The Queen has three official residences – the best known, Buckingham Palace; the oldest, Windsor Castle; and the most romantic, Palace of Holyroodhouse. Among the few working royal palaces in the world today, they serve as both family homes and as the setting for the business of Monarchy. Each has its own distinctive story – long histories that reflect good and bad times, triumph and tragedy and, of course, the lives of some of our most memorable kings and queens. But they all share certain features – incredible collections of treasures that reflect both the tastes of their occupants and the artistic development of the nation, and architecture that has evolved across the centuries to meet the needs of different ages, reflecting the story of Britain and its people like no other buildings.
Buckingham Palace may be just about the most famous building in the world, but its story is much less familiar. Fiona Bruce reveals how England’s most spectacular palace emerged from a swampy backwater in just 300 years. The journey of discovery takes her from the sewers of London to the magnificent State Rooms; from a home for camels and elephants to the artistic brilliance of C18th-century Venice; and from a prince’s Chinese fantasy to the secret of how the Palace’s glittering chandeliers are cleaned today.