The coronavirus pandemic has led to the cancellation and/or postponement of countless events, shutdowns and has people practising self-isolation and social distancing. Those who are at home might find they still have their sense of wanderlust and are looking for ways their families can pass the time while helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve.
We can fulfill our senses of wonder, learn new things and get a behind-the-scenes view of royal palaces (without crowds!) thanks to virtual tours offered online. There are many iconic historical sights from British royals and European royals that we can view without stepping foot outside.
For many, no trip to London is complete without seeing Buckingham Palace, the official London residence of the United Kingdom's sovereigns since 1837, including Queen Elizabeth II. It's possible to take a virtual tour of the palace no matter where you are in the world via the official royal website. It's a special treat, considering the palace is typically only open in the summer and a select few times in December, January and over Easter when the Monarch departs London for her other estates.
Given there are 775 rooms, including 52 royal and guest bedrooms and 92 offices, the virtual tour saves us a lot of walking (and sore feet!). Some of the highlights include seeing the Throne Room and the White Drawing Room.
Windsor Castle also serves as the Queen's private residence. Presently, it is where she and Prince Philip are self-isolating, having started their Easter break a week earlier than scheduled. Take a virtual tour of the castle on the royal website to see the Crimson Drawing Room and the Waterloo Chamber.
Palace of Holyroodhouse
We can also take a virtual tour of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen's official residence in Scotland, on the royal website. The Edinburgh palace is brimming with history. It has links to Mary, Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie, as well as more modern royals. Virtual tours allow viewers to see the King Bedchamber and the Morning Drawing Room.
Palace of Versailles
One of the most iconic palaces in the world, it was once the principal royal residence of France, under Louis XIV, after he moved the court there in 1682. It's possible to take in the splendour of the palace thanks to a virtual tour created in partnership between the Palace of Versailles and Google Arts & Culture. Viewers can get a one-of-a-kind tour of the palace for free in English, French or Chinese, using their own VR equipment. Admire the famous Hall of Mirrors and take in the King's and Queen's State Apartments, the Royal Chapel and more.
Royal Palace Amsterdam
The Royal Palace of Amsterdam is one of three palaces in the Netherlands, and is the traditional senior palace for Dutch royals. It is located in Dam Square in the heart of Amsterdam. The palace has a rich history, including serving as Amsterdam's Town Hall for 150 years, plus, it was the French Royal and Imperial Palace for five years, and it has been the Palace of the House of Orange for the past two centuries.
Typically, virtual tours are available when the palace is closed for royal events. Given unprecedented times with the coronavirus, virtual tours are currently available so viewers can admire the dramatic architecture.
Historic Royal Palaces
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On 18 March 1554, Princess (later Queen) Elizabeth was imprisoned at the #TowerOfLondon, possibly here in the Upper Bell Tower . Aged 20, Elizabeth had been accused of involvement in Sir Thomas Wyatt’s rebellion, which aimed to oust her half-sister Mary I from power and place Elizabeth on the throne. . Though many of Mary’s advisers were strongly in favour of having Elizabeth executed to remove her as a potential threat, Mary instead had Elizabeth moved to Woodstock in Oxfordshire in May 1554, where she lived under house arrest for nearly a year. . Five years later, Elizabeth was back at the Tower, but this time under very different circumstances: the night before her coronation! . #onthisday #onthisdayinhistory #britishhistory #royalhistory #museumsfromhome
Instagram users can also follow the @historicroyalpalaces account for further insight and information on a variety of historic British palaces and buildings. The independent charity looks after Kensington Palace, Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London, Kew Palace, Banqueting House and Hillsborough Castle. It frequently posts interesting tidbits and behind-the-scenes photos!