(CBS) CBS News royals contributor Victoria Arbiter, reporting from London, will be giving CBSNews.com readers daily updates on plans for the April 29 royal wedding.
It's a bit of a geeky blog today! I'm so excited about the 19 state rooms that royal wedding guests will have a chance to explore during the two receptions at Buckingham Palace that I wanted to share some little known facts with you. As we go back in history, think how fascinating you'll be around the water cooler come lunchtime.
For many of the couple's guests, the invitation to Buckingham Palace will provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be surrounded by opulent splendor dripping in a rich and colorful history.
Buckingham Palace is the Queen's official residence. Queen Victoria was the first monarch to make it her primary home in 1837 and she was known to enjoy many a grand occasion within its 765 rooms. It was quite the party palace, I can tell ya!
Among the rooms being used for Will and Kate's big day is the Blue Drawing Room, a chandelier-clad space used for the very first state ball thrown by Queen Victoria in 1838 as part of her coronation celebrations. It has 30 fake onyx columns and a table made for Napoleon.
The luscious White Drawing Room overlooks the palace gardens and has a secret door so members of the royal family can make a discreet entrance or exit. No doubt Harry will be up to all kinds of mischief with that one.
The music room, where Prince William was christened, has welcomed the likes of composers Felix Mendelssohn and Johann Strauss II. It will be open for meandering, as will the picture gallery, a room adorned with pieces by Rembrandt, Reubens, Titian and Vermeer, all collected by the monarchy over the centuries. Considering Kate has a History of Art degree, the picture gallery in particular will be a delicious room in which to greet her guests and feast on cake.
Every year, 50,000 guests are invited to Buckingham Palace for garden parties, receptions and banquets. The lucky 600 who scored the golden invitation to the royal wedding reception will have unprecedented access and will no doubt come away with stories to last a lifetime. I, for one, wish I could nip through that secret door to see what lies on the other side.
Until next time, royalphiles, keep calm and carry on.
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