Buckingham Palaceis the London home and primary residence of theBritish monarch.Located in theCity of Westminster, the palaceis a setting for state occasions and royal hospitality. It has been a focus for the British people at times of national rejoicing and crisis.
Originally known asBuckingham House, the building which forms the core of today's palace was a largetownhousebuilt for theDuke of Buckinghamin 1705. It was subsequently acquired byGeorge III in 1761as a private residence forQueen Charlotte, and known as "The Queen's House". During the 19th century it was enlarged, principally by architectsJohn NashandEdward Blore, forming three wings around a central courtyard. Buckingham Palace finally became the official royal palace of the British monarch on the accession ofQueen Victoriain 1837.
The last major structural additions were made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the East front which contains the well-known balcony on which the Royal Family traditionally congregate to greet crowds outside. However, the palace chapel was destroyed by a German bomb in World War II; theQueen's Gallerywas built on the site and opened to the public in 1962 to exhibit works of art from theRoyal Collection.
The original early 19th-century interior designs, many of which still survive, included widespread use of brightly colouredscagliolaand blue and pinklapis, on the advice of Sir Charles Long.King Edward VIIoversaw a partial redecoration in aBelle Époquecream and gold colour scheme. Many smaller reception rooms are furnished in the Chineseregencystyle with furniture and fittings brought from theRoyal PavilionatBrightonand fromCarlton House. TheBuckingham Palace Gardenis the largest private garden in London.
The state rooms, used for official and state entertaining, are open to the public each year for most of August and September, as part of the Palace's Summer Opening.