Buckingham Palace Open to the Public

The 19 state rooms, including the Throne Room, were first opened to the public on 7 August 1993, for a charge of £8.00 per head. The Queen made this decision herself, as part of her pledge to cover the majority of the cost of the restoration of Windsor Castle following the devastating fire of 20 November 1992.

On this occasion the rooms were open for eight weeks. They have since been opened for similar periods each year.

Initial estimates of the cost of restoring Windsor Castle varied between £40 million and £60 million. With John Major's government already under pressure to reduce the cost of supporting the Royal Family, the Queen undertook to cover 70% of the costs herself. In February 1993 the Government had accepted the Queen's offer to pay income tax.

The restoration was completed in 1997 at a cost of £37 million. The opening of the state rooms has continued, and Buckingham Palace is now one of London's top tourist attractions. About 380,000 people visited the Palace in the first year; this rose to more than 400,000 for the next two years, but then levelled off to about 300,000 a year ever since.

© Haydn Thompson 2019