Buckingham Palace

Welcome to our Buckingham Palace history section. You can skip to subsequent pages using the links below or simply continue reading to start at the beginning.

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace, though not unjustly called the ugliest royal residence in Europe, deserves a mention as the official London residence of the British monarch and the scene of many an important historic pageant.

It occupies the site of the famous Mulberry Gardens laid out by James I. for the encouragement of the cultivation of silk in England, which were converted after his death, and the failure of his scheme, into a fashionable lounge such as the Mall of the present day.

At the latter end of the seventeenth century the gardens were either bought by, or given to, Henry Bennet, Earl of Arlington, a member of Charles II.'s "Cabal" ministry, who built on them a stately mansion, called first Goring, and then Arlington House, which was, however, pulled down as early as 1703, on its purchase by John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham, to make room for a palace built under his supervision for the use of himself and his heirs.

Shortly after the death of his only son, without issue, in 1735 Buckingham House was bought by George III. for the sum of 21,000, and in it all his children, except the Prince of Wales (afterwards George IV.) were born.

At this time the mansion was little more than a substantial red brick house, with a garden and terrace at the back, from which a good view of what was then open country could be obtained, but, on the marriage of the Prince of Wales, a great part of the interior was splendidly fitted up for the reception of his bride, whilst an octagonal room at the north-east corner was converted into a throne-room, afterwards used on all state occasions.

It was in old Buckingham Palace that George III. and his family anxiously awaited the result of the Gordon riots, with some four thousand troops as a guard, and from it the beloved Princess Charlotte was married, in 1816, to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg.

Next page: New Buckingham Palace