Buckingham Palace is one of the oldest and most famous places on earth. It is home to the UK Royal Family, making it one of the most guarded residences, just like the White House. Thanks to its unique architecture and rich history, visiting the cultural site and national heritage is on many people’s bucket lists worldwide. Here, we look at some of the lesser-known Buckingham Palace facts.
1. Michael Fagan Once Broke into the Buckingham Palace and Made His Way to the Queen’s Chambers
In 1982, a painter known as Michael Fagan broke into Buckingham Palace and found his way into the Queen’s bedroom. The guard who usually watched the Queen’s door had left his duty at 6 am, leaving her majesty vulnerable. Fortunately, the monarch managed to stall Fagan with a cigarette before the police finally arrived.
2. There are over 40,000 Light Bulbs at the Buckingham Palace
The Buckingham Palace has more than 40,000 light bulbs. The figure covers the bulbs inside and outside the royal residence.
3. A Teenage Boy Managed to Break into the Buckingham Palace More Than Thrice
When he was only 14, Edward Jones broke into Buckingham Palace more than three times during the late 1800s. Jones was so obsessed with Queen Victoria that he stole her underwear in his first break-in. In his second attempt, he sat on the throne and stole food belonging to the royal family. It was relatively easier to break into Buckingham Palace at the time, though – most of the doors and windows were mostly unguided.
4. Queen Elizabeth Banned Garlic from Buckingham Palace
Garlic was banned in Buckingham Palace because Queen Elizabeth detested it; the meals prepared there were always garlic-free. On the other hand, sandwiches were beloved – sandwich parties were common in Buckingham Place at some point.
5. The Buckingham Palace was Bombed Nine Times During the Blitz
During the Blitz, the royal family vowed not to flee the city but to stand in solidarity with the locals. Consequently, Buckingham Palace was bombed nine times. The Chapel was among the worst-hit areas following the raids.
6. An MP is Always Held Hostage at Buckingham Palace When the Queen/King Goes to Parliament
Buckingham Palace has a long-standing tradition where a Member of Parliament is held hostage whenever the Queen/King goes to Parliament. Although this was common during Queen Elizabeth’s reign, it recently happened when King Charles went to Parliament, perhaps indicating that it is bound to continue even with the change of heads. The ceremonial hostage situation has been in place since the 1600s.
7. Before Queen Victoria, Buckingham Palace wasn’t Always This Glamorous
It was after Queen Victoria moved into Buckingham Palace in 1837 that the residence rose to monarch status. It is alleged that, before her arrival, Buckingham Palace was dirty and almost uninhabitable.
8. The TV Show “Crown” was Never Filmed at the Buckingham Palace
Even though the series “Crown” revolves around the royal family, the cast never used the actual residence. Yes, several British buildings, such as the Ely Cathedral, are featured in the film, but the Buckingham Palace depicted on this TV show is fake. The official residence doesn’t allow filming for security purposes.
9. Queen Elizabeth II Preferred Staying at Windsor Castle Instead of Buckingham Palace
During the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, she perceived the Buckingham Palace to be more of an office where she would run errands. Quite often, she would spend her nights at Windsor Castle, a few miles from Buckingham Palace.
10. A Film Crew Once Noticed Magic Mushrooms in the Buckingham Palace Gardens
In 2014, a film crew was preparing their equipment for shooting when they discovered magic mushrooms in the Buckingham Palace gardens. The hallucinogenic plants were not used at the residence despite their popularity.
11. James Milner Landed on the Buckingham Palace Naked
American paraglider known as James Milner once landed on the roof of Buckingham Palace naked. The incident that happened in 1994 led to the paraglider’s arrest and deportation. He was also fined £200 and banned from visiting the UK in his lifetime.
12. The Public Wasn’t Allowed into Buckingham Palace Until 1993
Before 1993, tourists and not even residents were allowed entry into Buckingham Palace – it was strictly closed to the public. It was not until Queen Elizabeth took power that this rule was adjusted.
13. The Buckingham Palace is Home to Lots of People
Besides the king or Queen, Buckingham Palace is home to other monarchs and staff members. Prince Edward and Phillip resided there for a long time.
14. There is a Mini Town at the Buckingham Palace
The Buckingham Palace is filled with amenities and facilities such as a clinic, a cash machine, a police station, a cinema, and a pool. Most people consider it a small town because of its size and wealth.
15. The Churchill Family Has a Palace Bigger than Buckingham Palace
Ordinarily, Buckingham Palace is often assumed to be the biggest in the UK and among the most prominent worldwide. Interestingly, despite its massive size and importance, the Blenheim Palace, owned by the Churchill Family, supersedes it. Built around 300 years ago, the Blenheim Palace was Winston Churchill’s birthplace; it plays a huge role in the region’s history.