingham House was eventually sold

    London, England, United Kingdom
    1761

    Buckingham House was eventually sold by Buckingham's illegitimate son, Sir Charles Sheffield, in 1761 to George III for £21,000.




  • London, England, United Kingdom
    1762

    The Queen's House

    London, England, United Kingdom
    1762

    Under the new Crown ownership, the building was originally intended as a private retreat for King George III's wife, Queen Charlotte, and was accordingly known as The Queen's House. Re-modelling of the structure began in 1762.


  • London, England, United Kingdom
    1791

    The Name

    London, England, United Kingdom
    1791

    While St James's Palace remained the official and ceremonial royal residence, the name "Buckingham-palace" was used from at least 1791.


  • London, England, United Kingdom
    1811

    State banquets

    London, England, United Kingdom
    1811

    State banquets also take place in the Ballroom; these formal dinners are held on the first evening of a state visit by a foreign head of state. On these occasions, for up to 170 guests in formal "white tie and decorations", including tiaras, the dining table is laid with the Grand Service, a collection of silver-gilt plate made in 1811 for the Prince of Wales, later George IV. The largest and most formal reception at Buckingham Palace takes place every November when the Queen entertains members of the diplomatic corps. On this grand occasion, all the state rooms are in use, as the royal family proceed through them, beginning at the great north doors of the Picture Gallery. As Nash had envisaged, all the large, double-mirrored doors stand open, reflecting the numerous crystal chandeliers and sconces, creating a deliberate optical illusion of space and light.


  • London, England, United Kingdom
    1820

    Small, comfortable home

    London, England, United Kingdom
    1820

    After his accession to the throne in 1820, King George IV continued the renovation with the idea in mind of a small, comfortable home.


  • London, England, United Kingdom
    1826

    George IV decided to modify the house into a palace

    London, England, United Kingdom
    1826

    However, in 1826, while the work was in progress, the King George IV decided to modify the house into a palace with the help of his architect John Nash.


  • Windsor Castle, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom
    Saturday Jun 26, 1830

    Death of George IV

    Windsor Castle, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom
    Saturday Jun 26, 1830

    On the death of George IV in 1830, his younger brother King William IV hired Edward Blore to finish the work.


  • London, England, United Kingdom
    Thursday Oct 16, 1834

    Destruction of the Palace of Westminster by fire

    London, England, United Kingdom
    Thursday Oct 16, 1834

    After the destruction of the Palace of Westminster by fire in 1834, William considered converting the palace into the new Houses of Parliament.


  • London, England, United Kingdom`
    1837

    Buckingham Palace finally became the principal royal residence

    London, England, United Kingdom`
    1837

    Buckingham Palace finally became the principal royal residence in 1837, on the accession of Queen Victoria, who was the first monarch to reside there; her predecessor William IV had died before its completion.


  • London, England, United Kingdom
    1838

    The boy Jones

    London, England, United Kingdom
    1838

    The boy Jones was an intruder who gained entry to the palace on three occasions between 1838 and 1841.


  • London, England, United Kingdom
    1840

    Prince Albert concerned himself with a reorganization of the household offices and staff

    London, England, United Kingdom
    1840

    Following the Queen's marriage in 1840, her husband, Prince Albert, concerned himself with a reorganization of the household offices and staff, and with addressing the design faults of the palace.


  • London, England, United Kingdom
    1844

    1844 Room

    London, England, United Kingdom
    1844

    Smaller ceremonies such as the reception of new ambassadors take place in the "1844 Room". Here too, the Queen holds small lunch parties, and often meetings of the Privy Council. Larger lunch parties often take place in the curved and domed Music Room or the State Dining Room.


  • London, England, United Kingdom
    1847

    Too small for court life and growing family

    London, England, United Kingdom
    1847

    By 1847, Albert and Victoria had found the palace too small for court life and their growing family, and consequently the new wing, designed by Edward Blore, was built by Thomas Cubitt, enclosing the central quadrangle. The large East Front, facing The Mall, is today the "public face" of Buckingham Palace, and contains the balcony from which the royal family acknowledge the crowds on momentous occasions and after the annual Trooping the Colour. The ballroom wing and a further suite of state rooms were also built in this period, designed by Nash's student Sir James Pennethorne.


  • London, England, United Kingdom
    1854

    Investitures

    London, England, United Kingdom
    1854

    Investitures, which include the conferring of knighthoods by dubbing with a sword, and other awards take place in the palace's Ballroom, built in 1854. At 120 ft (36.6 m) long, 60 ft (18 m) wide and 45 ft (13.5 m) high, it is the largest room in the palace. It has replaced the throne room in importance and use. During investitures, the Queen stands on the throne dais beneath a giant, domed velvet canopy, known as a shamiana or a baldachin, that was used at the Delhi Durbar in 1911. A military band plays in the musicians' gallery as award recipients approach the Queen and receive their honours, watched by their families and friends.


  • London, England, United Kingdom
    1861

    Left Buckingham Palace

    London, England, United Kingdom
    1861

    Victoria widowed in 1861, the grief-stricken Queen withdrew from public life and left Buckingham Palace to live at Windsor Castle, Balmoral Castle and Osborne House. For many years the palace was seldom used, even neglected.


  • London, England, United Kingdom
    1864

    A note was found

    London, England, United Kingdom
    1864

    In 1864, a note was found pinned to the fence of Buckingham Palace, saying: "These commanding premises to be let or sold, in consequence of the late occupant's declining business".


