Issue Date: 15/04/2014
Issue Name: Buckingham Palace Stamps Cover
Producer: Buckingham Covers
Issued on the Queen's birthday this stamp set celebrates what is arguable the world's most famous building. Our main cover has six stamps for this issue each showing the Palace through the ages. Buckingham Palace finally became the official royal palace of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837. The last major structural additions were made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the East front, which contains the well known balcony on which the Royal family traditionally congregate to greet crowds outside.
Today, Buckingham Palace is the headquarters of the Monarchy, where The Queen carries out her official and ceremonial duties as Head of State of the United Kingdom and Head of the Commonwealth.
The site where the Palace stands can be traced as far back as the reign of James I, who established a plantation of mulberries for the rearing of silkworms in what is now the Buckingham Palace garden. The house had a succession of owners and tenants until, in 1698, it was let to John Sheffield, later the Duke of Buckingham, who gave the house it’s name. The Duke initially demolished the original building to create the new ‘Buckingham House’. It remained the property of the Dukes of Buckingham until 1761, when George III acquired the whole site as a private family residence for his wife, Queen Charlotte, and their children, and it became known as ‘The Queen’s House’.
After acceding to the throne in 1820, George IV, having felt very much at home at The Queen’s House during his childhood, wanted the existing house to be transformed into his palace. During the last five years of George IV’s life, architect John Nash enlarged Buckingham House into the imposing U-shaped building which was to become Buckingham Palace and was widely regarded as a masterpiece.
George IV’s successor, his brother William IV, showed no interest in moving from his home at Clarence House and it wasn’t until his niece Queen Victoria ascended to the throne in June 1837 that she chose it as her official residence, making her the first sovereign to rule from Buckingham Palace. The Queen’s marriage to Prince Albert in 1841 set the seal on the use of the Palace as a Royal Family home and as a place of entertainment, as well as official business.
There have been many alterations and improvements made to Buckingham Palace since Victoria’s time. The palace we know today has 775 rooms. These include 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. The Palace is very much a working building and the centerpiece of Britain's constitutional monarchy under the current reign of Elizabeth II.
Want to see our all the covers in our 5th Series? View them all here
Chris Draper is an artist and illustrator and is a member of the Guild of Aviation artists and he has signed this lovely cover for us.