The Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace
Tomorrow, the Queen welcomes the general public to the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace. The State Rooms and Royal Gardens will be open for all to see until September 27th, 2015. It’s an in depth look at how all the ingredients of a State Visit are put together.
There’s a first time for everything; now visitors to the Summer Opening enter the State Rooms through the Grand Entrance. Normally used by those who come to the Palace at the invitation of The Queen, including Heads of State and Prime Ministers. The Palace Ballroom has been transformed for a State Banquet with glittering silver-gilt from George IV’s Grand Service.
The Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace spiked my interest in all things Royal. It was a good time to become a tourist, on a lovely summer’s day and head down to Buckingham Palace, to have a look around. Starting at the Horse Guards Headquarters, I watched as people hesitantly approached the horses to pose for a picture; perhaps it was the bold sign saying “BEWARE HORSES MAY KICK OR BITE! THANK YOU”.
From the Headquarters, you can walk straight through to St James’s Park, full of people lounging in the sun on deckchairs. This leafy stroll leads all the way up to busy Buckingham Palace, where tourists were out in force taking group shots and pictures with selfie-sticks. The Queen’s Guard were sternly guarding the gates in their famously fluffy bearskin hats.
I missed the changing of the guard as the time was highlighted at 11.30am. Maybe next time.
Buckingham Palace is the working headquarters of the monarchy, where The Queen carries out her official and ceremonial duties as Head of State of the United Kingdom and Head of the Commonwealth. It is one of the few remaining working royal palaces in the world today.
The Queen receives a large number of formal and informal visitors to the Palace, including the Prime Minister at weekly audiences. Every year around 500,000 people visit Buckingham Palace during August and September.