Culture

8 surprising facts about Buckingham Palace you probably weren’t aware of

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Think you know about the Monarchy?

Being a self-proclaimed Monarch fanatic is a title that needs to be held with uppermost regal respect. That means knowing the ins and the outs of all things royal, including Buckingham Palace — because after all, home is where the heart is.

Here are 8 facts you probably didn’t know about the Palace, to use next time you want to put someone’s knowledge to the test:


The Palace has been subject to a scandalous history of trespassers

Teenager Edward Jones, known to the press as ‘the boy Jones’, was caught sneaking into the palace three times (but he’s suspected to have entered more) during Queen Victoria’s reign. The trespasser said he’d sat on the throne, stole food, and pieces of her underwear.

The Palace is built on secret tunnels

There are tunnels built underneath the estate which connect the palace to nearby streets. They’re rumoured to link with the Houses of Parliament and Whitehall. On one occasion, the Queen Mother and King George VI explored the tunnels once upon a time and supposedly met a man living down there from Newcastle. (Why-aye!)

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Buckingham Palace has been transformed into an operating room… on more than one occasion

In 1902, Edward VII contracted a stomach infection called peritonitis and needed urgent medical attention and a room overlooking the garden in the palace was turned into an operating room for his surgery. King George also needed surgery in 1951 for his left lung which was removed within the palace’s walls.

It’s actually easy to tell when the Queen is home

There are two different flags that symbolise whether or not the Queen is home which fly outside the palace. When the Queen is in, the palace flies the Royal Standard and when the Queen is not in, the palace flies the Union Flag.


The palace is not just home to royalty

Buckingham Palace employs more than 1500 people, with many members of the staff living on the property including a flagman, a clockmaker and a fendersmith. There are 188 staff bedrooms dedicated to Her Majesty’s staff out of the generous 775 on the property.

Cleaning is no small job

With 760 windows that are cleaned every 6 weeks combined with over 40,000 light bulbs to change, keeping the palace spick and span is no small feat.

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The Queen’s corgis had unlimited access

Her Majesty’s corgis (when they were still alive) had unrestricted access to anywhere on the 77,000 square meters of palace property. Nowhere was off limits and they were free to roam their palace-turned-playpen at their leisure.

Buckingham Palace was hit 9 times in the Blitz

The palace was shown no mercy to the bombings by the Germans during the Blitz campaign of 1940-41. The grounds were hit a total of 9 times after King George VI and Queen Elizabeth publicly refused to leave, making it a very easy target.

Words: Maxine Fourie
Photos: Getty Images

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