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The Queen's £370million home she never wanted to live in – full tour

Buckingham Palace is the Queen's official residence

queen buckingham palace photos
Chloe Best
Chloe BestLifestyle Features Editor
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It may be one of the most famous buildings in the world, with the biggest private garden in London and a whopping 829,000 square feet of living space, but Buckingham Palace was never the Queen's royal residence of choice.

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While Her Majesty has used the historic palace as her official residence for most of her reign, it has previously been revealed that she never wanted to move in, and hoped to remain living at Clarence House upon her accession to the throne.

WATCH: Inside Buckingham Palace's £369million refurbishment

Since the coronavirus pandemic, the monarch has primarily lived at Windsor Castle, and while she returned to the iconic balcony for her Platinum Jubilee celebrations, it has been reported that the Queen will never return to live there permanently.

1 Buckingham Palace royals

Buckingham Palace is currently undergoing extensive renovations

Buckingham Palace is currently undergoing extensive renovations and modernisation throughout, at an estimated cost of £369million. It features 775 rooms, including 19 state rooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 92 offices, 78 bathrooms, and 188 bedrooms for the household staff.

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Equipped with a chapel, a post office, an indoor swimming pool, a staff cafeteria, a doctor's office and a movie theatre, it has everything you could possibly think of. Take a look inside…

The Principal Corridor

2 Buckingham Palace Principal Corridor

The royal family Twitter account showed a before and after photo of the Principal Corridor, which leads on to the Balcony, after removing all items ahead of renovation. The post said that the move had included over 3,000 pieces of art.

The Swimming Pool

3 Buckingham Palace pool

Before being converted into a swimming pool, the building at the back of the palace acted as a conservatory designed by architect John Nash. King George VI commissioned the pool in 1938 to ensure the privacy of his daughters Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, who had been having lessons at the Bath Club. More recently, it is where the Duchess of Cambridge reportedly took her young children when helping them learn to swim.

Pictures of the exterior show concrete plinths, a vaulted ceiling and large glass windows but the interior remains just for the eyes of the royal family and special guests.

SEE: The Queen's unseen secret rooms at Buckingham Palace

The Picture Gallery

4 Buckingham Palace Picture gallery

Designed by architect John Nash as part of George IV's transformation of Buckingham Palace in the 1820s, the 47-metre picture gallery was designed to display the King's art collection, but he didn't live to see it completed. Pieces from this gallery have been moved to the Queen's Gallery and will be on display from 4 December – 21 December 2020.

The Yellow Drawing Room

5 Buckingham Palace Yellow Drawing Room

The official royal family Instagram account previously shared a photo of the yellow drawing room. The post showed a short video in which the wallpaper, an antique first bought by King George, in the drawing room was removed for conservation purposes.

The Private Audience Room

6 Buckingham Palace Private Audience room

If you're lucky enough to be invited for a private audience with the Queen, it will be held at this stunning room within Buckingham Palace. With pale blue walls and dark wooden flooring it has a more modern feel than some of the other rooms, and Her Majesty's family photographs can often be seen on display in the background as she greets her guests.

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The Regency Room

7 Buckingham Palace Regency Room

This beautiful room has featured in many of the Queen's official photographs and Christmas broadcasts. The Regency Room has a green and gold colour scheme, with tassel trim sofas, a desk and traditional fireplace.

The Balcony

8 Buckingham Palace balcony

One of the most iconic parts of Buckingham Palace is the balcony, which sits on the front of the residence and is used by the royals at special events including Trooping the Colour and royal weddings.

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The Gardens

9 Buckingham Palace garden

The Queen welcomes over 30,000 guests each year to her summer garden parties, located within the sprawling garden at the back of Buckingham Palace. The gardens cover 39 acres and contain more than 350 types of wildflowers, around 200 trees, and a three-acre lake.

The Grand Staircase

10 Buckingham Palace Grand Staircase

One of the first things visitors see when entering the Palace is the Grand Staircase, which leads towards the State Rooms upstairs. Red carpet lines the stairs, while historic portraits of members of the royal family are mounted on the walls, providing a dramatic first impression.

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The Palace Ballroom

11 Buckingham Palace State Room

This breathtaking ballroom is the setting for state banquets, and boasts high ceilings, bold red carpets and huge artworks hanging on the walls. The ballroom is also used for investiture ceremonies, carried out by the Queen and other senior royals including the Duke of Cambridge.

The 1844 Room

12 Buckingham Palace 1844 room

One of 19 State rooms in the palace, the 1844 Room is often used by Her Majesty when she hosts audiences with world leaders and other prestigious guests. The grand room has lavish marble columns and gold mirrors hanging on the walls, with traditional patterned rugs and blue and gold chairs.

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The Music Room

13 Buckingham Palace Music Room

While it is known as The Music Room and houses a piano, The Music Room at Buckingham Palace has actually been the setting for some historic royal events, including the christenings of Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince William.

The Throne Room

14 Buckingham Palace Throne room

Perhaps one of the most iconic rooms in Buckingham Palace, the Throne Room has been used for everything from balls and investitures to the official wedding photos after Prince William and Kate's royal wedding.

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The White Drawing Room

15 Buckingham Palace White Drawing Room

This intimate State Room is regularly used by the Queen for small gatherings and audiences. You may also recognise the room from some of Her Majesty's Christmas broadcasts and formal family photographs. The Queen enters the room via a hidden door disguised as a mirror and cabinet before receiving guests, the royal family website confirms.

The State Dining Room

16 Buckingham Palace state dining room

This historic room was used during Prince William and Kate's wedding reception in 2011, and has decorative red wallpaper and carpets, with numerous windows looking out to the beautiful palace gardens below.

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