Life Lessons From London’s Buckingham Palace

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Traveling the world presents countless educational and developmental opportunities, as immense as the world itself. However it seems not many researchers have studied the effects travel has on children from an educational perspective, however I have witnessed first-hand the benefits of a world education, including developing an open mind, immersive learning, boosting confidence and contributing to greater creativity, curiosity, and problem solving skills. In fact, family travel benefits the family as a whole, regardless of age.

For us, the world is our classroom. Immersive learning is a completely different experience than simply reading about some thing or some place. Experiencing history, culture, science and art first hand can create a more profound sense of learning. Armed with our interests as our guide, the world is literally transformed into our classroom.

Getting to Know Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace did not begin as the structure we are accustomed to seeing in today’s media. Over the centuries, the palace has gone through several physical transformations as well as a few name changes. In 1705, it was simply a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham on a land that had sat for about 150 years, being held in private ownership. This impressive home that still pales in comparison to all that Buckingham Palace is today was called Buckingham House.

A little over 50 years after the townhouse was built, the property was purchased by George III to serve as a private residence for Queen Charlotte. At that time the name was changed to The Queen’s House. It wasn’t until 1837 that the property finally became the official palace of the British Monarch.

Image courtesy of  Jimmy Harris,  based on a Creative Commons license.

Today, Buckingham Palace contains 775 rooms and is the base of Britain’s lasting constitutional monarchy, serving as the location of the office of England’s Head of State as well as The Queen’s residence. The furnishings and décor it contains are absolutely priceless, much of it can be seen by tourists as they visit the palace’s 19 state rooms. The palace’s garden is also a breath-taking environment to be in, with its 350 varieties of wildflowers and amazing view of famous lake.

England’s Royal Family: A Deep History

It was during the eighth and ninth centuries that monarchy developed in Britain. The earliest times saw the reign of the Angelo-Saxons, including King Alfred the Great. After this rose the Normans, Angevins, Plantagenets, Lancastrians, Yorkists, Tudors, Stuarts, Hanoverians, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and finally the House of Windsor, which is ruling today. Each of these houses represents a new generation of the same family line.

The current queen in England, Queen Elizabeth II has the second longest running reign of any monarch in the UK. Eldest daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth I, she was born on April 21, 1926 and became Head of the Commonwealth on February 6, 1952 at age 25.

The Intriguing Experience Buckingham Palace Offers Guests

In spite of the many changes that it’s seen over the centuries since it was first built, much of its original architecture remains. The palace has been long a key symbol of the UK’s rich history. Visitors to the palace get to see first-hand the beauty and grandeur of the palace and the artefacts contained within. They get the opportunity to stand in places where significant events took place in the UK’s history and impacted the rest of the world.
There are 19 staterooms that were designed specifically for receiving dignitaries and rewarding subjects. These rooms remain as designed by architect John Nash, reflecting the taste in décor had by King George IV who reigned from 1820 to 1830 and was affectionately titled “the First Gentleman in England” because of his charm. There are many important works of art contained within these rooms, including a sculpture by Canova, paintings by Van Dyck and much more.

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Image courtesy of Leonard Bentley, based on a Creative Commons license.

Buckingham Palace’s Painting Gallery is one of the 19 staterooms. The exhibit is constantly changing as paintings are often lent out to other exhibitions around the world. Some of the paintings that can be seen in this room include works from Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Rubens, Claude, and Titian.

The rich décor and furnishings of Buckingham Palace offers guests an excellent cultural experience. Hundreds of thousands of tourists enter the palace every year. One of the sights that continues to be the most popular with guests is the Changing of the Guards.

The Tradition and Significance of the Changing of the Guards

The Changing of the Guards of Buckingham Palace dates back to 1837 when Buckingham House officially became Buckingham Palace and Queen Victoria took up residence there. The ceremony has remained the same throughout all the years, although visiting regimens from other branches of the armed forces are invited to join in, sharing with the Queen’s guards the pleasure and privilege of guarding the Queen.

The Changing of the Guards is the ceremony that takes place as one regiment ends their shift and another marches in to replace them. The ceremony takes about 45 minutes and is usually done every two days, weather permitting. This colourful, musical, and entertaining event continues to be the top attraction in London, attracting millions of more spectators annually than visitors to tour Buckingham Palace itself.

Image courtesy of Jimmy Harris, based on a Creative Commons license.

Important Lessons Learned from Buckingham Palace

A visit to Buckingham Palace isn’t just entertaining, but has proved to be a life-changing experience for many. At heart, The Royal Family is a family indeed, one that has stood strong throughout the ages. This in itself holds an important lesson for visiting families touring Buckingham Palace.

There are many inspiring stories told about struggles and triumph, as visitors come to develop a deeper appreciation for history, art, and culture. Also are the high morals and standards displayed and learned; such as respect, prosperity, honor, bravery, loyalty, and so on. The takeaway is different for each visitor to Buckingham Palace, but no one leaves being exactly same as when they came. The Buckingham Palace is high on our list to learn from.

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Harris, based on a Creative Commons license.

Gabriela Beese contributed to this article. She is versed in a wide variety of topics and has been particularly interested in travel journalism for the last 10 years.

  • Rose

    I think you’ll find that Queen Elizabeh i was not the current Queen’s mother. ;)