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Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace, London (© Anthony Baggett |


At the end of the Mall is Buckingham Palace, the official residence of the Queen.

The palace was built in 1703 for the Duke of Buckingham. It was acquired by King George III in 1762 as a private residence, and was subsequently enlarged until it replaced St James's Palace as the official residence of the monarchy in 1837, on the accession of Queen Victoria. It remains the largest "working" royal palace in the world.

There is a tour around the State Rooms in August and September only. The rooms contain exquisite English and French furniture, Sèvres porcelain, while the Queen Victoria's Picture Gallery has paintings by Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Rubens, Vermeer, Canaletto, and Poussin, among others.

The Queen's Gallery is open daily all year round and exhibits various items from the Royal Collection, with displays constantly changing. It was first used as a conservatory, then transformed into a chapel under Queen Victoria, but was badly damaged by the Luftwaffe in 1940. It has been open to the public as a gallery since 1962.

The Royal Mews is open from late March to late October, and displays the vehicles of the monarchy, including a lavish 18th-century Gold Coach used for all coronations since George III, and a Glass Coach used for royal weddings.

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