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Issue 974

TIDBITS® VISITS SOME

ROYAL RESIDENCES

by Kathy Wolfe

Tidbits travels across the pond this week to see how the royals live.

• When in London, Queen Elizabeth stays at Buckingham Palace, the official royal residence since 1837. It’s also the administrative headquarters of the monarchy. The palace has 775 rooms, including 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 bedrooms for staff, 92 offices, and 78 bathrooms. It’s the London residence of Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, as well as that of the Queen’s youngest son, Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, and his wife Sophie, when they are not at their country home, Bagshot Park. Princes Charles and Andrew were both born in the Palace.

• King George III, the grandfather of Queen Victoria, purchased Buckingham House in 1761 for his wife, Queen Charlotte, for use as a family retreat. Oddly enough, George had never met Charlotte until their wedding day. Fourteen of their 15 children were born in the house.

• In 1826, George IV undertook the project of turning Buckingham House into a palace, doubling its size.

• Three weeks after Queen Victoria ascended to the throne in 1837, she moved into Buckingham Palace from Kensington Palace. turn the page for more!

• After Victoria married and began having children, she had another wing added to accommodate guest bedrooms and nurseries for her children, which eventually would total nine.

• Buckingham’s balcony has been the scene of many famous moments, including the first public kiss of Charles and Diana and William and Catherine. Queen Elizabeth stands there for her official birthday celebrations. The first public appearance was in 1851, when Victoria stepped out for the opening celebration of The Great Exhibition, London’s World’s Fair.

• The Queen’s weekend retreat, Windsor Castle, is about an hour from London. It was built by William the Conqueror, and completed in 1086. It’s the world’s oldest and largest occupied castle, and has been inhabited by 39 British monarchs. William chose the site as a prime location to guard the western approach to London.

• During the 1170s, the original wood walls of Windsor Castle were replaced with stone and additional apartments were added by King Henry II. Huge additions were constructed in the 1360s and 1670s. A tragic fire in 1992 damaged or destroyed one-fifth of Windsor Castle when a spotlight ignited a curtain. More than 1.5 million gallons of water were needed to put out the fire over the course of 15 hours. Over the next five years, $50 million was spent restoring the castle.

 

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