Buckingham Palace Once Had a Staff Bar, But the Queen Shut It Down

Anyone with plans to visit London will surely write in bold, capped letters at the top of their itinerary: Buckingham Palace. Undoubtedly London’s most iconic landmark, the home of the queen is grand and magnificent with nearly 800 rooms (including nearly 80 bathrooms) and a ballroom the height of three double-decker buses, it’s incredible that a castle that was bombed seven times during World War II continues to stand — and function — to this day. And while we thought we knew everything there was to know about Buckingham Palace, a new TV series, Secrets of the Royal Palaces, is spilling the tea on one particular feature the castle once had: a bar.

Airing on British network Channel 5, the first episode of the four-part series focuses almost entirely on Buckingham Palace — save for a segment about Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall’s home, Clarence House — and features an interview with a slew of royal experts and insiders, including former Palace staff, society designer Nicky Haslam, Prince Charles and Camilla’s former butler, Grant Harrold, and the queen’s former press officer, Dickie Arbiter.

Buckingham Palace
Image: DaLiu/Shutterstock.

In the episode airing later this month, Arbiter reveals that, yes, the Palace once had a staff bar, but that was quickly shut down by the queen herself because the employees just couldn’t hold their liquor. They became “too worse for wear,” Arbiter says,” and that “they had to get rid.”

In addition to the decommissioned bar, the episode includes a few other fun facts about the Palace, including that it currently has an ATM in the basement, a fully equipped doctor’s office, an on-site swimming pool and a staff post office.

According to Express, the queen is spending the last part of her summer at Balmoral, her Scottish estate, and she’s expected to return to Buckingham Palace in the coming weeks — just in time for the state opening of Parliament on Oct. 14.

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