For most people, if not all, the idea of a Palace always has been (and always will be) a picture of royalty – with high thrones and diamond-laden crowns and a throng of servants to complete the scene. And as such, despite the turn of the century, it has never failed to draw people to it, myself included.
One such palace that has attracted a multitude of visitors, both local and foreign, is the world-renowned Buckingham Palace. Located at the heart of London, it is the official residence and office of the British monarch.
Originally built for the Duke of Buckingham (Buckingham House) in 1705, it was subsequently acquired by King George III in 1761 as a private residence for his wife, Queen Charlotte (Queen’s House). Although remodelling of the structure soon began the following year, its renovation from a house to a palace with the addition of the three wings enclosing a courtyard began only after the accession of King George IV in 1820 up until the reign of his younger brother King William IV. And upon completion in 1837, on the accession of Queen Victoria, Buckingham Palace finally became the principal royal residence of the British monarch making her the very first sovereign to reside there.
Taking inspiration from this, the idea of a period film based upon the early years of the young Queen Victoria (Emily Blunt) was conceived. Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, The Young Victoria presents the life of the young monarch as she takes on the responsibility of ruling Great Britain and Ireland while taking on higher social protocols as Queen. With her marriage to her first cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Rupert Friend), they together championed reforms in education, welfare, and industry; and have strongly supported developments of the arts and sciences. Highly influential, their rule was marked by a great period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military changes within the Empire which to date has been known as the Victorian Era.
As the story unfolds within the confines of the palace walls, I am but awed with the majestic treatment of its interiors. Curious even as a child pondering on how life must be of the royal and the regal, being able to see the things I was able to learn during the past couple of months (and several years before) is by and large the main reason for such a reaction.
The Buckingham Palace, being the principal royal residence of the British monarch since Queen Victoria, boasts an expanse of 108 meters long across the front, 120 meters deep (including the quadrangle), and 24 meters high. Composed of about 775 rooms (19 State Rooms, 52 Royal and Guest Bedrooms, 188 Staff Bedrooms, 92 Offices, and 78 Bathrooms), its total floor area from basement to roof covers over 77,000 square meters; while the garden covers over 40 acres which includes a helicopter landing area, a lake, and a tennis court. Notable also is the palace’s own chapel, post office, swimming pool, staff cafeteria, doctor’s surgery and cinema.
As a living testament to the life lead by those who are called upon to rule Great Britain, the Buckingham Palace serves not only as their residence; but a tangible record of how life must be then and how life it is now for the monarch.
NICOLAS, ANNA KATHRINA (97.02598)