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In 1981, more than 750 million people watched Prince Charles marry Diana at St. Paul’s Cathedral, the highest point in London. On Friday, more than two billion tuned in to watch their son, William, marry Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey.
Explore the city of London with our interactive map and videos, then find out who came before Queen Elizabeth as the British Monarch in our royal timeline. You can also test yourself on your knowledge of the King’s English in our quiz about Britishisms before finding out which young queen from history is most like you. Finally, for an inside look at the big day, don’t miss our behind the scenes pics from Shelby Holliday and Evan Groll direct from London.
Benedictine monks first came to this site in the middle of the tenth century, establishing a tradition of daily worship. The Abbey has been the coronation church since 1066 and is the final resting place of seventeen monarchs. The present church, begun by Henry III in 1245, is one of the most important Gothic buildings in the country, with the medieval shrine of an Anglo-Saxon saint still at its heart. Westminster Abbey is also the place where some of the most significant people in Britain’s history are buried
This clock tower was designed as part of the new Palace of Westminster which was built after the old one was burnt down in 1834. This tower was completed in 1858. It was designed by Edmund Beckett Denison and built by Edward John Dent. The original Big Ben bell weighed 16 tons. The Whitechapel Bell Foundry who cast Big Ben into its current 13 ton form, and it rang for the first time on May 31st 1859.
Parliament is located on the North bank of the River Thames. The area where the building stands was called Thorney Island at one point. Buildings here predating the building include: a Roman temple to Apollo, a Saxon church dedicated to St Peter and the Royal Palace of King Canute. Later, Edward the Confessor built his original Royal palace here, in 1099. It was remodeled during the late 1300′s. Later, in 1547, the royal residence was moved to Whitehall Palace. Officially today’s buildings are called the Palace of Westminster. The Houses of Parliament, in Westminster, serve as the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lord, the two branches of the United Kingdom’s legislature.
The palace is not only the Queen’s official residence, but also the administrative headquarters of the British monarchy. Buckingham Palace is positioned in St. James Park and dates back to 1837 when Queen Victoria ruled. In 1703, the Duke of Buckingham built the palace and in 1761, George III purchased it. In 1825, the palace was reconstructed under George IV’s order. Inside Buckingham Palace, there are 775 rooms, including 19 state rooms, 52 guest rooms, 92 offices, 188 staff rooms, and 78 bathrooms.
THE TOWER OF LONDON
Built in 1070 by William the Conqueror, the Tower was built to enforce the power of the king over the newly conquered region. The fortress, located at the Thames, was originally a temporary wooden building which was replaced later by the White Tower. Over time the fortress expanded to about 20 towers. Today the Tower of London is best known for being the home of the Crown Jewels, but it used to be notorious for the many prisoners that were locked, tortured and killed in the Tower. The Tower was also a royal residence and continues as a second home to the Queen.
THE LONDON EYE
The London Eye is a giant 443 ft tall Ferris wheel. Its official name is the EDF, Energy London Eye. It is the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe, and the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom, visited by over 3.5 million people annually. The structure was designed by David Marks and Julia Barfield. They submitted their idea for a large observation wheel as part of a competition to design a landmark for the new millennium. None of the entrants won the competition, but the couple pressed on and eventually got the backing of British Airways, who sponsored the project.
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