Buckingham Palace

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Episode 1 of 3

Duration: 59 minutes

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 18th-century Venice and from a prince's Chinese fantasy to the secret of how the palace's glittering chandeliers are cleaned today.

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    Buckingham Palace has been influenced by numerous Kings and Queens throughout its history. Read more about their lives...

  • Henry VIII

    Henry was the second Tudor monarch. He broke with the Papacy in Rome and established the Church of England, initiating the English Reformation.

    Find out more about Henry VIII
  • James I and VI

    James was king of Scotland until 1603, when he became the first Stuart king of England as well, creating the kingdom of Great Britain.

    Find out more about James I and VI
  • George III

    George III was the third Hanoverian king of Great Britain. During his reign, Britain lost its American colonies but emerged as a leading power in Europe. He suffered from recurrent fits of madness and after 1810, his son acted as regent.

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  • George IV

    Famous for his dissolute lifestyle and his Royal Pavilion in Brighton, George became prince regent in 1811 and king in 1820.

    Find out more about George IV
  • Victoria

    Victoria was the longest reigning British monarch and the figurehead of a vast empire. She oversaw huge changes in British society and gave her name to an age.

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  • Prince Albert

    Albert was the husband and consort of Queen Victoria and a significant influence on his wife. She never recovered from his premature death.

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  • Edward VII

    Edward was king of Great Britain from 1901 to 1910, having been heir to Victoria for nearly 60 years.

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Credits

Presenter
Fiona Bruce
Producer
Ian Leese
Director
Ian Leese
Executive Producer
Basil Comely
Production Manager
Marian Lacey

Broadcasts

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