Tina Engstrom

Buckingham Palace Summer Opening: A Guide to Visiting the Royal Residence

The Buckingham Palace Summer Opening 2023 will be from Friday, 14 July, to Sunday, 24 September. During the 10 weeks, visitors to Buckingham Palace will see the 19 magnificent State Rooms, which provide the setting for ceremonial occasions and official entertaining. All rooms are furnished with many of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection.

Buckingham Palace Summer Opening 2023

For 2023, the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace will feature outfits worn by Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla at the Coronation.

The clothing will form part of a special Coronation display staged in the Ballroom to celebrate the historic service held at Westminster Abbey on 6 May. The centrepiece of the display will be the outfits worn by Their Majesties as they departed from Westminster Abbey in the Gold State Coach and then appeared on the Buckingham Palace balcony to greet the crowds. Shown alongside these will be a selection of the historic vestments worn by The King at the moment of crowning, including the Coronation Glove, Girdle (or Sword Belt) and Stole Royal.

Visitors to the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace will also be able to see the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, which conveyed Their Majesties to Westminster Abbey for the Coronation and which will be on display in the Palace’s State Entrance.

For more information about the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace and to book tickets, check out the website for the Royal Collection Trust.   This can be easily combined with our Royal London Tour to discover and learn about additional Royal places in London – The home of the British Monarchy!

King Charles and Queen Camilla waving from the balcony of Buckingham Palace. Photo Credit: © Isaac Mayne/DCMS via Wikimedia Commons.  King Charles and Queen Camilla waving from the balcony of Buckingham Palace. Photo Credit: © Isaac Mayne/DCMS via Wikimedia Commons.

Buckingham Palace Facts & Figures

Buckingham Palace is the working headquarters of the Monarchy, where The Queen carries out her official and ceremonial duties as Head of State of the United Kingdom and Head of the Commonwealth. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh live in the private apartments on the north side of the Palace, while rooms on the upper floors of the north and east sides are occupied by other members of the Royal Family. Much of the ground floor and the south wing of the Palace are used by over 800 members of staff. Their jobs range from housekeeping to horticulture, catering to correspondence. Some of the more unusual jobs include fendersmith, clockmaker and flagman.

Buckingham Palace. Photo Credit: ©London & Partners.
Buckingham Palace. Photo Credit: ©London & Partners.

The site where Buckingham Palace now stands was originally a mulberry garden planted by King James I to rear silkworms. Unfortunately, he chose the wrong kind of mulberry bush, and silk production never took off in Britain. By 1628 a substantial house already existed on the site and in 1698 it was let to John Sheffield (later the Duke of Buckingham) who demolished the property and rebuilt it as ‘Buckingham House’. In 1761 George III acquired the site as a private residence and the house underwent considerable remodelling and modernising. Buckingham House was transformed into Buckingham Palace in the 1820s by the architect John Nash for George IV, but the first monarch to use Buckingham Palace as their official residence was Queen Victoria, who moved there in 1837. The white Portland stone facade was created in 1913 by Sir Aston Webb.

Buckingham Palace is 108 metres long across the front, 120 metres deep (including the central quadrangle) and 24 metres high. The Palace has 775 rooms, including 19 Staterooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. There are 1,514 doors and 760 windows. All windows are cleaned every six weeks. The palace has its own chapel, post office, swimming pool, staff cafeteria, doctor’s surgery and cinema. There are more than 350 clocks and watches in Buckingham Palace, one of the largest collections of working clocks anywhere.

More than 50,000 people visit the Palace each year as guests to State banquets, lunches, dinners, receptions and Garden Parties. Her Majesty also holds weekly audiences with the Prime Minister and receives newly-appointed foreign Ambassadors at Buckingham Palace. In 2015, Her Majesty hosted a reception for players, organisers and supporters of the Rugby World Cup.

Buckingham Palace: State Banquet
Buckingham Palace: The Ballroom set up for a State Banquet. Photo Credit: ©Royal Collection Trust/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Garden Parties at Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace’s garden covers 40 acres and includes a helicopter landing area, a lake, and a tennis court. It is home to 30 different species of bird and more than 350 different wildflowers, some extremely rare.

The first Garden Party at Buckingham Palace was held by Queen Victoria in the 1860s. Today, there are usually three Garden Parties at the Palace every summer, each attended by approximately 8,000 people, who consume 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 cakes.

In 2002, a music concert was staged in the garden of Buckingham Palace to mark The Queen’s Golden Jubilee, which included an unforgettable performance of ‘God Save The Queen’ by Brian May from the roof of the Palace and at Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012 members of the public were invited to have a special picnic in the Buckingham Palace garden.

Hundreds of distinguished historic figures have visited Buckingham Palace, including a seven-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Charles Dickens, American Presidents including JF Kennedy and Barack Obama, Mahatma Gandhi (who wore a loincloth and sandals to tea with King George V), Neil Armstrong and Nelson Mandela.

The King and Queen in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach Military Procession on The Mall. Photo Credit: © Pail Clarke / DCMS via Wikimedia Commons. The King and Queen in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach Military Procession on The Mall. Photo Credit: © Pail Clarke / DCMS via Wikimedia Commons.

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