Buckingham Palace is now open until 30 September 2018!
As well as seeing inside the 19 State Rooms, guests can explore the special exhibition and enjoy tea and cake in the garden café.
This year’s Summer Opening of the Palace includes the special exhibition, Prince & Patron, to mark the 70th birthday of HRH The Prince of Wales.
Guests will see objects personally selected by Prince Charles including family portraits and pieces from three of the artistic charities he supports.
Discover the highlights of a visit to the official London residence of Her Majesty The Queen:
THE STATE ROOMS
The State Rooms are the public rooms in the Palace where The Queen and members of the Royal Family receive and entertain their guests on State, ceremonial and official occasions. There are 19 State Rooms, which mainly reflect the taste of George IV, who commissioned the architect John Nash to transform Buckingham House into a grand palace in 1825.
The State Rooms are furnished with many of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection, including paintings by Van Dyck and Canaletto, sculpture by Canova, Sèvres porcelain, and some of the finest English and French furniture in the world.
Many of the State Rooms have particular uses today. The Throne Room is used by The Queen for court ceremonies and official entertaining, and was the setting for the wedding photos of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The White Drawing Room, perhaps the grandest of all the State Rooms, serves as a royal reception room for The Queen and members of the Royal Family to gather before official occasions.
THE THRONE ROOM
The Throne Room’s dramatic arch and canopy over the thrones was the masterpiece of the architect John Nash, and was greatly influenced by his background in theatre set designs.
Central to the room is the pair of throne chairs which are known as Chairs of Estate, and were used for the coronation ceremony of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh in 1953. There are also chairsmade for the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937, and a single throne chairmade for Queen Victoria in 1837.
The chair embroidered with ‘EIIR’ was used by The Queen at the beginning of the Coronation, up until the point that she was crowned. After the crowning ceremony she sat in the Throne Chair, which is on display in the Garter Throne Room at Windsor Castle.
THE PICTURE GALLERY
The Picture Gallery inside Buckingham Palace displays some of the greatest paintings in the Royal Collection. It was created by the architect John Nash as part of his transformation of Buckingham House into a palace for George IV from 1825.
The 47-metre room was designed as a setting for the King’s picture collection. The paintings in the Picture Gallery are changed quite regularly, as The Queen lends many works of art to exhibitions around the UK and overseas. Currently you can see Italian, Dutch and Flemish works mainly from the 17th century, grouped by subject and artistic nationality. Among the artists represented are Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyck and Claude.
The Picture Gallery has always been used for official entertaining. Today it is the setting for receptions hosted by The Queen and members of the Royal Family to recognise achievement in a particular walk of life or sector in the community. It is also here that the recipients of honours wait before being led into the Ballroom for their investiture.
This enormous room, the largest of the State Rooms, was completed in 1855, during the reign of Queen Victoria. It was originally known as the Ball and Concert Room and features a musicians’ gallery complete with an organ. Today, the Ballroom is used for official purposes, including investitures and State Banquets.
There are two thrones in the Ballroom which were made for the coronation ceremony of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in 1902. The thrones are located in a dramatic setting. Statues by William Theed stand on top of a triumphal arch, flanked by sphinxes and enclosing the throne canopy. The winged figures at the top of the arch symbolise History and Fame and support a medallion with the profiles of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.