Clearly the most iconic symbol of the United Kingdom is Buckingham Palace, the London residence and principal workspace of the monarchy. This 108 meter long, 120 meter wide, and 24 meter tall structure is the center of state occasions and royal hospitality. Back in the Middle Ages, this site was part of the Manor of Ebury. Over the succeeding years, ownership changed hands several times before it eventually was bequeathed to the monks of Westminster Abbey. King Henry VIII brought it back under royal control in 1536. Even then, however, it was rarely used, until 1703 when it became a large town house of the Duke of Buckingham. At that time, he named it Buckingham House. In 1761, King George III acquired the structure as a private residence for Queen Charlotte, at which time it became known as "The Queen's House". During the early 19th century, the building was enlarged to include three wings around a central courtyard. The building became the official Royal Palace of the Monarchy in 1837 during Queen Victoria's reign. She was the first monarch to live there. Today, Buckingham Palace is open to the public for tours only during late July through September when Queen Elizabeth and her family are away on vacation.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.