Buckingham Palace was originally a townhouse (known as Buckingham House); owned by Dukes of Buckingham from the beginning of the 18th century to 1826 when work began in converting it into a palace intended for George IV. King George passed away before moving in. Queen Victoria became the first monarch to occupy the palace shortly after she came to the throne in 1837. It has remained the official London residence (with 775 rooms) of Britain’s sovereigns. Although the Palace is used for many official events and receptions, certain areas have been open to the public since 1993 to raise money for repairs to fire damaged Windsor Castle.
My first visit to London (1962) was for a job interview and I was not familiar with the city. I disembarked from the train at Paddington Station, rode the underground then took a short-cut that would lead to Westminster Bridge, near where my interview was to take place. I walked through an open gate, into what appeared to be a park, around this magnificent building, and was saluted by guards who stood at attention for me as I walked out the front entrance onto the street. I told my wife (we were living in Datchet) what happened upon my return home that evening, only to find out that I had walked through the grounds of Buckingham Palace. At that time, it was not open to the public. I was very impressed and yes, I did land the job in London and have visited Buckingham Palace a number of times since…but not through back gates.