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Family Home

Given the very public and official character of Buckingham Palace, it is easy to forget that it is also a family home, and has been since George III first established Buckingham House in 1762.

The newlywed and newly crowned King wrote to his Prime Minister, Lord Bute, that he considered the new house 'not meant for a Palace but a retreat'. Buckingham House was intended to provide a comfortable, more sheltered and domestic environment for George III and his wife Queen Charlotte. One visitor to Buckingham House in 1802 commented, 'Here are the comforts of a family home, with the grandeur and the ornaments of a palace'.

Queen Victoria took up residence at Buckingham Palace in 1837, soon after her accession, but quickly realised that the palace was inadequate for the needs of her rapdily growing young family. The architect Edward Blore was employed to enclose the east side of the courtyard with a fourth wing which contained nurseries and bedrooms.

Princess Elizabeth moved into Buckingham Palace with her parents at the age of ten, then returned as a mother in 1952 after the death of George VI. All four of her children spent a significant proportion of their childhood at Buckingham Palace.