  • London, England, United Kingdom
    1901

    New life breathed

    London, England, United Kingdom
    1901

    In 1901, the accession of Edward VII saw new life breathed into the palace. The King and his wife, Queen Alexandra, had always been at the forefront of London high society, and their friends, known as "the Marlborough House Set", were considered to be the most eminent and fashionable of the age. Buckingham Palace—the Ballroom, Grand Entrance, Marble Hall, Grand Staircase, vestibules and galleries redecorated in the Belle Époque cream and gold color scheme they retain today—once again became a setting for entertaining on a majestic scale but leaving some to feel King Edward's heavy redecorations were at odds with Nash's original work.


  • London, England, United Kingdom
    Tuesday May 16, 1911

    Victoria Memorial

    London, England, United Kingdom
    Tuesday May 16, 1911

    The last major building work took place during the reign of King George V when, in 1913, Sir Aston Webb redesigned Blore's 1850 East Front to resemble in part Giacomo Leoni's Lyme Park in Cheshire. This new, refaced principal façade (of Portland stone) was designed to be the backdrop to the Victoria Memorial, a large memorial statue of Queen Victoria, placed outside the main gates.


  • London, England, United Kingdom
    1920s

    More valuable contents were evacuated to Windsor

    London, England, United Kingdom
    1920s

    During World War I, the palace, then the home of King George V and Queen Mary, escaped unscathed. Its more valuable contents were evacuated to Windsor, but the royal family remained in residence. The King imposed rationing at the palace, much to the dismay of his guests and household.


  • London, England, United Kingdom
    1936

    King George VI and Queen Elizabeth allowed the hemline of daytime skirts to rise

    London, England, United Kingdom
    1936

    Formerly, men not wearing military uniform wore knee breeches of 18th-century design. Women's evening dress included trains and tiaras or feathers in their hair (often both). The dress code governing formal court uniform and dress has progressively relaxed. After the First World War, when Queen Mary wished to follow fashion by raising her skirts a few inches from the ground, she requested a lady-in-waiting to shorten her own skirt first to gauge the King's reaction. King George V disapproved, so the Queen kept her hemline unfashionably low. Following his accession in 1936, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth allowed the hemline of daytime skirts to rise. Today, there is no official dress code. Most men invited to Buckingham Palace in the daytime choose to wear service uniform or lounge suits; a minority wear morning coats, and in the evening, depending on the formality of the occasion, black tie or white tie.


  • London, England, United Kingdom
    1940s

    Bombed nine times

    London, England, United Kingdom
    1940s

    During World War II, the palace was bombed nine times.


  • London, England, United Kingdom
    1940

    The most serious and publicized incident destroyed the palace chapel

    London, England, United Kingdom
    1940

    The most serious and publicized incident destroyed the palace chapel in 1940. This event was shown in cinemas throughout the UK to show the common suffering of rich and poor. One bomb fell in the palace quadrangle while King George VI and Queen Elizabeth were in the palace, and many windows were blown in and the chapel destroyed.


  • London, England, United Kingdom
    Sunday Sep 15, 1940

    Battle of Britain Day

    London, England, United Kingdom
    Sunday Sep 15, 1940

    On 15 September 1940, known as the Battle of Britain Day, an RAF pilot, Ray Holmes of No. 504 Squadron RAF rammed a German Dornier Do 17 bomber he believed was going to bomb the Palace. Holmes had run out of ammunition and made the quick decision to ram it. Holmes bailed out and the aircraft crashed into the forecourt of London Victoria station.


  • London, England, United Kingdom
    Tuesday May 08, 1945

    Victory in Europe Day

    London, England, United Kingdom
    Tuesday May 08, 1945

    On VE Day—8 May 1945—the palace was the centre of British celebrations. The King, the Queen, Princess Elizabeth (the future Queen), and Princess Margaret appeared on the balcony, with the palace's blacked-out windows behind them, to cheers from a vast crowd in The Mall. The damaged Palace was carefully restored after the war by John Mowlem & Co. It was designated a Grade I listed building in 1970.


  • London, England, United Kingdom
    1958

    Queen abolished the presentation parties for débutantes

    London, England, United Kingdom
    1958

    Débutantes were aristocratic young ladies making their first entrée into society through a presentation to the monarch at court. These occasions, known as "coming out", took place at the palace from the reign of Edward VII. The débutantes entered—wearing full court dress, with three ostrich feathers in their hair—curtsied, performed a backwards walk and a further curtsey, while manoeuvring a dress train of prescribed length. The ceremony, known as an evening court, corresponded to the "court drawing rooms" of Victoria's reign. After World War II, the ceremony was replaced by less formal afternoon receptions, omitting the requirement court evening dress. In 1958, the Queen abolished the presentation parties for débutantes, replacing them with Garden Parties, for up to 8,000 invitees in the Garden. They are the largest functions of the year.


  • London, England, United Kingdom
    Nov, 2015

    State Dining Room was closed for six months

    London, England, United Kingdom
    Nov, 2015

    In November 2015, the State Dining Room was closed for six months because its ceiling had become potentially dangerous.


  • London, England, United Kingdom
    Mar, 2017

    House of Commons backed funding for the project

    London, England, United Kingdom
    Mar, 2017

    A 10-year schedule of maintenance work, including new plumbing, wiring, boilers, and radiators, and the installation of solar panels on the roof, has been estimated to cost £369 million and was approved by the prime minister in November 2016. It will be funded by a temporary increase in the Sovereign Grant paid from the income of the Crown Estate and is intended to extend the building's working life by at least 50 years. In March 2017, the House of Commons backed funding for the project by 464 votes to 56.


  • London, England, United Kingdom
    Friday Mar 31, 2017

    580,000 people visited the palace

    London, England, United Kingdom
    Friday Mar 31, 2017

    In the year to 31 March 2017, 580,000 people visited the palace, and 154,000 visited the gallery.


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