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Exhibition

Queen Victoria's Palace

Queen Victoria's Palace

Buckingham Palace

  • Next event: Saturday, 20 Jul 2019
    Daily (Saturday, 20 Jul 2019 - Sunday, 29 Sep 2019)
  • Adult £25.00
    Over 60 / Student £22.80
    Under 17 / Disabled £14.00
    Under 5 Free
    Family (2 adults and 3 under 17s) £64.00

    If you are a disabled visitor we offer a free access companion ticket. To book please telephone +44 (0)303 123 7324 or e-mail [email protected]
  • Adults, Groups (15+ people)
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To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth, a special exhibition, Queen Victoria’s Palace, will tell the story of how the young queen transformed Buckingham Palace from a private house into a working royal residence. Together with Prince Albert, she made Buckingham Palace a rallying point for the nation, a powerful symbol of the British Monarchy, and a family home for their nine children.

The Palace

Queen Victoria ascended to the throne on 20 June 1837, aged 18. Just three weeks into her reign, she moved into Buckingham Palace, despite the building being incomplete and many of the rooms undecorated and unfurnished. The Palace had been empty for seven years following the death of Victoria’s uncle, George IV, who had commissioned at great expense the conversion of Buckingham House into a Palace to the designs of John Nash. The King never occupied the Palace, and his successor, William IV, preferred to live at Clarence House during his short reign. The Queen’s ministers advised her to stay at Kensington Palace, her childhood home, until Buckingham Palace could be brought up to a suitable standard, but Victoria wanted to move immediately and begin her new life.

Marriage

Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, on 10 February 1840. Over the next 17 years, they had nine children, eight of whom were born at Buckingham Palace. As early as 1845 it was clear that Buckingham Palace was no longer large enough to accommodate the royal couple’s rapidly expanding family. On 10 February that year, Victoria wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Peel, concerning ‘the urgent necessity of doing something to Buckingham Palace’ and ‘the total want of accommodation for our growing little family’. On 13 August 1846, Parliament granted Victoria £20,000 for the completion and extension of Buckingham Palace. Additional funds were raised from the sale of George IV’s seaside retreat, the Royal Pavilion, to Brighton Corporation for £50,000.

Costume Balls

During their time together at Buckingham Palace, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert held three magnificent ‘themed’ costume balls. These occasions were both celebrations of British history and a showcase for the country’s textile industry. Guests were encouraged to commission elaborate costumes to give work to the Spitalfield silk weavers, whose business was in sharp decline. The Stuart Ball of 13 July 1851 had as its theme the Restoration period, with guests dressed in the style of Charles II’s court.

A waltz danced at the Crimean Ball and the Ballroom’s original decorative scheme will be recreated as part of the exhibition. A Victorian illusion technique, known as Pepper’s Ghost, and projections around the room will enable visitors to imagine the Ballroom as Victoria and Albert would have known it.

Map & directions

Visitor entrance (Gate C) is on the south side of the Palace, Buckingham Gate, London, SW1A 1AA
By train

London Victoria or London Charing Cross.  Visit National Rail Enquiries for times and fares.

By underground

Victoria, Green Park, St. James's Park and Hyde Park Corner.  For further information visit the Transport for London website.

By coach / bus

Bus numbers 11, 211, C1 and C10 stop on Buckingham Palace Road.  Victoria Coach Station is a 10-minute walk from the Palace.