Take a Tour of Buckingham Palace – from Your Couch! (And Yes, the Queen Knows You're Looking)
A new initiative between Google and Buckingham Palace is allowing the public a spectacular look through the royal keyhole
Queen Elizabeth is holding an open house – and you can go without even setting foot in England.
The official London residence of the Queen is the first U.K. landmark to be part of The Google Expedition project – an app that allows teachers to take their students on a virtual tour of 150 extraordinary locations around the world using a simple cardboard viewer and a smartphone.
The tour, which begins at the Grand Staircase of Buckingham Palace, offers a 360-degree view of seven of the palace’s most ornate public rooms. Those featured include the Throne Room, where Prince William and Princess Kate posed for official pictures on their 2011 wedding day, the Picture Gallery, which holds the largest collection of Canaletto paintings in the world, the Ballroom and the White Drawing Room, where viewers can see the famous secret door that the Queen uses to retreat back to her private apartments.
And if you’re wondering what the Queen thinks of all these wandering eyes inside her historic home, fear not. The 89-year-old monarch – who herself is tech-savvy and even owns an iPad – approves.
“The Queen is aware of all the initiatives we undertake, so yes, the Queen is aware of the project,” a spokesperson at The Royal Collection Trust tells PEOPLE.
For schoolchildren, who voted Buckingham the No. 1 destination they wanted to visit (the White House and the Great Barrier Reef followed behind), the palace “is one of the most iconic, magical buildings in the world,” says Jemima Rellie, Director of Content and Audiences at the Royal Collection Trust.
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“We’re terrifically excited that, thanks to the VR potential of Google Expedition, children, their teachers and families can visit the Palace, wherever they live,” adds Rellie.
Alongside the app is a virtual tour of Buckingham Palace with additional audio courtesy of the Master of the Household, Charles Anthony Johnstone-Burt, and Curator of Paintings Anna Reynolds. The tour is available to view on the royal family’s official YouTube channel, allowing fans a rare glimpse of palace life.