The palace was originally built in 1703 for the first Duke of Buckingham, John Sheffield. In 1762 it was purchased by King George III, who expanded and enlarged it. In 1826 King George IV hired John Nash to transform the building into a magnificent palace. In 1837 it became the main palace of the British royal family and Queen Victoria moved in.
The eastern front which you must be facing now, was added after the wedding of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert. In 1847 another wing designed by Edward Blur was added to the palace. He created the courtyard with its familiar square shape in the middle of the palace. Once completed, the palace contained 19 guest rooms, 52 royal bedrooms, 188 bedrooms for servants, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. The exterior wall of the palace underwent further renovation and a monument was built for Queen Victoria in 1912.
Like many UK buildings, Buckingham Palace was also hit during the Blitz during World War II.
Since it opened to the public in 1993, the palace attracts crowds of visitors. Please note that only 18 of the 600 rooms in the palace are open to the public, so you can only imagine the true size of the palace. Only 100 out of a collection of 7,000 oil paintings in the Queen's possession are presented to the public. It is of-course known, that this is only one of the Queen’s residences..
It is important to note, that when the royal flag is raised, it is a sign that the queen is in the palace. On the days when the queen is in the palace, it will be closed to visitors, but you can still admire it from the outside.
The changing of the guard is at 11:00 am daily, and 10:00 am on Sundays.