Royal Mail today launches a ten-stamp issue that celebrates the history of Buckingham Palace, the official London residence of The Queen.
Six stamps explore the different appearance of this iconic building over the centuries while a four-stamp miniature sheet celebrates the opulence of its interior.
Royal Mail commissioned the artwork used for the 2014 stamp. The watercolour of the present day exterior of the Palace was painted by the artist Chris Draper.
The stamps are available from www.royalmail.com/buckinghampalace , by phone on 08457 641 641 and in 10,000 Post Offices throughout the UK
Buckingham Palace is one of the few remaining working royal palaces in the world today and provides the setting for ceremonies and formal entertaining, as well as the Prime Minister’s weekly audience with The Queen.
Andrew Hammond, Royal Mail spokesperson, said; “This stamp issue illustrates the development of Buckingham Palace from the private house built by the Duke of Buckingham 300 years ago to one of the most iconic buildings in the world.
“Buckingham Palace is one of the most recognised landmarks in the UK and is a source of pride to the nation; it forms a huge part of our heritage, so it’s fitting Royal Mail has been able to dedicate a stamp issue to this most famous of addresses.”
The history of Buckingham Palace can be traced back to the early 17th century, when a mulberry garden was established on the site to breed silk worms. A house built near the garden for Lord Goring in 1633 was replaced, after a fire, on a larger scale by the next occupant, Henry Bennet, Secretary of State to King Charles II and later first Earl of Arlington. In 1698, Arlington House was acquired by John Sheffield, who was created Duke of Buckingham in 1703.
It was the Duke of Buckingham who transformed the site by demolishing the existing building and erecting an ambitious brick house with a three-storeyed central block and flanking pavilions.
This basic plan of Buckingham House formed the core of the future palace and dictated all subsequent development. Facing the Mall – the grand tree-lined avenue running along the north side of St James’s Park – and with a large formal garden at the back, it was an impressive residence benefitting from an excellent location and magnificent views.
In 1761, King George III bought the house as a private residence following his marriage to Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburgh-Strelitz. However, it did not make for a comfortable home. By this time, many features of Buckingham House were out of fashion. To adapt the house to his tastes and needs, King George III put architect Sir William Chambers in charge. After Queen Charlotte settled in the upstairs rooms in 1775, the residence was known as the Queen’s House and became the centre of royal life.
The main developments by John Nash in the early 19th century to transformed it into a Royal Palace, and Queen Victoria’s expansion of the building created a new front facing the Mall.
The 20th century saw King Edward VII set about redecorating much of the interior in its distinctive white and gold décor.
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