Queen Victoria and Her Palace

Queen Victoria inherited the 'Buckingham House' from her uncle, William IV, in 1837. She was eighteen years old. Patricia Wright looks at the chequered origins and troubled early years of London's royal landmark.

On July 13th, 1837 eighteen-year-old Queen Victoria drove from Kensington Palace, to take possession of what was then variously known as The Queen's House, or Buckingham House. She had been less than a month on the throne, but within days of her accession had decided that the sooner she left her childhood home at Kensington Palace the better. Her first domestic action after succeeding to the crown had been to order that her bed should be moved out of her mother's room and into private quarters, but this only highlighted a different dilemma.

Queen she might be, but Victoria had no power to dismiss her mother's personal entourage, many of whom she disliked and one, Sir John Conroy, she positively detested. She meant to be rid of them just the same, and sufficient space into which they might be banished existed, or so she thought, in the vast chilly spaces of the unfinished palace at the end of the Mall. There she would be free of the past, a sovereign for all to see, and also establish herself in what was generally acknowledged to be the 0 finest situation in London.

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