Culture 4, page 115
|Buckingham Palace||London, England||state-owned|
|Windsor Castle||near London, England
|Sandringham House||Norfolk, England||private|
|Balmoral Castle||the Highlands, Scotland||private|
|Holyrood Palace||Edinburgh, Scotland||state-owned|
|Hillsborough Castle||Belfast, Northern Ireland||state-owned|
Interviewer My guest today is Bill Edwards, who has written a book about the royal residences. Welcome Bill.
Bill Thank you.
Interviewer So, first of all, how many residences does the Queen have?
Bill Well, the Queen herself has six royal homes, though she owns only two of them. She inherited these private residences from her father, King George VI. She uses them for holidays. The others are owned by the State.
Interviewer And which are they?
Bill Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Holyrood Palace in Scotland and Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland. These are the four official royal residences.
Interviewer That's a lot of homes! Can you tell us a bit about how she uses them all?
Bill The Queen has quite a strict routine, actually, when she isn't travelling around the world. Buckingham Palace in the centre of London is the royal residence from Monday to Friday. And that's where she entertains all the heads of state and official visitors. She also meets with the Prime Minister every Tuesday evening to catch up with the nation's politics. Apparently, she is very well-informed and asks a lot of questions!
Interviewer And what does she do at weekends?
Bill She usually goes to Windsor Castle. That's her official country residence, and owned by the state. It's near London. It's the largest and oldest inhabited castle in the world. It's been the family home of British kings and queens since the tenth century. The Queen spends most weekends there with her family, when she has time. The family always stay there for a month over Easter, too, and for a week in June. That's when the horse-racing at Ascot takes place. She loves Ascot and owns some nice racehorses.
Interviewer Where does she spend her other holidays?
Bill Well, Christmas and January are spent at Sandringham House in Norfolk. Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's eldest son, bought it in 1862 when he got married, so it's owned by the family privately. The family have loved the place ever since and have made many improvements over the years. The house was hit by bombs in the First World War and there were huge holes in the ground that filled with water. King George IV turned the holes into duck ponds!
Interviewer Really? And the Queen also goes to Scotland every year, doesn't she?
Bill She does - every summer. The family stay at Balmoral Castle in the Highlands of Scotland. Queen Victoria fell in love with the Scottish landscape and bought a private house so that the family could holiday there. That tradition has continued. The Castle is also a working estate and provides jobs for many people.
Interviewer The Queen has another residence in Scotland, though?
Bill Yes, her official residence is Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland. She stays there when she has official business. And she is there every July for a week. It is called 'Holyrood Week', appropriately.
Interviewer And is that the same for her official residence in Northern Ireland?
Bill Exactly. Hillsborough Castle is near the capital city of Belfast. She stays there and entertains guests when she is on official business in Northern Ireland.
Interviewer OK. So that's a lot of homes. How does the Queen look after them?
Bill Well, some are open to the public when the Queen is not in residence. Buckingham Palace is the latest one to open its doors. It's open for two months in the summer and it's extremely popular with visitors, both from home and abroad, as you can imagine.
Interviewer Indeed. It would be well worth a visit. Many thanks, Bill, for giving us the tour of the royal residences. A fascinating insight into royal life!
Bill Thank you. My pleasure.
2 Prime Minister
4 the tenth century
5 Christmas and January
6 World War
8 the Scottish landscape