Buckingham Palace with Alexander Armstrong

It’s one of the world’s most famous buildings. A British royal residence for over 250 years that is steeped in intrigue, love, tragedy, extravagance and madness. But few ever get to go behind the scenes. Actor and comedian Alexander Armstrong explores the history of the Royal Family and Buckingham Palace in this marvelous documentary, revealing joy and scandal that took place behind closed doors.

Watch Buckingham Palace with Alexander Armstrong and more acclaimed documentaries on BBC Select today. Restrictions apply*.

Buckingham Palace with Alexander Armstrong on BBC Select

Episode 1: The Early Years
Alexander Armstrong discovers Buckingham Palace’s scandalous and raucous early history.

Now in the heart of bustling metropolitan London, Buckingham Palace was first purchased as a rural retreat. Actor and comedian Alexander Armstrong learns about the palace’s surprising early history in this engrossing documentary. He learns of the raucous balls thrown by its first owners George III and Queen Charlotte and the gossip and scandal that dominated these first parties.

Episode 2: Keeping Clean
How do you keep a great palace clean and odor free? As Alexander discovers; not easily.

How was a great house like Buckingham Palace kept clean and hygienic in years gone by? As Alexander Armstrong discovers in this illuminating documentary, it wasn’t easy. He hears about the legions of hidden servants who kept the palace running and fully clothed bathing to try and stay sanitary. There’s also the tragedy of George III and the story of Queen Victoria’s lavish wedding feast.

Episode 3: Victoria’s Era
Queen Victoria established the palace as a great royal residence until tragedy struck.

The years that Queen Victoria was in residence at Buckingham Palace saw it established as a great royal residence. But, as Alexander Armstrong discovers in this intriguing history documentary, the grief-stricken queen fled the palace after her husband Prince Albert died. It took government persuasion and the residence’s first-ever public garden party to entice her back.

Episode 4: Then There Was Light
A new King had to deal with modern technology as well as his mother’s hoarding habits.

As Queen Victoria’s long reign came to an end, technological innovations entered the historic halls of Buckingham Palace. Alexander Armstrong reveals, in this engaging history documentary, that electric lights and elevators were soon installed. Edward VII’s reign breathed fresh life into the palace, though he first had to clear many of the possessions that the eccentric Victoria has accumulated.

Episode 5: Surviving War
How Buckingham Palace dealt with the very real dangers posed by the First World War.

George V’s ascension to the throne in 1910 led to the birth of the House of Windsor. But, as Alexander Armstrong reveals in this entertaining documentary, the highly traditional king was a stickler for stuffy royal etiquette, enforcing a strict dress code and dining with bizarrely outdated formality. He also learns how the First World War made the bombing of Buckingham Palace a real possibility.

Episode 6: Into the Future
How the palace survived World War II and what the future might be for this great building.

It’s a building teeming with history, but what does the future hold for Buckingham Palace? As Alexander Armstrong concludes this fascinating documentary, he traces events in the building from the Second World War to the present and looks at what could happen next. He explores a revealing letter written by George VI’s family nanny and takes cover in a Blitz-era air-raid shelter.

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