It is named after a Tory politician
Buckingham Palace might be famous the world over for being the home of the Queen but it wasn’t originally constructed as a royal residence.
The main part of the palace we see today was built by John Sheffield, 3rd Earl of Mulgrave and Marquess of Normanby, as his London home in 1703. Later the same year, the poet and Tory peer was made the Duke of Buckingham and he named the property Buckingham House after his title.
The house remained the property of the Dukes of Buckingham until 1761, when it was bought by George III to be the residence of his wife Queen Charlotte and their children. It was renamed Buckingham Palace by his son George IV who embarked on a major rebuilding programme after acceding to the throne in 1820.
King James I tried to rear silk worms on the site
The history of the site can be traced back to the reign of James I in the early 17th Century.
Keen to break the French monopoly on silk-making, he started a plantation of mulberries for the rearing of silk worms where the palace gardens are now located.
However, the project was a complete flop. The King ordered the wrong type of mulberry and failed to produce any silk. The mulberry garden became a pleasure ground which survived until the rebuilding of the palace under George IV.
It has a staggering 775 rooms
Pity the poor person who had to count them, but the palace boasts no fewer than 775 rooms.
There are 19 state rooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms, as well as a chapel, post office, swimming pool, café, doctor’s surgery, cinema and jeweller’s workshop.
The building also has 1,514 doors, 760 windows – which are cleaned every six weeks - and more than 40,000 light bulbs.
It was broken into three times by a teenager
Teenager Edward Jones, known as ‘the boy Jones’ was a regular unwanted visitor to the palace during the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign.
He first entered the royal residence in 1838 disguised as a chimney sweep before being caught with the Queen’s underwear stuffed down his trousers.
A couple of years later he broke in twice within the space of a month. On the first occasion he left undetected, but second time round he was found hiding under a sofa in the Queen’s dressing room and promptly arrested.
Only one monarch was born and died in the palace
Although Buckingham Palace has been in royal hands since 1761, it wasn’t until Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837 that it became the reigning monarch’s official residence.
Her son Edward VII (1841-1910) is the only monarch to be born and to die in the palace.
William IV was also born at Buckingham House in 1765, but he died at Windsor Castle in 1837.
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