5 Best royal palaces to visit in Europe
Queen Elizabeth II recently celebrated her 90th birthday and of course, it was a grand celebration and it comes as no surprise that there was—and will be—various commemorative souvenirs and events such as the upcoming special exhibition 'Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen's Wardrobe' at the Buckingham Palace from 23 July to 2 October 2016. If you're going to be in UK to visit one palace, why not tour some of the other best castles in Europe as well?
It's easy with British Airways' vast network in Europe through the award-winning London Heathrow Airport. "The UK and Europe house some of the world's famous palaces and castles. British Airways would like to invite travellers from Malaysia to take advantage of our extensive network to visit some of these majestic monumental sites in the UK, or one of the equally stunning palaces in nearby Spain, Monaco or France," said Vivian Tan-Loh, British Airways' country manager for Malaysia. Here are the top palaces and castles on the airline's must-see list.
1. Buckingham Palace
The monarch's official London residence wasn't originally built as a palace; it was originally known as Buckingham House in 1703 and was just a large townhouse, which is the core building in today's palace. Expansions and additional wings around the central courtyard were later added in the 19th century before Queen Victoria moved in and it became the London residence for the reigning monarch—Buckingham Palace.
2. Windsor Castle
Located just 40 minutes outside of London, Windsor Castle is both the Queen's country residence and a majestic representation of over 900 years of royal history. It's the world's oldest and largest occupied castle and since Her Majesty sometimes spend private weekends there, you might be able to time your visit during her stay. If you miss the 'Fashioning a Reign' exhibition at Buckingham Palace, you'll have another chance to check it out at Windsor Castle from 17 September 2016 to 8 January 2017.
3. Palacio Real
The history behind Madrid's Royal Palace has a slight palace-ption to it: It was constructed in the mid-1700s on the site of a castle built in the 9th century. By floor area, Palacio Real is the largest royal palace in Europe and contains almost 3,500 rooms. However, the Spanish Royal Family lives in a smaller palace on the outskirts of the city these days and uses the Royal Palace mainly for state functions.
4. Prince's Palace of Monaco
It is as its name suggests. The Prince of Monaco officially resides here and the palace has been the continuous home of the Grimaldi family for over seven centuries. With spectacular views over both the Port of Fontvieille and the Mediterranean Sea, it's not hard to imagine why. The fortified palace looks even more breathtaking when it is lit up at night.
5. Palace of Versailles, Paris
Located 20 kilometres southwest of Paris, the Château de Versailles (which is the palace's other name) was the centre of political power in France from 1682 until 1789 when the monarchy was deposed by the French Revolution. One of the most famous rooms in the palace is its gallery that was aptly named the Hall of Mirrors as it contains 17 mirror-clad arches that reflect 17 arcaded windows that overlook the chateau's beautiful gardens.