Elizabeth, the UK’s beloved queen, returned to Buckingham Palace last month as the longest-reigning British monarch. Every August and September, royalty fans worldwide have a unique opportunity to tour the grand public rooms of Buckingham Palace. Soven if you are not invited to one of the queen’s elegant garden parties, you can certainly spend a weekend in London and you too can live like a king or queen.
A visit to the palace is extraordinary — even when Elizabeth is not in residence. This year’s tour, which ended Sept. 28, is called A Royal Welcome, and takes you through the public rooms of Buckingham Palace to experience what it is like to attend an event at the invitation of Her Majesty The Queen. Ticket prices are about 20 pounds (about $30.50) and benefit the Royal Trust Collection. A walk through the gardens ends your trip (after you depart the gift shop!). Check the site and start planning for next year’s tour.
As you enter the palace, you follow in the footsteps of heads of state, prime ministers and all the other guests from every walk of life by entering the palace’s state rooms through the grand entrance. Your can imagine yourself arriving to the palace as a royal as you pass by an Australian stagecoach, displayed at the grand-entrance portico, where Her Majesty departs and returns to Buckingham Palace by carriage for ceremonial processions.
The palace ballroom is set for a state banquet, with the table dressed with silver-gilt centerpieces and a candelabra from George IV’s magnificent grand service. It is the showstopper of the tour. You can almost hear the music and the toast — it’s a real treat to see the event from the queen’s perspective right behind her chair.
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Photo: Defence Images via Flickr