Besides being the official London residence of The Queen, Buckingham Palace is also the busy administrative headquarters of the monarchy and has probably the most famous and easily recognisable façade of any building in the world.
The Palace is a working building and the centrepiece of Britain's constitutional monarchy. It houses the offices of those who support the day-to-day activities and duties of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh and their immediate family. The Palace is also the venue for great Royal ceremonies, State Visits and Investitures, all of which are organised by the Royal Household.
Although Buckingham Palace is furnished and decorated with priceless works of art that form part of the Royal collection, one of the major art collections in the world today, it is not an art gallery and nor is it a museum. Its State Rooms form the nucleus of the working Palace and are used regularly by The Queen and members of the Royal family for official and State entertaining. Buckingham Palace is one of the world's most familiar buildings and more than 50,000 people visit the Palace each year as guests to banquets, lunches, dinners, receptions and the Royal Garden Parties.
Visitors are allowed access by and organised tour to some areas of the Palace
During the summer, the Changing of the Guard takes place at the front of the Palace and is a popular event for visitors to the capital from 1st April to Early July and on alternate days at other times.
Since 1660, Household Troops have guarded the Sovereign and the Royal Palaces. The Queen's Guard usually consists of Foot Guards in full-dress uniform of red tunics and bearskins.
The Changing of the Guard takes place in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace at 11.30 every day in summer, every other day in winter, and lasts about 45 minutes. The New Guard marches to the Palace from Wellington Barracks with a Guards band, the Old Guard hands over in a ceremony during which the sentries are changed and then returns to barracks. The New Guard then marches to St James's Palace leaving the detachment at Buckingham Palace.